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Jargon Buster

  • Botnet – A collection of computers subject to control by an outside party, usually without the knowledge of the owners, using secretly installed software robots.
  • Cybersecurity – Measures taken to protect computers or critical infrastructure.
  • Denial-of-service attack – Flooding the networks or servers of individuals or organisations with false data requests so they are unable to respond to requests from legitimate users.
  • Hacker – A person with special expertise in computer systems and software. A hacker who attempts to gain unauthorised access to computer systems is a “cracker”.
  • Hacktivist – An individual who breaches websites or secured communications systems to deliver political messages, including those related to foreign policy, or propaganda.
  • Malware – Any code that can be used to attack a computer by spreading viruses, crashing networks, gathering intelligence, corrupting data, distributing misinformation and interfering with normal operations.
  • Pharming – The act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.
  • Spam – Unsolicited bulk email that may contain malicious software. Spam is now said to account for around 81% of all email traffic.
  • Spear Phishing – A type of phishing attack that focuses on a single user or department within an organisation, addressed from someone within the company in a position of trust and requesting information such as login IDs and passwords.
  • Spoofing – Making a message or transaction appear to come from a source other than the originator.
  • Spyware – Software that collects information without a user’s knowledge and transfers it to a third party.
  • Trojan horse – A destructive program that masquerades as a benign application.
  • Virus – A program designed to degrade service, cause inexplicable symptoms or damage networks.
  • Whaling – A spear phishing attack that specifically targets executives or decision makers
  • Worm – Program or algorithm that replicates itself over a computer network and usually performs malicious actions, such as using up the computer’s resources and possibly shutting the system down. A worm, unlike a virus, has the capability to travel without human action and does not need to be attached to another file or program.

*Source: Homeland Security

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