Towards a Scientific Definition of Cyber Resilience


  • Sidney Smith DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory



cyber resilience, scientific definition, stress, strain, resistance, persistence


Cyber resilience must be improved.  Improving cyber resilience requires the quantitatively measuring it. However, before cyber resilience can be measured, it must first be scientifically defined. An effort to discover a consensus among researchers as to the scientific definition of resilience, in general, and cyber resilience, specifically, revealed that no such consensus exists. Experts from several disciplines agree that the word resilience is becoming a meaningless buzz word. This paper reviews the literature to establish the current state of the scientific definition of resilience. It briefly surveys the literature to discover what makes a valid scientific definition. It reviews and analyses the historic scientific use of resilience to discover the path from its original meaning to its current diverse and conflicting meanings. These concepts are decomposed using a genus-differentia analysis untangling the various connotations and separating the related but different concepts. Based upon this analysis, a proposal is made that resilience is part of a family of properties under the umbrella of tenacity. This family includes resistance, resilience, persistence, and perseverance. Finally, an initial operational definition of cyber resilience based upon key performance parameters under stress is proposed.