Admittedly a trivial post … but what is the proper spelling and usage – cyber security or cybersecurity?

I’m going to go back to the classic Military Cryptanalytics by Lambros Callimahos and William Friedman and my early days out of college writing technical papers at NSA for guidance.

At that time the issue was plain text or plaintext and cipher text or ciphertext. You would think one or the other was correct, but respected papers had both spellings. And if you chose to use just one spelling your paper would get marked up by the exacting technical editors.

Eventually I was told that the single word was used when it was an adjective and the two words were used when text was the noun or object and plain or cipher was the adjective or adverb. For example:

  • a plaintext message
  • the message was sent in plain text

So if we take the same approach we would have:

  • the cybersecurity framework
  • cyber security is essential for the availability and integrity of the critical infrastructure
  • a cybersecurity program
  • confidentiality, integrity and availability are the three main security objectives in cyber security

I was told at the time that I had Callimahos and Friedman to thank for this confusing rule, but at least it is better than random choice …. ok pseudorandom (or is it pseudo random?)