NEW: Share items with hotlinks.
Read more
Start trial
LoginGet started

Cybersecurity Lexicon

With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and attacks, understanding the intricate world of cybersecurity is crucial. To empower individuals and organizations alike, we have meticulously curated and compiled a wealth of knowledge onto this single page. 
Whether you are a cybersecurity enthusiast, a seasoned professional, or a curious beginner, this lexicon serves as a valuable resource, offering clear and concise definitions of key terms, acronyms, and concepts that encompass the ever-evolving realm of cybersecurity. Step into this repository of information, arm yourself with knowledge, and fortify your digital defenses against the challenges of the modern cyber landscape. Let's embark on this journey of learning and secure the future together.

Access control is the practice of regulating and managing user permissions and privileges to resources, systems, or data. It ensures that only authorized individuals or entities can access specific resources and perform permitted actions based on their roles or privileges.

An Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) is a sophisticated and targeted cyber attack carried out by skilled and well-resourced adversaries over an extended period. APTs typically aim to gain unauthorized access, steal valuable information, or disrupt critical operations.

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is a symmetric encryption algorithm widely used to secure sensitive data. The "256-bit" refers to the key size used in the encryption process, providing a high level of security and confidentiality.

Antivirus software is a security program designed to detect, prevent, and remove malware from computer systems. It scans files and processes, identifies malicious patterns, and takes actions to quarantine or remove the detected threats.

Application security focuses on protecting software applications from security threats and vulnerabilities. It involves secure coding practices, code reviews, penetration testing, and implementing security controls to mitigate risks and ensure application integrity.

Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user or device to ensure that they are who they claim to be. It involves validating credentials, such as passwords, biometrics, or digital certificates, to grant authorized access to resources or systems.

Authorization is the process of granting or denying access rights and permissions to authenticated users or entities based on their roles, privileges, or security policies. It ensures that users have the appropriate level of access to perform authorized actions.

Biometric authentication is a security mechanism that uses unique biological or behavioral characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or iris scans, to verify an individual's identity. It provides a high level of assurance and reduces reliance on traditional passwords.

A bot, short for "robot," is a program or script that automates tasks on the internet. Bots can be benign, such as search engine crawlers, or malicious, such as malware-infected bots used to perform DDoS attacks or propagate spam messages.

A botnet is a network of compromised computers, also known as "bots" or "zombies," under the control of a single attacker or a group. Botnets are commonly used to launch coordinated attacks, such as DDoS attacks or distributing spam or malware.

A brute-force attack is a trial-and-error method used by attackers to decode encrypted data or passwords. It involves systematically attempting all possible combinations until the correct one is found, often relying on computational power and time.

A buffer overflow is a software vulnerability where an application writes more data into a buffer than it can handle, leading to memory corruption or system crashes. Attackers can exploit buffer overflows to execute arbitrary code or gain unauthorized access.

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a web application vulnerability where attackers inject malicious scripts into web pages viewed by other users. It allows the attacker to execute scripts within the victim's browser, potentially leading to session hijacking or data theft.

Cryptography is the practice of securing communication and data by converting it into a non-readable format using encryption techniques. It ensures confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and non-repudiation of information exchanged between parties.

Cyber threat intelligence refers to information about potential or current cybersecurity threats, including threat actors, their motives, tactics, techniques, and indicators of compromise. It helps organizations proactively mitigate risks and defend against attacks.

A cybersecurity framework provides a structured approach and guidelines for organizations to manage and improve their cybersecurity posture. It includes best practices, standards, controls, and risk management frameworks to enhance security resilience.

Cybersecurity hygiene refers to the best practices and habits individuals and organizations should follow to maintain a strong security posture. It includes regular software updates, patching, strong passwords, awareness training, and adherence to security policies.

A cybersecurity policy is a set of documented guidelines, rules, and procedures that outline an organization's approach to managing and protecting its information assets and technology infrastructure from cyber threats. It defines roles, responsibilities, and security measures.

Cybersecurity risk refers to the potential for harm or loss resulting from cyber threats or attacks. It encompasses the likelihood of an attack occurring, the impact it may have, and the effectiveness of security measures in place to mitigate those risks.

A data breach refers to the unauthorized access, disclosure, or exposure of sensitive or confidential data. It may involve personal information, financial records, intellectual property, or any data that should be kept secure and protected from unauthorized access.

Data classification is the process of categorizing data based on its sensitivity, value, or criticality. It helps organizations prioritize security controls, determine appropriate access controls, and apply suitable protection measures based on the data's classification.

