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Cybersecurity Terms: A Guide to Common Industry Jargon

Posted: Jun 2024

Feeling overwhelmed by cybersecurity terms and jargon? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The digital world offers endless convenience, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Cybersecurity, the practice of protecting information systems and data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction, is more important than ever.

Deciphering the world of cybersecurity can feel overwhelming.

This guide breaks down some common cybersecurity terms you might encounter:

  • Malware: This is malicious software that can harm your device or steal your data. Examples include viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Phishing: Imagine an imposter trying to fish for your information! Phishing emails or messages try to trick you into clicking on malicious links or attachments that can steal your passwords or infect your device.
  • Password: Your first line of defense! A strong password should be a unique combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and should be changed regularly.
  • Firewall: Think of it as a wall protecting your castle (your device) from unwanted visitors. A firewall monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic, blocking suspicious activity.
  • Encryption: Imagine scrambling a message so only the intended recipient can understand it. Encryption protects your data by making it unreadable to anyone without the decryption key.
  • Two-factor Authentication (2FA): An extra layer of security beyond just your password. 2FA requires a second verification step, like a code sent to your phone, to access an account.
  • Vulnerability: This is a weakness in a computer system, network, or software that can be exploited by attackers. Regularly updating software is crucial to patch these vulnerabilities.
  • Data Breach: A data breach occurs when sensitive information like personal details or financial data is accessed by unauthorized individuals.
  • Incident Response (IR): Refers to the process an organization follows when a security breach or cyberattack occurs. It’s essentially a plan of action to identify, contain, eradicate, and recover from the incident.
  • Threat Actor: Commonly referred to as a “hacker”, a threat actor is any individual or group that poses a potential threat to a computer system, network, or data. They can be motivated by a variety of reasons, including financial gain, ideological beliefs, or simply causing disruption.

Additional cybersecurity terms and tips to consider.

By understanding these basic cybersecurity terms, you can become a more informed and secure digital citizen. Here are some additional tips:

  • Be cautious with links and attachments: Don’t click on suspicious links or open attachments from unknown senders.
  • Use strong and unique passwords: Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
  • Enable 2FA whenever possible: This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts.
  • Keep your software updated: Regular updates often include security patches to fix vulnerabilities.
  • Be wary of free Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks can be less secure. Avoid accessing sensitive information on public Wi-Fi.
  • Interested in learning more about IT Terminology? Here is a resource to tech terms for beginners published by CompTIA.

Follow these tips and familiarize yourself with common cybersecurity terms, in order to take control of your online safety and protect yourself from cyber threats. Remember, everyone plays a role in creating a safer digital world!

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