Cybersecurity Glossary

Cybersecurity Glossary
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Adware: Any software application that displays advertising banners while the program is running. Adware often includes code that tracks a user’s personal information and passes it on to third parties without the user’s authorization or knowledge. Adware can slow down your computer significantly. Over time, performance can be so degraded that a user may have trouble working productively. See also Spyware and Malware.

Anti-Virus Software: Software designed to detect and potentially eliminate viruses before they have had a chance to wreak havoc within the system. Anti-virus software can also repair or quarantine files that have already been infected by virus activity. See also Virus and Electronic Infections.

Application: Software that performs automated functions for a user, such as word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, presentations, and databases—as opposed to operating system (OS) software.

Attachment: A file that has been added to an email—often an image or document. It could be something useful to you or something harmful to your computer. See also Virus.

Authentication: Confirming the correctness of the claimed identity of an individual user, machine, software component, or any other entity.

Authorization: The approval, permission, or empowerment for someone or something to do something.

Backdoor: Hidden software or hardware mechanism used to circumvent security controls.

Backup: File copies that are saved as protection against loss, damage, or unavailability of the primary data. Saving methods include high-capacity tape, separate disk sub-systems, or on the Internet. Off-site backup storage is ideal, sufficiently far away to reduce the risk of environmental damage such as flood, which might destroy both the primary and the backup if kept nearby.

Bandwidth: The capacity of a communication channel to pass data such as text, images, video, or sound through the channel in a given amount of time. Bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps).

Blacklisting Software: A form of filtering that blocks only websites specified as harmful. Parents and employers sometimes use such software to prevent children and employees from visiting certain websites. You can add and remove sites from the "not permitted" list. This method of filtering allows for more full use of the Internet, but is less efficient at preventing access to any harmful material that is not on the list. See also Whitelisting Software.

Blended Threat: A computer network attack that seeks to maximize the severity of damage and speed of contagion by combining methods—for example, using characteristics of both viruses and worms. See also Electronic Infection.

Broadband: General term used to refer to high-speed network connections such as cable modem and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). These types of "always on" Internet connections are more susceptible to some security threats than computers that access the Web via dial-up service.

Browser: A client software program that can retrieve and display information from servers on the World Wide Web. Often known as a "Web browser" or "Internet browser,"  examples include Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari, and Mozilla's Firefox.

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