Cyber security, knowledge and practices (CYKNOW)

With the rapid digitalization of modern societies, exploitation and attacks on digital networks is also surging. As a result, the security of digital systems, or cybersecurity, has become a priority for states and globally. Governments have recognized that protection of digital critical infrastructure and functions is a key national security task, as states increasingly weaponize digital code to intrude into one another’s networks. Still, decision-makers struggle to fully understand and comprehend the threat, and similarly face challenges when designing strategies and means to prevent, mitigate and respond to attacks. Familiar security frameworks and measures, such as defense and deterrence, appear outmoded in the rapidly evolving digital world. This knowledge gap is mirrored in the social science, where dominant theories and models treat cybersecurity as something objectively given, rather than the result of a sociotechnical process. As a consequence, cybersecurity remains academically elusive. This project will help fill this gap through a novel analytical framework that combines social science and technology studies. The aim is to explore how the digital threat landscape is understood among policy makers and engineers alike, how this knowledge is conveyed between them, and how particular cybersecurity policies and practices emerge as a result.