16 Cyber Security Terms That Everyone Who Uses A Computer Should Know

The topic of cyber security is sweeping the world by storm with some of the largest and most advanced companies in the world falling victim to cyber-attacks in just the last 5 years. Against that backdrop, highly personal and sensitive information such as social security numbers were recently stolen in the Equifax hack, affecting over 145 million people. Unfortunately, as long as computers exist, we are at risk of having our digital data compromised and manipulated. However, living in the digital age is not all that scary – especially if you know what you’re doing.

Understanding how your device works is not as hard as it sounds. If you could nail long division in the 4th grade, then you can learn cyber basics that will get you pretty far in your own personal security as well as your company’s.

Cybint would like to make this learning curve easier for you by providing a list of the 16 most important cyber security terminology that you should know:


1. Cloud

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.


2. Software

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.


3. Domain

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.

Google VPN

4. 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

5. 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).

Computer Exploit

6. Exploit

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

Data Breach

7. Breach

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


8. Firewall

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


9. 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.


10. Virus

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.

WannaCry Ransomware

11. Ransomware

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 Virus

12. Trojan horse

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

Computer Worm

13. Worm

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


14. Bot/Botnet

A 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”.

DDoS Attack

15. DDoS

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).

Spear Phishing

16. 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.

We’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg as far as cyber security terms, but this will get you started. Take the steps now to ensure that you and your business are protected – knowledge is power! Check back with Cybint Solutions for any follow up tips and advice by signing up for our mailing list below.

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Devon Milkovich

Devon brings a sharp marketing mind and can-do approach to Cybint’s marketing initiatives. Prior to joining Cybint, Devon worked on social media and marketing strategies for clients at Startups.com, working with companies in education, fashion, law, accelerator/incubator, medicine, content, and tech.
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