Steering Toward the Nexus of Cyber Theory and Policy


Kybernao seeks to publish academic-based research applied to real-world policy and strategy questions. These short pieces (2500-8000) will be published on an occasional basis as an Issue Briefing/Policy Briefing with the goal of connecting academics with policymakers to improve security in cyberspace.

Kybernao is the Greek verb “to steer” (κυβερνάω, the first person singular present). The Greek noun for “steersmen” or “helmsman” is kybernetes (κυβηρνήτης), which many point to as the etymology behind the term cyber as it related to the concept of cybernetics, which focused on the relationship between communication and automatic control systems of both machines and humans.

Our image is inspired from ancient Greek pottery and depicts the guide navigating by the contours of the network (stars) through the core code that both serves as the terrain of cyberspace (seas) and the way one moves across the network.

The Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy (CCSP) image captures the challenge of securing cyberspace. The use of chess pieces is to emphasize the notion of strategy. The multiplying knights depicts the ever-changing character of malware that can morph into new versions and take advantage of new vectors for exploitation of vulnerabilities. The shadows depict the ever-present opportunity to leverage uncertainty regarding network intrusion, intruder, an intruder’s intent, the scale and scope of a campaign, and even the game being played (perhaps you are playing GO instead of chess)--you may think you are playing against the knight and can anticipate those moves, when in fact you are playing against a bishop with very different operational capabilities and potential for strategic gain. The defeated pawn acknowledges the potential to win and lose in cyberspace (note that a draw is possible in chess, Go, and in cyberspace).

For inquiries about the Kybernao series, to be added to the Kybernao mailing list, or CCSP questions in general, contact: