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Cybersecurity veterans often cringe when they see the word “cyber” used outside of a compound word. Some have given up the fight, embracing this pop culture terminology where a prefix is used as an all-encompassing noun. It seems to be used in non-technical circles as the label of choice for all the ethereal things we imagine live “somewhere out there” in cyberspace (yes, one word). So, a modifier becomes a noun, just like that? The fact is, when it comes to nomenclature associated with such a fast-moving and young industry as cybersecurity, there are bound to be adaptations as pop culture wrestles with new concepts, strange terminology, and capabilities they could never have imagined, even post-War Games. Yet, the ability of a word to endure and carry meaning across industries and cultures relies on the intrinsic torque it contains to move through generations and innovations – and how well it endures colloquial adaptations.
In the 21st century, many – if not most – assume that the term “cyber” is a portmanteau or blending of two words derived from other words, but it’s not. The evolution and usage of the word has morphed, as well as debated, over the years.
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