Data Encryption Standard (DES) is a symmetric encryption algorithm that was widely used in the past. However, due to its small key size and vulnerabilities, it has been replaced by more secure encryption algorithms like AES.

Data exfiltration is the unauthorized extraction or removal of data from a system or network. It involves transferring sensitive or confidential information outside of the organization's control, often by bypassing security controls or using covert channels.

Data loss prevention (DLP) refers to a set of technologies, policies, and practices designed to prevent the unauthorized disclosure or loss of sensitive data. It involves monitoring, detecting, and protecting data across various endpoints and network channels.

Data protection refers to the implementation of measures and practices to safeguard sensitive or confidential data from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. It includes encryption, access controls, backups, and privacy regulations compliance.

Denial of Service (DoS) is an attack where the attacker overwhelms a system, network, or service with a flood of illegitimate requests or traffic, causing it to become unavailable or unusable for legitimate users.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is a type of DoS attack where multiple compromised systems, often part of a botnet, simultaneously flood a target system or network with a massive amount of malicious traffic, causing a severe disruption.

Encryption is the process of converting plain text or data into a coded form (ciphertext) to prevent unauthorized access. It ensures that only authorized parties with the proper decryption key can access and understand the encrypted information.

Endpoint protection refers to the security measures and tools deployed on individual endpoints, such as laptops, desktops, or mobile devices, to protect against malware, unauthorized access, and other security threats that target endpoint devices.

Endpoint security focuses on protecting individual devices or endpoints, such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, or servers, from cybersecurity threats. It involves implementing security measures like antivirus, encryption, firewalls, and access controls to secure endpoints against attacks.

An exploit is a piece of code or technique that takes advantage of a vulnerability in a system or application. Attackers use exploits to gain unauthorized access, perform malicious actions, or control the targeted system or application.

A firewall is a network security device or software that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. Its purpose is to create a barrier between trusted and untrusted networks.

A firewall rule is a predefined set of criteria or instructions that determine how a firewall should handle incoming or outgoing network traffic. It helps filter, allow, or block specific types of traffic based on defined security policies or access control lists.

Hacking refers to the unauthorized access, manipulation, or exploitation of computer systems, networks, or data. It can be performed by skilled individuals (white hat hackers) for ethical purposes or by malicious actors (black hat hackers) for malicious intents.

Incident management is the process of managing and responding to security incidents or breaches promptly and effectively. It involves coordinating actions, communication, and containment efforts to minimize the impact and restore normal operations.

Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a cybersecurity incident or breach. It involves detecting, containing, eradicating, and recovering from security incidents while minimizing damage and restoring normal operations.

Information security refers to the protection of information assets, including data, systems, networks, and processes, from unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction. It involves the implementation of controls and risk management practices.

Intrusion refers to unauthorized access or entry into a system, network, or application by an external attacker or an insider. It can lead to security breaches, data theft, system compromise, or other malicious activities that impact the confidentiality or integrity of information.

Intrusion detection is the process of monitoring and analyzing network or system activities for signs of malicious or unauthorized behavior. It involves the use of specialized tools or systems that generate alerts or notifications about potential security breaches or threats.

An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a security tool that monitors network or system activities for signs of malicious or unauthorized behavior. It detects and alerts administrators about potential intrusions or security breaches.

Intrusion prevention refers to the practice of actively monitoring and blocking or preventing unauthorized access or malicious activities within a network or system. It involves the use of technologies, such as firewalls, IPS, or behavioral analytics, to detect and stop intrusions.

An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is a security device or software that actively monitors network traffic, detects potential threats or attacks, and takes immediate action to block or prevent those threats from compromising the network.

A keylogger is a type of malware or hardware device that records keystrokes on a computer or device without the user's knowledge. It allows attackers to capture sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or other confidential data.

Malvertising refers to the distribution of malware through online advertising networks or platforms. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in ad networks to inject malicious code into legitimate ads, which can then infect users' systems when they interact with the ads.

Malware, short for malicious software, is any software intentionally designed to harm, exploit, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems or networks. Common types of malware include viruses, worms, trojans, and ransomware.

Malware analysis is the process of examining and understanding the behavior, characteristics, and capabilities of malicious software. It involves reverse engineering, code analysis, and dynamic monitoring to identify and mitigate the threats posed by malware.

Malware detection refers to the identification and recognition of malicious software or code within systems, networks, or files. It involves the use of antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, or behavior-based analysis to identify and mitigate malware threats.

A Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is an attack where an attacker intercepts and relays communication between two parties without their knowledge. It allows the attacker to eavesdrop, manipulate, or inject malicious content into the communication flow.

Network monitoring involves the continuous observation, analysis, and recording of network activities and traffic patterns. It helps identify anomalies, detect security incidents, and ensure optimal network performance and reliability.

Network scanning is the process of identifying and mapping network assets, services, and vulnerabilities. It involves actively probing networks to discover hosts, open ports, and potential security weaknesses that could be exploited by attackers.

Network security refers to the measures and practices implemented to protect computer networks and their data from unauthorized access, attacks, or disruptions. It involves the use of various technologies, policies, and procedures to ensure network integrity and confidentiality.

Network segmentation is the process of dividing a computer network into smaller subnetworks or segments to enhance security and control. It helps isolate sensitive data, restrict unauthorized access, and limit the impact of potential security breaches or lateral movement.

Password cracking is the process of attempting to determine or recover passwords by systematically checking various combinations or using specialized software tools. It is often performed by attackers to gain unauthorized access to protected accounts or systems.

A password policy is a set of rules and requirements that govern the creation, usage, and management of passwords within an organization. It aims to enforce strong password practices and minimize the risk of unauthorized access due to weak or compromised passwords.

A patch is a software update or fix released by vendors to address vulnerabilities, bugs, or performance issues in their products. Applying patches is essential to ensure that systems and software are up to date and protected against known vulnerabilities.

Penetration testing, also known as ethical hacking, is a proactive security assessment where authorized professionals simulate real-world attacks to identify vulnerabilities and assess the security posture of systems, networks, or applications.

Phishing is a cyber attack where an attacker masquerades as a trustworthy entity to deceive individuals and trick them into revealing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card details.

Phishing awareness training is an educational program designed to educate individuals about the risks and techniques associated with phishing attacks. It aims to increase awareness, teach best practices, and help users recognize and avoid falling for phishing scams.

A phishing email is a fraudulent email message sent by attackers to trick recipients into disclosing sensitive information, such as passwords or financial details. Phishing emails often mimic legitimate entities or websites to deceive users.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim's files or locks their computer, and then demands a ransom payment in exchange for restoring access to the compromised system or data.

Risk assessment is the process of identifying, analyzing, and evaluating potential risks to assess their potential impact on an organization's assets, operations, and objectives. It helps in making informed decisions and implementing risk mitigation strategies.

Secure coding is the practice of writing software code with security considerations in mind to prevent vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of exploitation. It involves following secure coding practices, using secure libraries, and validating inputs to ensure code integrity.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a cryptographic protocol that provides secure communication over the internet. It establishes an encrypted connection between a client and a server, ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data.

Security architecture refers to the design and structure of an organization's security controls, systems, and infrastructure. It encompasses the selection, integration, and implementation of security technologies, policies, and procedures to protect critical assets and data.

A security assessment is a systematic evaluation of an organization's security controls, policies, and procedures to identify vulnerabilities, assess risks, and recommend mitigations. It helps organizations identify weaknesses and improve their overall security posture.

A security audit is a systematic evaluation or assessment of an organization's security controls, policies, procedures, and infrastructure to identify vulnerabilities, compliance gaps, and areas for improvement in order to enhance overall security.

Security awareness refers to the knowledge, understanding, and mindset individuals have regarding potential security threats and best practices. It involves educating users about security risks, policies, and actions they can take to protect themselves and the organization.

Security awareness training is an educational program that aims to educate individuals about security risks, best practices, policies, and procedures. It helps promote a culture of security and empowers individuals to make informed decisions to protect themselves and their organization.

A security breach refers to an incident where unauthorized individuals gain access to protected resources, systems, or data. It signifies a violation of security controls or policies and can result in the compromise or loss of sensitive information.

Security controls are measures, technologies, or practices implemented to safeguard systems, networks, or data against security risks or threats. They can include access controls, encryption, intrusion detection systems, firewalls, and other protective mechanisms.

A security event refers to any observable occurrence or incident that may indicate a potential security issue or compromise. It can include logs, alerts, system messages, or other notifications generated by security controls or monitoring systems.

Security hardening involves strengthening the security of systems, networks, or applications by implementing additional protective measures and configurations. It aims to minimize vulnerabilities, reduce attack surface, and improve overall security posture.

A security incident refers to any adverse event or occurrence that violates an organization's security policies or poses a threat to its information assets. It could include unauthorized access, data breaches, system compromises, malware infections, or policy violations.

