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Cyber Definition & Meaning

Cyber is a prefix that denotes a relationship with information technology (IT). Anything relating to computing, such as the internet, falls under the cyber category. It's worth noting cyber carries a connotation of a relationship with modern computing and technology. For example, early computing from the 1980s and 1990s does not typically attract the term cyber.

Cyber origin

In the late 1940s, the term cybernetics was coined by mathematician Norbert Wiener. It's defined as the study of control systems and communication between people and machines. Weiner used the ancient Greek word cyber, which is related to the idea of governing. In Weiner's book, Cybernetics, he describes a computer system that ran on feedback—essentially a self-governing system. This idea was groundbreaking for the 1940s.

Common cyber words

Cyber is typically used as the prefix of a compound word. Like many compound nouns, those featuring cyber can be written as one word (cyberspace), as two words (cyber space) or as a hyphenated word (cyber-space). For consistency, all examples will be one word. Commonly used cyber terms include: 

  • Cyberspace: A metaphor for describing the non-physical terrain created by computer systems.
  • Cybersecurity: The technologies and processes designed to protect computers, networks, and data from unauthorized access, vulnerabilities, and attacks delivered via the internet by cybercriminals.
  • Cybercrime: Any crime carried out using IT or which targets IT.
  • Cyberattack: The unauthorized access of private or confidential information contained on a computer system or network.
  • Cyberbullying: Any form of online harassment.
  • Cyberforensics: The application of scientifically proven methods to gather, process, interpret, and use digital evidence to provide a conclusive description of cybercrime activities. 
  • Cybernetics: The science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things.









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