A few cyber security terms that everyone who uses a computer should know


A network is a collection of computers, servers, mainframes, network devices, peripherals, or other devices connected to one another to allow the sharing of data.
An excellent example of a network is the Internet, which connects millions of people all over the world. Below is an example image of a home network with multiple computers and other network devices all connected to each other and the Internet.

Incognito mode

Alternatively referred to as Private Browsing, In Private Browsing, or a Private Window, Incognito mode is an Internet browser setting that prevents browsing  history  from being stored. Normally, when you visit any web page, any text, pictures, and cookies required by the page are stored locally on your computer. Additionally, any searches or forms that are filled out may be stored in auto complete fields. Incognito mode forgets this data when you close the browser window, or doesn’t store it at all.


File Transfer Protocol, the protocol used on the Internet for sending files from one computer to another.


Hypertext Markup Language, one of the authoring languages used to create documents on the World Wide Web.


Hypertext Transfer Protocol, a set of standards that allows web browsers and web servers to exchange data. The “http” part of a web address lets the browser know that the content to follow is HTTP-compatible.


Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s web browser you use to view web pages. IE is a “graphical browser,” which means it can display graphics as well as text. It can also present multimedia information, including sound and video. Other examples of graphical browsers are Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.


Internet Information Services, Microsoft’s software that turns regular Windows servers into web servers. IIS 6.0 is bundled with Windows Server 2003. Because IIS is tightly integrated with the operating system, it is relatively easy to administer.


A global network connecting millions of computers.


Internet Service Provider, a company that provides access to the Internet.


A network within an organization accessible only by the organization’s members, employees, or others with authorization.

IP address

An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination. The format of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. Each number can be zero to 255. An example of an IP address is



An agreed-upon format for transmitting data between two devices. The protocol determines:

  • The type of error checking used.
  • Data compression method (if any).
  • How the sending device indicates it has finished sending a message.
  • How the receiving device indicates it has received a message.





Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a protocol for sending e-mail messages between servers. Most e-mail systems that send mail over the Internet use SMTP to send messages from one server to another.

Ethical hacking

Ethical hacking and ethical hacker are terms used to describe hacking  performed  by a company or individual to help identify potential threats on a computer or network. An ethical hacker attempts to bypass system security and search for any weak points that could be exploited by malicious hackers. This information is then used by the organization to improve the system security, to minimize or eliminate any potential attacks.


A cracker is an individual who can decipher codes and passwords being able to break security systems for illegal reasons. Often this person will use a program or script known as a crack that has been written specifically to do what they’re hoping to achieve.

cyberwarfare, cyberwar

Alternatively referred to as cyberwarfare, cyberwar is a term used to describe a fictional future conflict that takes place in the virtual world, or over the Internet. Below are some examples of what many believe could happen during cyberwar, cyberterror, or a cyberattack.


Cryptography is the practice and study of mathematically manipulating data so that it can be stored and transmitted securely. The act of manipulating this data is called encryption, and the manipulated data is called encrypted. Encrypted data must undergo a reverse process, called decryption, before its original form is revealed. If the encryption method is mathematically sound, the encrypted data may not be decrypted in a reasonable amount of time by anyone who does not have a secret token, called an encryption key. For more information about this process, including practical examples, see our encrypt definition.


A darknet may refer to any of the following:


Darknet is a private P2P file sharing network in which only trusted peers make connections to access the dark web. The sharing is anonymous, as IP addresses are not shared publicly. Darknets are often thought of to be associated with illegal activities or other activities where the users would not want government or other involvements.


Darknet is another name for a network telescope, a system where a person can look at activities on the Internet. More specifically, the activities are traffic that targets any unused (dark) address space on a network, which is typically suspicious. Using a network telescope can help identify if there are any network attacks in progress or being attempted.


The darknet is also a term sometimes used to describe the deep web.

Deep web

The deep web (also referred to as the invisible web, hidden web, or deepnet) is a large section of content on the World Wide Web that isn’t catalogued by standard search engines. Most of the deep web contains harmless information, but it can also foster serious criminal activity. The deep web is quite large; several times the size of the surface web.

Digital signature

Alternatively referred to as digitally signed, a digital signature is a mathematical scheme used to verify the authenticity of a digital document or message. They are used when determining authenticity and avoiding tampering are important, such as in financial transactions.

Digital signatures are often used as a means to implement electronic signatures that are encrypted. These security measures allow for both authentication and non-repudiation (the signer cannot deny signing a document while claiming his/her private key has not been compromised).



