International Cybersecurity

Translating cyber war into Russian

Working group’s taxonomy seen as a step toward international agreements

Terms such as cyberspace, cyber security and cyber war are common, but what they mean may not be precisely defined. Speakers and writers use them somewhat loosely, which can make discussions among people who speak different languages more challenging that usual.

A U.S.-Russian effort is proposing common definitions. The EastWest Institute and the Information Security Institute of Moscow State University have released a report with definitions for 20 key cybersecurity concepts, the beginning of what the groups hope will be a comprehensive international cyber taxonomy.

According to the taxonomy, released April 27, cyberspace is “an electronic medium through which information is created, transmitted, received, stored, processed and deleted.” Cybersecurity is “a property of cyberspace that is an ability to resist intentional and unintentional threats and respond and recover.”

At the other end of the spectrum, cyber war is “an escalated state of cyber conflict between or among states in which cyberattacks are carried out by state actors against cyber infrastructure as part of a military campaign,” either declared or undeclared.


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