By Bradley Wolfenden
It’s about that time of the year when folks start to think about setting goals for the New Year, and for some, becoming more cyber literate may be at the top of your list (or should be!). To get all of you (n00bs) started, EmberSec has put together the following list of the Top 16 Cyber Terms Everyone Should Know.
Attack Vector: Attack vectors, including the human element, are what make hacking possible. It is the way hackers come at you with things like pop-up windows, e-mail attachments, instant messages and chat rooms, viruses, Web pages, etc., enable malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities across networks.
Breach: In short, a security breach is a successful break-in on an organization’s protected systems and/ or data. Cyber adversaries, both human-powered and automated applications, can gain unauthorized access in many different ways with the intent of causing damage to the victim’s reputation, finances, operational ability, and more.
Cloud: Cloud computing often refers to capabilities like the storage of data and compute power without the direct, active management of these resources by the user. The infrastructure to support Cloud services are generally hosted within central data centers and access is provided over the Internet. Cloud computing has become the preferred method for application delivery, analyzing and processing massive data sets, extending capabilities, and enabling communication amongst enterprises. An organization is responsible for the security of their data in the Cloud, whereas the Cloud provider is responsible for the security of the Cloud infrastructure.
Domain: For most, a domain name is the web address at which Internet browsers can locate your website. More technically, a domain name is an identification string that establishes a boundary to define the domain name owner’s realm of autonomy, authority, or control within the Internet.
Encryption: The methodologies and processes leveraged with the intent of making sensitive data (i.e. e-mails, passwords, files/ folders etc.) more secure and prevent its availability if intercepted are known as encryption. Depending on the particular need, different encryption strategies/ types should be used.
Endpoint: Endpoints, such as desktops and laptops, servers, smart phones, IoT devices, tablets, and workstations, are remote devices that connect back to a network. Because they have the ability to communicate back-and-forth with that network, endpoints represent points of entry for malicious actors and should be constantly monitored for vulnerabilities.
Exploit: A computer exploit is the method by which a cybercriminal attacks a device or system to take advantage of a vulnerability. Processes, workflows, or software such as exploit kits, are used to target a specific vulnerability to gain unauthorized access and enable the hacker’s malicious activity. When new vulnerabilities are discovered, hackers try to develop exploits to take advantage of them.
Firewall: When protection from unauthorized access of a third party to a private network is needed, firewalls can be used. Firewalls use predetermined and/ or custom security rules to monitor and control incoming/outbound network traffic. They’re typically deployed to establish a barrier between a trusted internal network and an external network but can also be installed to prevent access to isolated internal networks.
Malware: Malware, or malicious software, is the term used to describe programs or code that are intentionally designed to invade, cause damage to, or disable digital devices. Malware is unpredictable, can take on many different forms, and often take over partial or total control over a device’s operations.
Network: An interconnected collection of multiple computers or digital devices, or nodes, is known as a computer network. Computer networks are set up to enable communication between the connected machines with the purpose of sending/ receiving data, media, and other resources. These nodes can be connected physically via cabling (i.e. Ethernet cables) or wirelessly, and they communicate with each other through a set of rules of algorithms known as protocols.
Phishing: Phishing is a form of social engineering. At its most basic level, phishing is fraud conducted over e-mail interaction. Cybercriminals will leverage intentionally designed e-mails in an attempt to disguise themselves as a trustworthy entity and obtain personal and/ or sensitive information. Thousands of phishing attacks are launched every day, and phishing is by far the most common (and successful) strategy used by malicious actors.
Ransomware: Ransomware is a specific type of malware that is designed to prevent access to a computer system or set of data until a ransom is paid. In a way, this is the “hostage situation” of the digital world. Ransomware is most commonly spread via phishing e-mails or as a result of visiting an infected website.
Risk: Cyber risk is the probability of exposure or potential for loss or harm as a result of a cyber-attack or data breach. When calculated, cyber risk should include all conceivable financial loss, disruption to business operations, reputation of the organization, and failure/ recovery of digital assets and technology systems.
Vulnerability: Not all bugs are vulnerabilities, but all vulnerabilities are bugs. The bugs that are vulnerabilities are those that can be taken advantage of by nefarious actors and leveraged to force hardware/ software to behave in ways other than its intended use.
Worm: A computer worm is an autonomous piece of malware that continuously replicates itself to spread to and infect other computers. The first known instance of a computer worm was unleashed by Robert Morris, a graduate student at Cornell University, and the most “famous” computer worm is known as Stuxnet, discovered in 2010.