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Glossary: Cybersecurity Terms & Definitions

With so many words, phrases, and acronyms used in the industry, learning about cybersecurity can be complicated. To help you better understand some of the more technical jargon, here’s a quick look at some of the most common terms, phrases, and acronyms and what they mean.

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Antivirus Software:

A program that monitors a computer or network to detect malicious code and prevent additional malware incidents or breaches.

B

Black Hat Hacker:

A “bad” hacker who works with malicious intent to infiltrate a system to steal or destroy data.

C

CCPA:

The California Consumer Privacy Act is a law that details how a business can handle a person’s private information. This includes the person’s right to know which information is being collected and how it is being used, the right to delete personal information, the right to opt-out of the sale of information, and the right to non-discrimination for exercising these rights.

Cloud:

Storage and processing through the internet from remote computing facilities.

Compliance:

The ability to meet requirements set by laws, regulations, or industry standards like HIPAA or the CCPA.

Compliance Officer (CO):

A cybersecurity team member who has knowledge of specific industry regulations, how they apply to your business, and what your company needs to do to stay compliant with them.

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Identity and Access Management (IAM) [Synonym: Access Control]:

The power to grant or deny specific requests or attempts to obtain or access information or to physically enter a facility. This is done by developing secure passwords (and secure password storage) and managing who has access to what.

Insider Threat:

A cyber risk to businesses where the malicious actor is somebody—employees, ex-employees, third party partners, etc.—who uses their authorized access to wittingly or unwittingly cause harm.

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Malware:

Software with malicious intent designed to compromise a system by performing an unauthorized function or process. Malware comes in many different forms, including ransomware, spyware, viruses, adware, and more.

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Phishing:

A form of digital scamming designed to deceive individuals into voluntarily providing sensitive information like Social Security numbers, credit card information, login credentials, and more. Phishing scams are an extremely common attack in which an attacker attempts to trick you into clicking a link sent in an email, text message, or online message that is disguised as coming from a trusted source (a bank, coworker, insurance provider, or family member, for example).

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Ransomware:

A form of malware that takes over your system, denying you access to files and information until you pay a ransom.

Recovery:

Post-incident activities to restore essential services and operations.

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Virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO):

The main point of contact of your cybersecurity team, a vCISO will provide you with personalized expert advice and consultation to help make crucial cybersecurity decisions. vCISO's are always up to date on the latest trends in the industry and will lead a team of DOT experts in implementing your cybersecurity plan.

VPN:

Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN is a method of connecting computers and devices to a private network, replacing a user’s IP address with the VPN’s IP address. This allows for anonymity while on the internet.

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