Key Cybersecurity Terms You Need to Know

Everyone has heard of many common cybersecurity terms, but as threats like DDoS attacks become both more frequent and more dangerous, it’s important for users to be familiar with more in-depth cybersecurity terminology. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so whether you’re a casual user or an experienced developer, take a look at the glossary below to make sure you know your terms.

Asymmetric Cryptography: A cryptographic system that uses public and private keys to encrypt and decrypt data. The public/private keys are large numbers that are different, but mathematically related.

Authentication: A means of verifying who you are communicating with

Brute Force: A cyberattack that overloads a computer, network, or software program with data until it ultimately allows access.

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack: A type of attack that targets a network resource, such as a server or website, and attempts to make the service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic (incoming messages, connection requests or malformed packets) from multiple sources.

Digital Certificate: A “digital file” embedded in a device that serves as a unique key that provides secure authentication from one device to another thereby allowing access to programs, files or a remote location.

Cloud Backup: Backing data up to the cloud involves uploading important program files to an offsite server where they are stored for recovery in the event of a cyberattack or other system failure.

Encryption: A security measure that converts data into a unrecognizable content utilizing cryptographic algorithms. Only specific users are allowed to access and decode it.

Firewall: When hackers attempt a cyberattack on your computer or network, firewalls are the first line of defense. A firewall can detect when unauthorized users attempt to access a network or device, then block them from entry.

Hacker: Someone who attempts to gain access to a computer, network, or server in order to view data or install viruses without the users’ knowledge.

Keylogger: A malicious program installed by hackers that attempts to record everything a user types on their keyboard. These programs are often used to steal passwords and other personal information (such as social security numbers).

Phishing: A technique hackers use to disguise their identity or intent, making the content of a virus or breach appear as though it is actually from a legitimate source (such as a bank). Phishing is often done via email.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI): A typical PKI is hardware, software and standards (policies and practices) to manage digital certificates and ensure they are properly protected.

Ransomware: A virus that encrypts files, preventing users from accessing them. In order to unlock these files, the hackers responsible often demand money (or cryptocurrency) in return, like a ransom.

Security Key: A password required to gain access to a program or network. Often used for wireless networks.

Secure Storage: A way of ensuring that no one can impersonate or spoof your device. An example of this is the use of digital certificates with PKI’s.

Spyware: Software that monitors user or program activity, then sends that information to a hacker in order to understand user or program actions.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): A login process that combines something a user knows, such as a pin number or password, with something a user has, such as a device (such as a cell phone) or account (such as an email address or phone number for texting) to authenticate a user before granting access to a program or computer. Two-factor authentication is more secure than a single factor authentication as a hacker would have to compromise two different authentication methods.

Virus: Malicious code or software installed onto a computer by hackers or (unintentionally) users.

Vulnerability: A security weakness within a software program or computer network that hackers can use viruses to exploit. Vulnerabilities are usually addressed through security patches or updates after they are identified.

Worm: A self-replicating virus that can move quickly through a network, infecting all machines that connect to it.

Interested in hearing about our cybersecurity predictions for the upcoming year? Check out our video of Kyrio president and general manager Mitch Ashley. For more information about how these threats pose risks for your business, and how you can mitigate them, contact the security experts at Kyrio today.


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