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Cyberjargon and 100% Security

Posted by on October 23, 2015.

Further to the post Music, Security, and a Nice Cup of Tea, I just came across this very-much-to-the-point post by Kurt Wismer, specially for those of us who are thoroughly annoyed by the addition of the word ‘cyber’ all over the place as if it actually explained something. I look forward to a sequel featuring the acronym APT.

If Kevin will excuse my mentioning The Company That Provides Me With Much Of My Income, we had an internal discussion on a researcher list a few months ago about ‘ridiculous security lingo’ which I subsequently compressed into an article called Grumpy Old Researchers.

Here are a couple of thoughts that were included about the overuse/misuse of ‘cyber’, especially as a noun.


Here are two very similar opinions on the escalating popularity of the word ‘cyber’:

  • The use of ‘cyber’ as a noun. It’s bad enough using it as a vague term denoting information technology in general, or networking, as the US military uses it. In the UK, law enforcement has a nasty habit of using it as a vague equivalent to computer crime. Or cybercrime, if you must. Actually, the use of ‘cyber’ as a prefix, 9 times out of 10.
  • Someone in some Marketing department somewhere thought “digital” or “computer” or “IT” felt old or overused, so they decided to use cyber in front of anything that had anything to do with a computer, networking, the internet, etc. Brace yourself: the days of the “Cyber” department in a corporation are coming. I shudder at the thought.

I also noticed another amusing cyberjargon-related meme from Cara Marie on that site – Oh, I’m Just Pruning Our Attack Surface – about ‘security before the age of WiFi’. If it amuses you too, you may also like – if you haven’t seen it before – Marcus Ranum’s Ultimately Secure DEEP PACKET INSPECTION AND APPLICATION SECURITY SYSTEM, which I first met as ‘The ULTIMATELY Secure Firewall’.

Like the pre-WiFi era, it seems a lifetime ago… The underlying message about the yearning for unbreakable security – and the marketroid’s enthusiasm for offering it, ignoring the real-life conflict between security and convenience (and even, sometimes, functionality) – is, on the other hand, all too applicable today.  

David Harley

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