Because words matter…

I came across this article from Engadget the other day.

Here’s a taste to pique your interest:“In expressions of both eagerness and incomprehension, outlets wrote, “Pentagon hits ISIS with ‘cyber bombs’ in full-scale online campaign.” Scientific American even went so far as to try and explain the skin-crawlingly crazy phrase in a piece titled “How U.S. ‘Cyber Bombs’ against Terrorists Really Work.”

India Times took it all quite literally, in an article titled “There’s Something Called a Cyber Bomb and the US Is Planning to Drop It on ISIS.” It explained, “The proper definition of a cyber-bomb is still a little convoluted and has been kept under wraps mainly because an operation of such magnitude is yet to be carried out.”

One month after officials injected that deranged rhetoric into popular consciousness, the FBI and Apple had a public Hatfield vs. McCoys moment on encryption — a war of words over unlocking the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.

During this embarrassing media circus, the local DA told a federal judge the phone had to be unlocked, because it may hold the trigger to unleash a “dormant cyber pathogen.” The quote was reported with a straight face by more than a few outlets in news items declaring that the “San Bernardino shooter could have introduced ‘dormant cyber pathogen.'”

Shortly after making the remark, San Bernardino DA Michael Ramos admitted that the alleged ‘dormant cyber pathogen’ was entirely made up.”


Do we accurately describe cyberspace operations?

Do terms like deterrence, bombs, and pathogens have a place in explaining cyberspace operations?

How do we effectively explain the impact of cyberspace operations without losing our audience in technological jargon?