Understanding online security terminology will enable you to better grasp new identity theft prevention tactics as they emerge. Scroll through this brief glossary of information security terms to learn some of the basic language.
Authentication: A security measure designed to verify the identity of a transmission, user, user device, entity, or data.
Back Door: Hidden software or hardware mechanism used to get around security controls.
Card skimmers: A means of electronically capturing information from credit or debit card readers, such as ATMs
Data Driven Attack: Malicious code that is embedded in seemingly safe data to break through firewalls
Dictionary Attack: A decryption method that successively tries all similar words in a lengthy list
Firewall: Hardware or software that permits only authorized users to enter, and logs attempted intrusions
Flooding: Insertion of a large volume of data that results in service denial
Hacker: An individual who attempts to gain unauthorized access to an information system
Malicious Code: Any type of software capable of performing an unauthorized process on an information system
Mobile Code: Software modules obtained from remote systems, transferred across a network, then downloaded and executed on a local system without the recipient's knowledge
Packet: A data block that transmits the identities of the sending and receiving stations, error-control information, and message
Pharming: A practice in which malicious code, such as a virus or other form of malware, redirects users from a legitimate website to a fraudulent one without their knowledge
Phishing: Impersonating a legitimate entity to illegally acquire information via email, phone calls, voice-mail, or text messaging
Proxy: Software agent that performs a function on behalf of another application or system while hiding the details involved
Replicator: Program that acts to produce copies of itself, such as a worm or virus
Retro-virus: Virus that waits until all backup media is infected to prevent system from restoring
Rootkit: Trojan Horse software that captures passwords and message traffic to and from a computer
Smurfing: Software that sends a large amount of repetitive information to your computer with the purpose of shutting down a home or business network
Spoofing: Impersonating another person or computer, usually by providing a false email name, URL, domain name server, or IP address
Spyware: Software that collects information without the user's informed consent
Virus: Self-replicating, malicious code that attaches itself to an application program or other executable system component and leaves no obvious signs of its presence
Worm: An independent program that replicates across network connections, clogging networks as it spreads
Source: National Cyber Security Alliance
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