Security incident management involves the coordination, response, and resolution of security incidents or breaches within an organization. It includes identifying, containing, investigating, and recovering from incidents while minimizing the impact and restoring normal operations.

Security incident response involves the systematic process of detecting, analyzing, and responding to security incidents promptly and effectively. It includes containment, eradication, recovery, and post-incident analysis to minimize damage and prevent future incidents.

A security incident response plan outlines the procedures, actions, and roles to be followed when responding to security incidents. It provides a structured approach to detect, analyze, contain, eradicate, and recover from security breaches or incidents.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is a software solution that combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) to provide real-time monitoring, correlation, and analysis of security events and logs across an organization's network.

A security operations center (SOC) is a centralized unit within an organization that monitors, detects, and responds to security incidents and events. It typically combines people, processes, and technology to ensure effective security management and incident response.

Security patch management is the process of identifying, deploying, and maintaining software patches and updates to address vulnerabilities and security issues. It ensures that systems and software remain up to date and protected against known threats.

Security posture refers to an organization's overall security strength or resilience in the face of potential threats or attacks. It reflects the effectiveness of security controls, risk management practices, incident response capabilities, and overall security readiness.

Security testing is the process of evaluating the effectiveness and robustness of security measures and controls in systems, networks, or applications. It involves identifying vulnerabilities, weaknesses, or misconfigurations to ensure the resilience of security defenses.

A security vulnerability is a weakness or flaw in a system, network, application, or process that could be exploited by attackers to compromise security. Identifying and addressing vulnerabilities is crucial to maintaining a secure environment.

Social engineering is the practice of manipulating individuals to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or systems. It involves psychological manipulation rather than technical exploits to deceive and exploit human vulnerabilities.

A social engineering attack is a manipulative technique used by attackers to exploit human psychology and deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information or performing actions that compromise security. It can involve impersonation, deception, or psychological manipulation.

Spear phishing is a targeted form of phishing attack that involves personalized and tailored messages to specific individuals or groups. Attackers gather information to make the phishing attempts more convincing and increase the likelihood of success.

SQL injection is a code injection technique used by attackers to exploit vulnerabilities in web applications that use SQL databases. By injecting malicious SQL statements, attackers can manipulate the application's database and gain unauthorized access or retrieve sensitive data.

An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website or server and enables secure communication over HTTPS. It ensures that data transmitted between a user's browser and the website/server is encrypted and protected against eavesdropping.

A threat actor refers to an individual, group, or organization that carries out or sponsors malicious activities or cyber attacks. Threat actors can be hackers, hacktivists, state-sponsored groups, or organized crime syndicates.

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a cryptographic protocol that succeeds SSL and provides secure communication between clients and servers. It ensures the privacy and integrity of data during transmission, such as in web browsing or email.

A Trojan horse, or Trojan, is a type of malware disguised as legitimate software to deceive users and gain unauthorized access to their systems. Trojans often create backdoors or allow remote control of the compromised system by attackers.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security mechanism that requires users to provide two different types of identification factors, such as a password and a unique code sent to their mobile device, to verify their identity.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure network connection that allows users to access and transmit data over the internet while maintaining privacy and security. It creates an encrypted tunnel between the user's device and the VPN server.

A virus is a type of malware that self-replicates by infecting other files or programs and spreads to other systems. Viruses can cause damage, compromise system integrity, or disrupt normal operations.

A vulnerability is a weakness or flaw in a system, application, or network that could be exploited by attackers to compromise its security. Identifying and patching vulnerabilities is crucial for maintaining a secure environment.

A web application firewall (WAF) is a security appliance or software that filters and monitors HTTP and web application traffic. It helps protect web applications from attacks, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, or unauthorized access attempts.

Web security encompasses measures and practices implemented to protect websites and web applications from cyber threats and vulnerabilities. It includes secure coding, input validation, access controls, encryption, and protection against common web-based attacks.

A worm is a self-replicating malware program that can spread across computer networks without requiring user interaction. Worms exploit network vulnerabilities to infect multiple systems and often have the capability to cause significant damage.

A zero-day vulnerability refers to a software vulnerability or weakness that is unknown to the vendor or the public. It poses a significant risk as attackers can exploit it before a patch or security measures are available, leaving systems exposed and at risk.

Zero-knowledge architecture refers to a security model where a system or service can validate the authenticity of a user's identity or the integrity of data without actually knowing the user's credentials or the content being processed.