Jargon Buster


A collection of computers subject to control by an outside party, usually without the knowledge of the owners, using secretly installed software robots.

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.


A person with special expertise in computer systems and software. A hacker who attempts to gain unauthorised access to computer systems is a “cracker”.

An individual who breaches websites or secured communications systems to deliver political messages, including those related to foreign policy, or propaganda.

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.

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.

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.

Making a message or transaction appear to come from a source other than the originator.

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.

A program designed to degrade service, cause inexplicable symptoms or damage networks.

A spear phishing attack that specifically targets executives or decision makers

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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