Alternatively referred to as earwigging, eavesdropping is a term used to describe the process of listening, monitoring, or examining someone without their permission or knowledge. For example, a user could eavesdrop on someone’s e-mail or chat conversation.


A hackathon is a convention or event typically set up by hardware manufacturers or software companies, but may include other entities, such as a government. These events are created with a specific goal, such as building proper drivers for a specific hardware component, or finding a solution to security vulnerabilities. Sometimes, they are used to design additional features for an existing software platform (e.g., the famous “like” button used in Facebook was conceived at an internal company hackathon).

IP cloaking

IP cloaking is the process of a web server delivering a specific web page based on the visitors IP address. Below are just a few examples of how IP cloaking could be implemented.


In general, the term spoof refers to hacking or deception that imitates another person, software program, hardware device, or computer, with the intentions of bypassing security measures. One of the most commonly known spoofings is IP spoofing.

IP spoofing

A method of bypassing security measures on a network or a way of gaining access to a network by imitating a different IP address. Some security systems have a way of helping to identifying a user by his or her IP address or IP address range. If the attacker spoofs their IP address to match this criteria, it may help bypass security measures. This technique is also used to deceive a web page, poll, or Internet contest into thinking the user is someone else, manipulating the site’s automatically collected data.


Unethical hack

An unethical hack is one that is done without the target of the hack being aware of it. It is often done to break into a network system to steal information or money, and sometimes to cause damage by inserting a virus or malware program. Unethical hacking is against the law, and those who engage in the act are considered cyber criminals


Short for secure sockets layer, SSL is a protocol developed by Netscape and introduced to the public as 2.0 in February 1995. It is used for transmitting private documents and transferring data encrypted, allowing information such as passwords or credit card information to be hidden.


A technology that allows us to access our files and/or services through the internet from anywhere in the world. Technically speaking, it’s a collection of computers with large storage capabilities that remotely serve requests.


A set of programs that tell a computer to perform a task. These instructions are compiled into a package that users can install and use. For example, Microsoft Office is an application software.


A group of computers, printers and devices that are interconnected and governed as a whole. For example, your computer is usually part of a domain at your workplace.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A tool that allows the user to remain anonymous while using the internet by masking the location and encrypting traffic.

IP Address

An internet version of a home address for your computer, which is identified when it communicates over a network; For example, connecting to the internet (a network of networks).


A malicious application or script that can be used to take advantage of a computer’s vulnerability.


The moment a hacker successfully exploits a vulnerability in a computer or device, and gains access to its files and network.


A defensive technology designed to keep the bad guys out. Firewalls can be hardware or software-based.

Malware “the bad guy”

An umbrella term that describes all forms of malicious software designed to wreak havoc on a computer. Common forms include: viruses, trojans, worms and ransomware.


A type of malware aimed to corrupt, erase or modify information on a computer before spreading to others. However, in more recent years, viruses like Stuxnet  have caused physical damage.


A form of malware that deliberately prevents you from accessing files on your computer – holding your data hostage. It will typically encrypt files and request that a ransom be paid in order to have them decrypted or recovered. For example, WannaCry Ransomware. For more information on Ransomware, check out our free Ransomware Guide.

Trojan horse

A piece of malware that often allows a hacker to gain remote access to a computer through a “back door”.


A piece of malware that can replicate itself in order to spread the infection to other connected computers.


type of software application or script that performs tasks on command, allowing an attacker to take complete control remotely of an affected computer. A collection of these infected computers is known as a “botnet” and is controlled by the hacker or “bot-herder”.


An acronym that stands for distributed denial of service – a form of cyber attack. This attack aims to make a service such as a website unusable by “flooding” it with malicious traffic or data from multiple sources (often botnets).

Phishing or Spear Phishing

A technique used by hackers to obtain sensitive information. For example, using hand-crafted email messages designed to trick people into divulging personal or confidential data such as passwords and bank account information.



Is a Person who tries and exploits a computer system for a reason which can be money, a social cause, fun etc.


Is an action or event that might compromise the security.




It is a weakness, a design problem or implementation error in a system that can lead to an unexpected and undesirable event regarding security system.



Is an assault on the system security that is delivered by a person or a machine to a system. It violates security.


Antivirus or Antimalware

It is a software that operates on different OS which is used to prevent from malicious software.


Social Engineering

Is a technique that a hacker uses to stole data by a person for different for purposes by psychological manipulation combined with social scenes.



It is a malicious software that installs on your computer without your consent for a bad purpose.



It is a software or hardware which is used to filter network traffic based on rules.