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Sunday, June 05, 2016

Definition of Cyber Space - A new Definition of CyberSpace-X - !700th Post to the Blog !

 What do we mean by Cyberspace? What about Cyber Warfare? Cyber Security?

 There doesn't seem to be a definition that is agreed upon.

Towards A general purpose definition of Cyberspace !

“Cyberspace” – Definitions Deluge – What it is?

Pentagon – which can be credited with the creation of ARPANET in 1970s – a precursor to perhaps one of the greatest disruption of  humanity in the last century - the Internet – has provided atleast 12 definitions of “Cyberspace” over the years. The latest being the year 2008 definition, “The global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent networks of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecom networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers”.

Singer and Friedman in their book, “Cybersecurity andCyberwar – what everyone needs to know”, describe cyberspace as

“Cyberspace is the realm of computer networks (and the users behind them) in which information is stored, shared, and communicated online”.

The book further list down the key feature of cyberspace as - an information environment made up of digitized data that is created, stored, and most importantly shared.  It is not the data alone, but it includes the networks of computers, infrastructure, Internet, Intranets, and other communication systems that allow information, organized as digital data, to flow. Since the authors include people/users of the information structures as well, the definition includes cognitive realm, besides the physical and digital spaces as well. Cyberspace may be global but it has its divisions and notions of soverignity, nationality and property. Cyberspace is “living” – constantly changing, evolving. Unlike geography the cyberspace geography is much more mutable.  Evolving from an initial “expert” only place, it has become the nervous system controlling the economy and has already become the dominant platform for life in 21st Century. Internet is where we live – central platform for business, culture and personal relationship. However, it is a place where everyone doesn’t play nice. Increasingly it has become a place of risk and danger.

Given the above centrality of “cyberspace” in our life, we see the emergence of multi-hued specific context “cyberspaces”. These “specific context cyberspaces” would prefer to be disjoint – or “airgapped” – from the global cyberspace – for different reasons (such as privacy, security, niche nature of transactions and/or specific functionality, features or fraternity), yet these will use and allow the core technologies for the digital data, infrastructure, protocols, software, rules, computers and communication systems that are used to build “the global cyberspace”. For the purpose of this paper, we call these special context Cyberspaces as Cyberspace-X.

The general purpose CyberSpace-X may include but is not limited to - Strategic Cyber Space (e.g., MNCs, Large enterprises, National Governments),  Politico-military/Military Cyber Space, Governance Cyber Space, Open market places/ e-Commerce/auction exchanges, Social networks, Vehicular (say in a train or a ship), etc.

Definition of  Cyberspace-X

The specific context cyber spaces (calling it Cyberspace -X) is information, communication, computing and decision environment where digital data is created, stored, exchanged, flows, and updated for assisting, enabling, and making various actors (automatons and humans) enact their roles, perform their functions, and achieve their objectives, over the computer networks. The networks and cyberspace is potentially  vulnerable to unauthorized actors who may have opposing objectives to the actors belonging and authorized to the cyberspace. These objectives may include  disrupting, degrading, damaging, destroying, and even demolishing the components, capabilities, and infrastructure of Cyberspace-X.

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