Glossary: A -TEISS: Cracking Cyber Security

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Glossary: A

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Access The ability to examine and/or manipulate data and information; an essential part of cyber security. See CIA
Access control The selective restriction of access to a file, a website or a network in order to manage who can do what with it; access may be defined (and controlled) in various ways, for instance some people may be able to read a document, others to read and edit it, and others to read, edit and share it
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. And if you gather enough of it, adware slows down your computer significantly. Over time, performance can be so degraded that you may have trouble working productively. See also Spyware and Malware.
Anomaly based detection A technology for detecting threats in a network that works by establishing “baseline” behaviour over a period of time and then flagging up unusual behaviour that should be investigated, e.g. an authorised user logging on at an unusual time or accessing a strange part of the network
Anonymising proxy A server that acts as an intermediary between your computer and your online activity (e.g. website visits), giving you privacy by hiding your computer’s IP address
Anti-spoofing A technique designed to protect against DDoS (qv) attacks where the hackers are “spoofing” (qv) IP addresses as a way of causing the website’s server difficulty; the technique enables the server to identify the spoofed IP addresses as non-existent and block them
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.
APT Advanced Persistent Threat. A combination of hidden and continuous (i.e. “persistent”) hacking techniques that target a specific entity such as a large company or a government organization over a period of time; usually sponsored by a large organization such as a government
Asset In cyber security, an item of value that cyber security is designed to protect. This can among other things be a piece of information, a set of data, some money, the reputation of an organisation, or an individual computer or factory machine
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.
Attack A generalized term for a malicious act against an online asset or a malicious act against an individual or organisation using digital techniques such as malware (qv) or spoofing (qv)
Attack signature A unique piece of information such as a string of characters in a piece of computer code that identified a particular method of attack such as an individual virus (qv)
Attack surface The total set of the different ways that someone can attack an IT system in order to cause damage
Attack vectors Path or means by which a hacker (or cracker) can gain access to a computer/network server in order to deliver a payload or malicious outcome. An attack vector that relies heavily on tricking humans into breaking normal security procedures is Social Engineering (qv)
Authentic Information or “meta information” such as its ownership or crea­tion that is true. See Authentication
Authentication Confirming the correctness of the claimed identity of an individual user, machine, software component or any other entity.
Authorisation The approval, permission or empowerment for someone or something to do something.

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