I've been describing some entrepreneurial aspirations to people and one of them in the IT area interrupted when I said I was interested in starting a "Cyber Defense" firm, and he said "Cyber Security" is the proper term.

Is there a difference between using the Cyber Security terminology or the Cyber Defense term?

I mean, can I safely interchange both terms? I believe not, since the former seems more encompassing, whilst the later seems to be just the passive side of security.

  • I don't think the Google results provide a lot of confidence. I was hoping to hear from someone who's been in the industry and knows if these words are used interchangeably by practicioners. – Info5ek Oct 24 '16 at 5:25
  • I think we have got off on the wrong foot here. Is cyber security/defense what you actually want? youtube.com/watch?v=4z5TpZvTcg4 – Dog eat cat world Oct 24 '16 at 12:44
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    Why would this be opinion based? If different people use the term differently, that would make a good answer, and not a close reason. – Anders Oct 24 '16 at 14:45
  • Paradoxically, if it is opinion based, wouldn't that be the answer to the question? @Dogeatcatworld I'm not sure what you mean. I want to know if the terms are considered interchangeable or not. And if no one knows, that would imply sufficient ambiguity to use them interchangeably. – Info5ek Oct 24 '16 at 15:37
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    @Anders - I agree that this may be slightly opinion based. But I also agree with you that this may not be enough "opinion based" to warrant the close. It can be answered from a terminology point of view. I made a change to the question which hopefully will get it on the right track. – grochmal Oct 24 '16 at 19:33

Sometimes the term "cyber defense" is used to refer to the military/government side of cybersecurity.


NATO and its Allies rely on strong and resilient cyber defences to fulfil the Alliance’s core tasks of collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security. [...] NATO signed a Technical Arrangement on cyber defence cooperation with the European Union in February 2016.


Clearly, they are not talking about standard, corporate "cybersecurity".

Since cyber defence is mostly dealt with by governments and probably huge contractor companies, your firm wouldn't deal with it, which may be why you were corrected.

  • They name it defense and use it to attack. – Overmind Jul 10 at 12:56

I'm not working in the InfoSec industy (Programmer, though) but in my region, there's a difference.

Cyber Security monstly refers to Penetration Testing and Forensics (How and Why did the attacker got into the system), whereas Cyber Defence deals with prevention of those attacks (Administration, ACS, etc.) But as far as I noticed, Cyber Defence is seen as a part of Cyber Security

  • In some cases, Cyber Security refers to design while Defense to attack prevention by using various means. – Overmind Jul 10 at 12:57

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