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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Time to Talk About That Word "Cybersecurity" Arden Henderson


What does the word "cybersecurity" mean to you? If you only follow the most shallow of news sources and don't wade into technical depth, the word has bound to surfaced more than a few times.

It is easy enough to search for the term and find the usual word definition sites plus endless articles on the web related to cybersecurity. There are even articles and discussions about whether the word is two as in "cyber security" or one long word "cybersecurity."

If you work in IT or as a hardware/software developer or as a security consultant or any of the other many roles in the growing security industry (often abbreviated to "sec"), cybersecurity is already a huge part of your life and work. But, for the millions of users out there, even technically skilled users, the whole cybersecurity thing seems to be a moving target. A vague, shifting mist of unsettling possibilities rife with lots of technical buzzwords and buzzphrases. A technobabble firehose with enough force to glaze eyes over and cause discouragement and disinterest in learning more. That's because the word is an overloaded word.

Cybersecurity covers the entire defense of the entire realm of things that go bump in the internet dark. The easier question might be what does the word not cover.

For example, you are looking at a web page, namely this blog. Was the web page served with HTTPS? (What the heck is HTTPS, really. Worth looking up?) Did the text you are reading get rendered as intended by the author and website owner? Or was it compromised by MITM. (And what does "MITM" mean?) Maybe this blog's text was originally about a cool way to use four-thousand Seeed Studio BeagleBone Green
single board computers [1] [2] from Mouser to build a fairly useful supercomputer but the text was intercepted and, ironically, changed to a bird's eye view of the word "cybersecurity."

Suffice to say, in-depth definitions of cybersecurity and related admonishments of how to be safe are indeed out of the scope of a 500-plus-word blog.
Besides, all those sorts of details can easily be found on the web.

Yet, to leave the reader with something perhaps new and useful related to the word "cybersecurity," instead of trying to sort out all the many implications of the word, think of it as a state-of-mind.

In the same way, a driver who practices defensive driving, starting with a buy-in to that state-of-mind, any user of today's stunning digital powers and communications can learn, and practice, a cybersecurity state-of-mind.

Therefore, whether the reader is developing the next cool thing for the Internet of Things with security in mind, or writing security into software that runs in a drone, or designing some game-changing hardware, or simply laughing at, and sharing, cat videos on the web, every decision and choice can be from a cybersecurity state-of-mind.

This state-of-mind would be, in fact, an awareness, and an earnest open-minded interest in reading about, and learning new skills incrementally, during the journey, to defend against harmful things that go bump in the internet darkness.


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Arden Henderson spent at least part of his life toolsmithing in dark, steam-powered workshops of software tool forges long gone, drenched in blood, sweat, and code under the glare of cathode ray tubes, striving for the perfect line of self-modifying software and the holy grail of all things codecraft: The perfectly rendered pixel. These days, when not working on his 1964 Flux Blend time machine (which he inadvertently wrecked before it was built after a particularly deep recursive loop), Mr. Henderson works in part-time castle elf and groundskeeper jobs, chatting with singularities spawned from code gone mad in vast labyrinths of vacuum tubes, patch cords, and electro-mechanical relays. Mr. Henderson earned a B.S.C.S. late in life at Texas A&M. Over the hundreds of years gone by before then and after, he has worked in various realms ranging from petrochemical wonderlands spread across the flat Gulf Coast saltgrass plains, as far as the eye can see, to silicon bastions deep in the heart of Central Texas.

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