A set of research papers students for MIT course on Cybersecurity focus on different facets of the challenges at hand. Jointly, they provide insights into the “boundary” for the issue of cybersecurity.

The introduction simple example to illustrate the reasons surrounding ambiguity or absence of definition, as well as what might be some attendant implications. Then we highlight, in a sentence or two, the contributions of each of the essays that follow.

Essay Title (Author)

Cybersecurity – Problems, Premises, Perspectives (Nazli Choucri & Chrisma Jackson)


An Abbreviated Technical Perspective on Cybersecurity (Ben Ze Yuan)

The purpose is to provide a “platform” that serves as foundations for understanding the technical functionalities essential for Internet operations and, by extensions, the potential targets for threat or damage. None of this issues addressed are contingent on a definition broader than the strictly technical features. Whatever is the definition of cybersecurity that assumed canonical status, it will most surely incorporate technical features.


The Conceptual Underpinning of Cyber Security Studies (Liu Yangyue)

This essay introduces conceptual issues that will, increasingly, feature into the cybersecurity debates. It is about the conceptual underpinnings of cybersecurity from the perspective of security studies. Today it is near-impossible to talk of national security without reference to threats in and of the cyber domain. This condition, driven by today’s imperatives, requires conceptual and analytical underpinnings if it is to assume a position of credibility in policy analysis or in broader theoretical contexts. Such is the challenge addressed in this chapter. 


Cyberspace as the Domain of Content (Lyla Fischer)

Focuses on cyberspace as a domain of content. By way of orientation, it differentiates between the ends and means of cyberspace so that policymakers can focus on the ends and experts can specialize in the means. This perspective has implications for emergent conceptions of cybersecurity given that it is the security of content that dominates. 


US DoD Perspective on Cyberspace (Glenn Voelz)

This is essay on cybersecurity seen by the US Department of Defense.


China’s Perspective on Cyber Security (Liu Yangyue)

This essay is about how China considers matters of cybersecurity and how it defines its key parameters.


Pursuing Deterrence Internationally in Cyberspace (Chrisma Jackson)

This essay provides an initial mapping of the issues at hand. Labelled as a “discussion” of deterrence in the cyber era, this chapter outlines some of the major features or perhaps fault lines in debates and deliberations


Is Deterrence Possible in Cyber Warfare? (Brooke Gier)

This essay simply asks: “Is deterrence possible in cyber warfare?” 


A Theoretical Framework for Analyzing Interactions between Contemporary Transnational Activism and Digital Communication (Vivian Peron)

Provides a major shift in focus, idiom, orientation, methodology, and inference space. Puts forth a theoretical framework for analyzing interactions between transitional activism and digital communication. While the connection to cybersecurity may not be immediately obvious from this statement of focus, the fact remains that any cross border source of cyber threat is, by definition, transitional in the strict sense of the term. At the same time, transitional activism refers to a form of political activity that is organized across borders without reliance on the role of direction of the state system. 

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