More Cybersecurity Terms You Should Know

Following up on the previous post on KEY CYBERSECURITY TERMS, below you will find even more cybersecurity terms that you should know.

Domain – A series of computers and associated peripherals (routers, printers, scanners), that are all connected as one entity.

Encryption – Coding used to protect your information from hackers. Think of it like the code cipher used to send a top-secret coded spy message.

Exploit – A means of attack on a computer system, either a series of commands, malicious software, or piece of infected data. Note that in this context, “exploit” is a noun, not a verb, as in “The hacker used a malware exploit to gain access to the credit card’s server.”

Firewall – Any technology, be it software or hardware, used to keep intruders out.

Hacker, Black Hat – Any hacker who attempts to gain unauthorized access to a system with the intent to cause mischief, damage, or theft. They can be motivated by greed, a political agenda, or simply boredom.

Hacker, White Hat – A hacker who is invited to test out computer systems and servers, looking for vulnerabilities, for the purposes of informing the host of where security needs to be buffed up. They are benign hackers, personifying the old axiom “It takes a thief to catch a thief”. Sometimes called “ethical hackers”.

Malware – A portmanteau of “malicious” and “software”, describing a wide variety of bad software used to infect and/or damage a system. Ransomware, worms, viruses, and trojans are all considered malware. It most often delivered via spam emails.


Man in the Middle Attack – An attack on the “middleman”, in this case, defined as the Wi-Fi system that connects users to the Internet. Hackers who commit Man in the Middle Attacks can break the Wi-Fi’s encryption and use this as a means of stealing your personal data because they’re now in the system.

Spoofing – Sadly, this has nothing to do with Weird Al Yankovic doing a parody version of a popular song. Rather, it’s when a hacker changes the IP address of an email so that it seems to come from a trusted source.

Trojan Horse – Yet another form of malware, this one a misleading computer program that looks innocent, but in fact allows the hacker into your system via a back door, allowing them to control your computer.

Virus – Malware which changes, corrupts, or destroys information, and is then passed on to other systems, usually by otherwise benign means (e.g. sending an email). In some cases, a virus can actually cause physical damage.

VPN – An acronym standing for Virtual Private Network, a VPN is a method of connecting a series of computers and devices in a private encrypted network, with each user’s IP address being replaced by the VPN’s IP address. Users get Internet anonymity, making it difficult for hackers to attack.

Worm – Malware that can reproduce itself for the purposes of spreading itself to other computers in the network. Particularly nasty, worms can either be simply a means of slowing down a system by eating up resources, or by committing exploits such as installing back doors or stealing data.

Next Steps For You

Now that you’ve been brought up to speed with this list of popular terms, the next step is to sharpen your cybersecurity skills, either for upskilling or with the idea of starting a new career. Babbage Simmel’s Comprehensive NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NCSF) Training & CompTIA CySA+ Cybersecurity Analyst Certification Cybersecurity training options will equip you with the skills needed to become an expert in this rapidly growing field. You will learn comprehensive approaches to protecting your infrastructure, including securing data and information, running risk analysis and mitigation, architecting cloud-based security, achieving compliance and much much more.

Questions about Cybersecurity?  Get in touch!