Cyber Security Part 1: Terms & Definitions

Many of us are familiar with common cyber security terms such as “hacking” or “malware” but there is so much more out there that we don’t know. In the first of our 3-part cyber security series, we’ll take you through some common cyber security terms and their definitions to help build the foundation for the next part of our series.

Access Control:

Controlling who has access to a computer or online service and the information it stores.


Something of value to a person, business or organization.


The process to verify that someone is who they claim to be when they try to access a computer or online service.

Backing up:

To make a copy of data stored on a computer or server to lessen the potential impact of failure or loss.


High-speed data transmission system where the communications circuit is shared between multiple users.

Business Continuity Management:

Preparing for and maintaining continued business operations following disruption or crisis.


Declaration that specified requirements have been met.

Cloud computing:

Delivery of storage or computing services from remote servers online (via the internet).

Common Test:

A structure and series of requirements defined by the International Organization for Standardization, that are being incorporated in all management system International Standards as they are revised.

Data Server:

A computer or program that provides other computers with access to shared files over a network.


Segment of a network where servers accessed by less trusted users are isolated. The name is derived from the term “demilitarized zone.”


The transformation of data to hide its information content.


Communications architecture for wired local area networks based upon IEEE 802.3 standards.


Hardware or software designed to prevent unauthorized access to a computer or network from another computer or network.

Gap Analysis:

The comparison of actual performance against expected or required performance.


Someone who violates computer security for malicious reasons, kudos or personal gain.

Hard Disk:

The permanent storage medium within a computer used to store programs and data.


The process of recognizing a particular user of a computer or online service.

Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IAAS):

Provision of computing infrastructure (such as server or storage capacity) as a remotely provided service accessed online (via the internet).

Inspection Certificate:

A declaration issued by an interested party that specified requirements have been met.

Internet Service Provider (ISP):

Company that provides access to the internet and related services.

Intrusion Detection System (IDS): 

Program or device used to detect that an attacker is or has attempted unauthorized access to computer resources.

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS):

Intrusion detection system that also blocks unauthorized access when detected.

Keyboard Logger: 

A virus or physical device that logs keystrokes to secretly capture private information such as passwords or credit card details.

Local Area Network (LAN):

Communications network linking multiple computers within a defined location such as an office building.

Macro Virus: 

Malware (malicious software) that uses the macro capabilities of common applications such as spreadsheets and word processors to infect data.


Software intended to infiltrate and damage or disable computers. Shortened form of malicious software.

Network Firewall:

Device that controls traffic to and from a network.


A secret series of characters used to authenticate a person’s identity.

Personal Firewall:

Software running on a PC that controls network traffic to and from that computer.


Method used by criminals to try to obtain financial or other confidential information (including user names and passwords) from internet users, usually by sending an email that looks as though it has been sent by a legitimate organization (often a bank)> The email usually contains a link to a fake website that looks authentic.

Proxy Server: 

Server that acts as an intermediary between users and other servers, validating user requests.


The recovery of data following computer failure or loss.

Risk Assessment: 

The process of identifying, analyzing and evaluating risk.

Screen Scraper:

A virus or physical device that logs information sent to a visual display to capture private or personal information.

Security Perimeter:

A well-defined boundary within which security controls are enforced.


Malware that passes information about a computer user’s activities to an external party.


Something that could cause harm to a system or organization.

Two-Factor Authentication: 

Obtaining evidence of identity by two independent means, such as knowing a password and successfully completing a smartcard transaction.

Virtual Private Network (VPN):

Link(s) between computers or local area networks across different locations using a wide area network that cannot access or be accessed by other users of the wide area network.


Malware that is loaded onto a computer and then run without the user’s knowledge or knowledge of its full effects.


A flaw or weakness that can be used to attack a system or organization.

Wide Area Network (WAN):

Communications network linking computers or local area networks across different locations.


Wireless local area network based upon IEEE 802.11 standards.


Malware that replicates itself so it can spread to infiltrate other computers.


Join us next week for Part 2 of our series where we delve into the popular and vicious forms of attack used by hackers today.

Check out our short video below and learn about the Cino Cyber Safeguard Advantage and how you can protect yourself today!