cy·​ber·​war ˈsī-bər-ˌwȯr How to pronounce cyberwar (audio)
plural cyberwars
: a state of conflict (as between nations) in which attacks are carried out by means of cyber warfare
In a cyberwar, the offensive force picks the battlefield, and the other side may not even realize when it's under attack.Gregory Vistica
Also, unlike warfare in the real world, cyberwars are won and lost by private sector companies and their ability to protect their networks and spot attacks.Franz-Stefan Gady
: cyber warfare
That BBC conversation went into a discussion of cyberwarfare, and I made the point that I thought the role of cyberwar in conflict had been overestimated.David G. W. Birch

Examples of cyberwar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web If cyberwar is the hacking of online networks, LikeWar is the hacking of the people on them, using their likes and shares to make a preferred narrative go viral. P. W. Singer, Foreign Affairs, 5 Dec. 2023 Two years ago the cyberwar widened to target civilians on a large scale. Paul Mozur, New York Times, 31 Oct. 2023 Russia is far from the only country that engages in offensive cyberwar tactics. Dhruv Mehrotra, WIRED, 9 Sep. 2023 Iran and Israel are engaged in a cyberwar that has now escalated to include Iranian attacks on Israeli hospitals and Israeli attacks on Iranian gas stations. Kenneth M. Pollack, Foreign Affairs, 19 Apr. 2022 Intelligence agencies and militaries seize on hackable bugs when they're revealed—exploiting them to carry out their campaigns of espionage or cyberwar—or spend millions to dig up new ones or to buy them in secret from the hacker gray market. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, 6 Sep. 2023 But the cyberwar threatens to escalate into a more serious conflict involving ransomware gangs or Russian and US state hackers. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, 17 Mar. 2022 But the growing volume of destructive code hints at a new kind of cyberwar that has accompanied Russia's physical invasion of Ukraine, with a pace and diversity of cyberattacks that's unprecedented. WIRED, 22 Feb. 2023 As the volunteer cyberwar over Ukraine grows bigger, the United States and its allies must not be caught flat-footed should this shadow conflict—or the next—threaten to spiral out of control. Elisabeth Braw, Foreign Affairs, 2 May 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cyberwar.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1992, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cyberwar was in 1992

Dictionary Entries Near cyberwar

Cite this Entry

“Cyberwar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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