Cyber Security has seen a huge spike recently in the number of cyber security incidents both in the UK and across the world. The Crime Survey for England and Wales identified that in 2016 there were 2 million cybercrime offences and it seems like every day there is news of further cyber attacks on organisations and individuals.
Cyber security is now a pressing issue for many organisations but for those of us that are new to the technology sector it can be hard to decode the extensive volume of technical language. In the research project I am currently involved in, cyber security concerns within UK businesses is one of the main areas of focus given the unprecedented volume of cyber attacks in recent months. Given the nature of this topic there is a wealth of language that I was initially unable to fully understand.
Cyber Security language
This blog attempts to break down the complicated language surrounding the topic of cyber security in order to help any fellow newbies, like myself, understand what everyone is talking about. This is by no means an exhaustive list of cyber security terms, and I’m sure there are thousands of other words that are used regarding this subject.
Please feel free to comment if you feel there are any other cyber security terms that would be useful for anyone that is new to the world of cyber security. There are also additional blogs on this website containing glossaries for Cloud computing, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) that may be of interest for any other interns or new starters in the technology sector.
Cyber Security Glossary
- Acceptable use policy: Acceptable Use Policy is a policy that specifies the level of access and use of the organisation’s network or internet by the employees and members of an organisation.
- Access control: the control over which individuals are able to access a specific computer or online services and the information it contains.
- Account Harvesting: Account Harvesting is the process of collecting all the legitimate account names on a system.
- Asymmetric Key: An Asymmetric Key is a security measure that uses two keys to ensure the privacy of a message. One key is used to encrypt the message, while the other is used to decrypt it.
- Authentication: the verification process when an individual attempts to access a computer or online services in order to prove they are who they claim to be.
- Backing up: making a copy of data stored on the computer in order to prevent the loss of the data.
- Banner grabbing: Banner grabbing is the process of grabbing banner information such as the application type and version.
- Bring your own device: the authorised use in the workplace of personally owned devices including smartphones.
- Broadband: a high speed data-transmission system that is always on and is faster than traditional dial-up. Generally the communications circuit is shared between multiple users.
- Broadcast: To simultaneously send the same message to multiple recipients.
- Business Continuity management: Business Continuity is about building and improving resilience and recovery in your business. Devising plans and strategies to enable you to recover quickly and continue your business operations from any type of disruption or crisis.
- Business Impact Analysis (BIA): A Business Impact Analysis determines what levels of impact to a system are tolerable.
- Certification: the confirmation that certain specified requirements have been met.
- Cloud computing: The cloud refers to the provision of computing services over the Internet. Such services include storage and databases. The cloud allows you to access stored data and programs over the Internet as opposed to on your computer’s hard drive.
- Confidentiality: the need to ensure that information and data is disclosed only to those who are allowed to view it.
- Cookie: Data exchanged between an HTTP server and a browser (a client of the server) to store state information on the client side and retrieve it later for server use.
- Corruption: A threat action that undesirably alters system operation by adversely modifying system functions or data.
- Data Encryption Standard (DES): A widely-used method of data encryption using a secret key. There are over 72,000,000,000,000,000 possible encryption keys that can be used.
- Data Mining: Data Mining is a technique used to analyse existing information, usually with the intention of pursuing new avenues to pursue business.
- Data server: the access to shared files over a network that is provided by a computer or program.
- Decryption: Decryption is the process of transforming an encrypted message into its original text.
- Encryption: hiding the information content of data through transforming it into another form, meaning those who are not authorised cannot easily interpret or understand the data.
- Escrow Passwords: Escrow Passwords are passwords that are written down and stored in a secure location that are used by emergency personnel when privileged personnel are unavailable.
- Firewall: hardware or software that is specifically designed for the purpose of preventing the unauthorised access to a computer or network from an external source.
- Flooding: An attack that aims to cause a failure in a computer system by providing more input than the computer is able to physically process.
- Gateway: a point in a network that acts as an entrance to another network.
- Hacker: the term hacker in popular media is used to refer to someone who breaks into a computer system through discovering the weak points in the system.
- Hard disk: the hard disk is a spindle of magnetic disks that record and store information. This is the permanent storage medium in a computer. As the data is stored magnetically, information recorded to the hard disk remains even when the computer is turned off.
- Identification: the process of identifying a specific user of a particular service online or computer.
- Internet service provider (ISP): this refers to a company that delivers access to the internet and all services related to this.
- Intrusion detection system (IDS): a device or program that can be used in order to detect if an unauthorised person has attempted to access computer resources.
- Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): An IDS that additionally blocks an unauthorised source from accessing the computer resources.
- Keyboard Logger: a virus that is capable of logging keystrokes in order to obtain private information such as passwords and bank details.
- Local Area Network (LAN): is a computer network within a small geographical area such as home, school, computer laboratory, office building or group of buildings. Composed of inter-connected workstations and personal computers, which are each capable of accessing and sharing data and devices such as printers and scanners anywhere on the LAN.
- Malware: This is software that is intentionally designed to infiltrate and damage computers.
- Network Firewall: a device that is capable of controlling the traffic to and from a network.
- Password: a specific set of characters that are used to verify a person’s identity.
- Personal Firewall: Software that runs from a specific computer that controls the network traffic to and from that computer.
- Personal Information: Data that is confidential and relates to a specific person.
- Phishing: this the deliberate attempt by criminals to obtain confidential information from internet users. The method usually used is to send an email that looks as if it is from a genuine organisation, such as Apple or PayPal, which contains a link to a fake website. This then tricks individuals into giving away personal information.
- Proxy server: A proxy server is a specific computer or a software system running on a computer that acts as an intermediary between an endpoint device, such as a computer, and another server from which a user or client is requesting a service.
- Restore: the recovery of data after a computer fails or data is lost.
- Screen Scraper: A virus or a physical device that logs information that is sent to a visual display in order to capture private or personal information.
- Security information an event management (SIEM): the process through which network activity is sorted in order to be able to detect any suspicious activity.
- Security Perimeter: the boundary that separates where security controls are in place and where they’re not.
- Spyware: malware that can be used to pass on information about the user’s activity to an external party.
- Two-factor authentication: a method of computer access control in which a user is granted access only after successfully presenting two separate pieces of evidence. Usually this includes a password and completing a smartcard transaction.
- Virus: Malware that is loaded onto a computer and then run without the user’s knowledge or knowledge of its full effects.
- Worm: Malware that replicates itself so it can spread to infiltrate other computers.
Serviceteam IT has recently commissioned a research project into the current challenges businesses face, and the subsequent impact on cloud adoption. Security is often cited as a major obstacle to cloud adoption within businesses, and it will therefore be interesting to see if the results of the UK Cloud Snapshot Survey correlate with the findings of other organisations. A link to the findings of this report will be available upon completion of the project.