Russian, US experts develop common definitions of cybersecurity terms

The report, "Russia-US Bilateral on Cybersecurity: Critical Terminology Foundations", presents 20 definitions that the organizations hope will form the basis for an international cybersecurity taxonomy.

“It may seem like a small step, but Russians and Americans have never before sat down and really agreed on the terms that are the prerequisite for rules of the road for cyber conflict”, said EWI chief technology officer Karl Rauscher who led the process with Valery Yaschenko, director of the Information Security Institute at Moscow State University. “Defining terms together is the first step for creating international cybersecurity agreements.”

Unlike Americans, Russians see cybersecurity as an inextricable part of a larger discussion on information security. In the EWI-led process, the report’s working group resolved this difference by consciously addressing “cyber” as a subset of “information.”

The working group also provided definitions of terms ranging from cyberspace to cyber exploitation, rendering each definition in English and Russian. The next step, according to Rauscher, is to use the report to launch a multilateral discussion on the most critical terms for the development of international cybersecurity policy, which lags far behind the rapidly moving technology. A multilateral working group on key cybersecurity terms will meet at EWI’s Cybersecurity Summit to be held in London June 1–2.

“Skeptics on both sides said that securing definitional agreement between Russians and Americans was an impossible task”, said EWI president John Mroz. “Thanks to the efforts of this team, the table is set for the start of meaningful multilateral conversations that lay the groundwork for ‘rules of the road’ agreements.”

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