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Cybersecurity glossary of terms

Our glossary explains some of the key cybersecurity terms.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Antivirus - Software that is designed to detect, stop and remove viruses.

Authentication - Verifying that someone is who they claim to be when they access a computer or online service.

B

Backing up - Making a copy of data stored on a computer or server in case the original data is damaged or lost.

Bring your own device (BYOD) - When personally owned mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets are authorised for use in the workplace.

Broadband - High-speed data transmission system capable of transporting multiple traffic types.

C

CEO fraud – When a fraudster purporting to be a senior member of an organisation emails the firm’s cashier or an employee responsible for finance, requesting them to make a bank transfer to a third party. The fraudster may email from a look-a-like email address, so the employee assumes it is a genuine instruction.

Cloud - Where shared resources are stored and accessed, usually online instead of locally.

Cyber - A broad term encompassing the technological elements of modern society, from computers and emails to websites and smart devices

Cyber-attack - An attack on the technology used by an individual or organisation, using technical and social engineering techniques to gain unauthorised access to data and systems.

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D

E

Encryption - The conversion of data into a code in order to prevent unauthorised access.

F

Firewall - Hardware or software designed to act as a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network by controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic.

G

H

Hacker - Someone who violates computer security to gain unauthorised access to data.

Hard disk - Permanent storage medium within a computer.

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I

Identification - The process of recognising a particular user of a computer or service.

Invoice fraud - A fraudster obtains details of a firm’s suppliers (for example, IT suppliers) and emails the finance department, purportedly as the supplier, asking for invoice remittances to be sent to a new bank.

Internet service provider (ISP) - Company that provides access to the internet and further services.

J

K

Keyboard logger - A virus that records keystrokes to secretly capture confidential information (such as credit card details).

L

Local area network (LAN) - Communications network linking multiple computers within a geographical location such as an office building.

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M

Macro virus - Malware that infects common applications (eg word processing programs) and causes a sequence of actions to be performed when the application is started.

Malware - Software intended to infiltrate and damage computers (abbreviation of malicious software).

N

No hang-up - Fraudsters purporting to be trustworthy may suggest you hang up and ring your bank or the police immediately on a trusted number. However, they don’t disconnect the call, so when you dial the genuine phone number you are still connected to the fraudster or an accomplice who pursues the scam.

O

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P

Phishing - The fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from a trustworthy source in order to induce individuals to reveal sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and payment card numbers, online. Phishing is often associated with spam emails.

Q

R

S

Smart device - A device that has internet connectivity and the ability to run computer programs or apps. Includes smartphones and tablets.

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

T

Trojan - A type of virus disguised as legitimate software that can be used to hack into the victim's computer.

Two-factor authentication - Obtaining evidence of identity by two independent means, eg knowing a password and receiving a pass code via a mobile phone.

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U

V

Virus - A piece of code loaded onto a computer without the user's knowledge, capable of copying itself and causing damage or disruption.

Vishing – Using telephone calls to dupe someone into providing personal details (abbreviation of ‘voice phishing’). It is often accompanied by knowledge of transactions gained during phishing.

W

Wide area network (WAN) - Communications network linking computers across different geographical locations.

X

Y

Z

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