IATE Term of the Week: Cyber War


On Friday 12th of May 2017, a cyber attack with an unprecedented global reach took place, affecting 200,000 computers in 150 countries. Cyber conflict constitutes a characteristic warfare in the modern age and it is in this context that the term “cyber war” was chosen as this week’s IATE Term of the Week.
cyber war banner

In recent years, cyber attacks on a serious scale have become a matter of concern to states, due to the threat they can pose to national security, but also a potential foreign policy and military tool to be added to existing options in their arsenals. While international law is still struggling with defining norms on state actions in cyberspace, the latter is now increasingly viewed as a fifth domain of warfare; this is how the briefing by EPRS (European Parliamentary Research Service) on Cyber defence in the EU – Preparing for cyber warfare? begins the October of 2014. Still back then, the definitions surrounding ‘cyber war’ and ‘cyber defence’ were widely debated, and had become a burgeoning topic for international legal scholars, along with governments and international organisations.

The technical discourse and technical terminology tend to be more specific and “deep” in time, after a lot of observation and understanding of the characteristics, effects etc. of the subject under definition. In latest years with the progress on internet and technology the field of technical terminology and neologisms is under ongoing update, observation and research.

In IATE, the cyber war term is part of one of the Neologism projects that undergo currently a lot of updates.

According to Oxford dictionaries, cyber war is defined as the use of computer technology to disrupt the activities of a state or organization, especially the deliberate attacking of information systems for strategic or military purposes.

Here is a screenshot of the entry in IATE for cyber war:

IATE cyber war

[su_note note_color=”#dcea0f”][su_button url=”https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1eOAk12qrb-6uDWJK7eKA0jsxky6-GgMUv-CON6EbknQ/edit#” style=”flat”]Contribute to IATE![/su_button] We would appreciate your contribution to update this term in your language. An IATE terminologist of the relevant language will be in charge of the validation of contributions and, thus, a delay is to be expected.[/su_note]


You might also be interested in reading the following previous posts on related topics:

We also encourage you to check related glossaries through our Glossary Links tool and through our recently-updated EU Glossaries‘ list!

Enjoy terminology learning and have a nice weekend!

Written by Katerina PalamiotiTranslator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee and Foodie at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.


  • Europol – European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, WANNACRY RANSOMWARE: RECENT CYBER-ATTACK. Available at: http://bit.ly/2qz0QZ8 (Accessed: 18/05/2017)
  • CNBC, Cyberattack hits 200,000 in at least 150 countries – Europol.  Available at: http://cnb.cx/2qyNXhw (Accessed: 18/05/2017)
  • European Parliament – European Parliamentary Research Service, Cyber defence in the EU Preparing for cyber warfare? Available at: http://bit.ly/2qF8Ki1 (18/05/2017)