The Cyber

Donald Trump assured us he had the best words, and I certainly don’t want to disagree with a man about to run the world’s scariest army.

One of his words, perhaps his best, is the ‘cyber’, as in one interview where he used it three times:

[in suitably presidential tones]

*'As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. … We came in with the Internet. We came up with the Internet. …

The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. …

We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester. And certainly cyber is one of them.’*

Was ‘cyber’ ever a word for the internet and computers and such, maybe back last century when I wasn’t paying attention? Or is this a Trump original?

Was the internet always called the internet [and the world wide web etc etc, I know THAT one, I’m not completely presidential]

Cyber Security is the big hot topic right now - it covers things like protection from malware and intrusion, proper management of sensitive data, encryption between systems etc.

For people discussing the topic at a high level, it’s very common to hear them abbreviating it to just ‘cyber’.

ETA: the word derives from ‘Cybernetics’ - which is not a new term - and means various things to do with the interaction between people and computers or machines

In the expression “cyber crime” it’s clearly a standalone word rather than a prefix, so it’s not that much of a stretch.
Trump’s rhetoric has a wider tendency to use “the X” idiosyncratically, notably with social groups in a manner that sounds jarring.

An in “cybercrime”, it’s clearly a prefix.

It’s grating to my ears. (I’m a Computer Science person.)

It’s like someone using the word “blue” without saying “blue <object>”. “I saw some blue the other day.” “Blue” what? Or someone saying “My favorite is blue.” vs. “My favorite color is blue.”

And what’s worse is the techo-babble aspect of it. Using a buzz word to sound informed but not using it right so it actually has the opposite effect.

Same here. Cyber- what?

Cyberspace? Cybersecurity? Cyberterrorism? Cyberwarfare? Cybercrime? Cyberbullying? Cyberethics? Cyberpunk? Cyberdyne Systems? Cyberlink PowerDVD?

All of the above? Regardless, it’s clear we need tighter surveillance of people with unhealthy BMIs.

The Cybermen are coming, call Doctor Who.

I’ll only note that I do occasionally hear (or, more accurately, read) “cyber” used by itself. But, in that context, it’s short for “cybersex”.

Picturing Donald doing that… :eek:

Bad mind touch!

“Cyberspace” is a general usage term to refer to the Internet (the physical communication backbones and the TCP/IP protocol that runs upon them, the World Wide Web (that is, the Internet-accessible information resources made available through Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and other application protocols), and the so-called “Internet of Things”, e.g. appliances which are accessible and controllable over the Internet. Trump is correct in the sense that a broken clock tells the time right twice a day; security of data, services, and especially devices controllable over the Internet is something we need to be heavily focused upon, and it is a tough problem, albeit largely because the existing protocols were not developed with security in mind and largely transmit data openly or using security protocols that are highly vulnerable to intrusion. The actual damage that could be done by a concerted cyberattack by a technically competent attacker could conceivably reach the tens of billions of dollars as critical services are shut down or overloaded, and without regular security assessments and upgrades our Internet-accessible services and devices will be about as secure as Windows 98.

Trump’s actual message, on the other hand, is purely word salad and he clearly has no understanding of the threat or intent to do anything about it. Actually securing against cyberwarfare attacks is something that crosses military, civilian government, and commercial interests and would frankly justify standing up a new Cabinet position and department-level agency to coordinate efforts, though if the Department of Homeland Security is any example it would be run as a jobs program for incompetents giving out mult-million dollar contracts to businesses providing farcical technology solutions to largely imagined problems while genuine threats go unaddressed.


The military (and hence their high tech contractors) is very much guilty of abbreviating all things related to computer warfare as “cyber”. Offense, defense, intel, counterintel, encryption, code-breaking, snooping, sniffing, etc. You name it and “cyber” is the DoD catchall word for it.

Much as “space” stands not for the airless void 100+ miles up , but for any and all military assets and missions there. e.g. “General Smith is our chief of Space.”

So now Admiral Jones is the chief of Cyber.

I’m not suggesting the DoD is doing something linguistically sound with that use of “cyber”. But they absolutely are using it that way.

It’s akin to, but not quite as weird as, USAF’s fixation on the word “air” after they first achieved independence from the Army in 1947. They’re not “police”, they’re “air police.” It’s not “training command”, it’s “Air training command”. etc.

I work in the cybersecurity world. I never hear anyone at my organization, from the most technical guys (black hat analysts) to the most non-technical (sales) use the word “cyber” by itself. Much like previous posters, it leaves the mind hanging on what SHOULD follow, like cyber-threat or cyber-security.

But, unfortunately, for our President Elect, this counts as one of his minor slayings of the language.

Big thanks to all responders.

It broadly confirms my suspicion that although there may be a specialist, techie jargon use of the term, Trump’s use of the term is likely to be through unfamiliarity with the whole internet thing (which we of course know is different to the internet of things).

I have heard there is a current trend to adopt prefixes and adjectives as real words. Can’t track down the source, but I’m looking at you, “creatives”, as a prime example. I wish my job was an adjective, instead of a noun.

isn’t Giuliani the head of that life lock cybersecurity place ive seen the infomercials ?

Yeah. But only to you.

“We’ve got Quality in our DNA”

Urm. No. Your dedication to producing something to a standard of quality is something you learned, and implemented using knowledge and policy. Not encoded in cellular structures.

“Its just an expression, Arkcon”

“Yeah, but we’re making a pharmaceutical, so, it sounds dumb for us it talk like that”

Still, just an expression everyone else uses, Arkcon