Security and IT glossary


Access control

A technique to restrict access to authorized users only

Access management

The framework for validating, authorizing, maintaining, monitoring, and revoking accesses

Access point

A device for bridging two networks

Account brokering

Inputs credentials into systems, websites, end servers, and applications without revealing those credentials to the user

Active Directory

A directory service created by Microsoft; a database of resources

Activity monitors

Tools that detect and monitor unauthorized/malicious activities on a system

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

A standardized, symmetric encryption algorithm for protecting sensitive data

Audit trail

A sequential record of operational events


The action or process of validating an identity, usually that of a user or process requesting access


The action or process (often succeeding authentication) of granting access or empowering a user or process to do something


The quality of data being available to authorized users, especially when the data is most vulnerable (e.g. during a power outage, hardware failure, or cyberattack)



A hidden access for circumventing security mechanisms (such as authentication)


Biological characteristics used to identify an individual; in computer science, biometrics can be used during authentication

Blue team

An IT security team that establishes, maintains, and proactively defends an organization's security posture


Cloud computing

A method of storing and accessing various resources in a remote data center via the Internet (versus storing and accessing resources self-hosted)

A small piece of data, which a web server may leave on a user's web browser, that can be retrieved during a future browsing session to identify the user


A deleterious error in computing (sometimes maliciously generated) that alters data

Cost benefit analysis

(in cybersecurity) the systematic process of comparing the pros and cons of a security investment

Credential brokering

(in Remote Desktop Manager) lets a user check out credentials for a session from RDM directly on the entry itself

Credential injection

(in session management) the secure, direct input of credentials into a remote session without revealing them to the user


Malware used to perpetrate financial crimes


The quality of being compatible with many (at least two) computing platforms


Data Encryption Standard (DES)

A symmetric encryption algorithm, fundamental in the development of cryptography; as a standard, DES was made obsolete in 2005 and superseded by AES, but is still widely used

Data mining

Evaluating patterns, relationships, and anomalies in data to produce new data


A collection of data stored electronically


(in software) the purpose for which a program or program exists (on the Internet) a group of addresses in a network

Domain hijacking

Attacking a domain by taking control of its DNS server and changing the domain's registration

Domain name

A unique address that identifies the location, host server, and purpose of an organization or other entity

Domain Name System (DNS)

The Internet's system for translating an alphabetic domain name into a numeric IP address



The conversion of plaintext into ciphertext to safeguard the confidentiality of data during storage or transfer


File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

The standard for transferring files over a network


A software or hardware filter that monitors, controls, and restricts incoming and outbound traffic; a network barrier that prevents unauthorized access


The dispersed storage of data, as opposed to contiguous storage



A node (entrance) in a network to connect multiple networks



The process of increasing security and minimizing vulnerabilities in a system

Help desk technicians

Professionals who provide technical support in software, hardware, and computer systems

Honey pot

A decoy system used to attract cybercriminals, detect their attacks, and study their methods

HTTP Proxy

A filter for requests between a user and a server; this filter alters the details of requests to increase the anonymity of the user, and prevents unauthorized data from being downloaded on the user's end or uploaded/deleted on the server's end


HTTP encrypted with SSL/TLS protocol to ensure the secure transfer of data over a network

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

A standard markup language for formatting content displayed on the Web

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

A protocol enabling users to request hypertext documents from a server, and for the server to answer those requests



Digital information representing a physical or abstract entity, such as a person, device, organization, or application

Identity and Access Management (IAM)

A system for authenticating and empowering users or non-human identities to seamlessly access the resources necessary to carry out their responsibilities according to the principle of least privilege


A disruptive event in a software or hardware system due to an operational failure or security compromise

Incremental backup

A copy of data that is only made if the data has been alternated since the last backup

IP address

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique 32-bit integer identifying a hardware device that connects to a network

IT Asset Management (ITAM)

The administration (often offered as a service) of software, hardware, and cloud resources to ensure compliance, monitor usage, maintain proper licensing, and support other IT functions, all according to ISO 19770 standards

IT professional

An individual having the skills, knowledge, and education to execute one or more of the following activities for an organization:

  • maintain, manage, and secure systems and databases
  • create and develop software and applications
  • test, build, install, and maintain software, hardware, network systems, and IT infrastructure
  • provide technical support

Least privilege

The principle of granting users only the amount of access needed to carry out their responsibilities

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

An open protocol for authentication and access to a central directory

Login attempt

An incorrect entry of credentials, often signalizing suspicious activity


MAC address

A unique 48-bit (sometimes 64-bit) hexadecimal address identifying a hardware device by its network interface controller (NIC)


Malicious software; a generic term for software designed to execute harmful and/or disruptive attacks on a server, network, or computer

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

A specialized Managed Service Provider (MSP) that remotely manages and monitors the cybersecurity systems of its clients

Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

An outsourced third-party organization that remotely manages the IT systems of its clients

Mandatory Access Control (MAC)

Access privilege to sensitive resources, classed by labeled clearance levels, regulated by administrators of an operating system


Network Access Translation (NAT)

The consolidation of multiple private IP address on a network into a single publicly routed IP address

Network mapping

A visual representation (“map”) of connections on a network

Network-Based Intrusion Detection System (NIDS)

A system that audits traffic on a network to detect malicious activity

Null session

Connecting to a network anonymously (without credentials) to inspect resources, possibly to gather data for malicious purposes



An eight-bit byte

Off-site servers

Data stored remotely

Offline access

The ability to access data without being connected to the source

On-site servers

Data stored on-site

One-way encryption

Encrypting plaintext into cipher text and storing the text scrambled, which cannot be unscrambled even if the cipher key is known; the only way to make a match between the plaintext and cipher text is by guessing

Open Shortest Path First (OSPF)

A protocol for routing packets: draws paths from link state information, evaluates obstacles, and determines which path is the shortest to route the packet by

Open Systems Interconnection (OSI)

A conceptual model, comprising seven abstraction layers, for developing telecommunication systems; developing a system after this model helps support the system's compatibility with other systems



A section of data that has been divided into several pieces for easier transfer, and which is later reassembled with its counterparts to form a whole

Packet switched network

A communications network allowing packets to be routed separately to a single destination

Password Authentication Protocol (PAP)

A method of authenticating plaintext credential, considered vulnerable when used in Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) connections

Password cracking

The act or process of ascertaining a password by various means

Password management

The process of storing and accessing credentials securely

Password manager

A software application for vaulting, managing, governing, and sharing credentials and other sensitive data in an encrypted database

Password sniffing

Harvesting passwords by means of software that scans traffic on a network

Password vault

A digital repository for securely storing credentials in password managers and privileged access management (PAM) systems

Penetration testing

Ethically attacking an organization's security posture to identify vulnerabilities

Personal firewalls

Firewalls installed on a personal computer (PC)


A scam campaign which deceives a victim into disclosing sensitive information in response to an email crafted to appear trustworthy

Ping of death

A cyberattack in which the attacker sends a malicious packet of data intended to cause a computer failure

Ping scan

A type of digital echolocation method of detecting hosts on a network


Unencrypted or decrypted alphanumeric words and messages

Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)

A protocol for linking two systems together directly

Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)

A protocol for establishing a virtual private network (VPN) as an extension of a network

Privileged access

The authority to make administrative or elevated changes to a network or computer, and to see sensitive information

Privileged Access Management (PAM)

Securing, controlling, managing, and monitoring privileged access to critical assets in a database, PAM system, or other system

Privileged session

A temporary privileged access to critical assets

Privileged Session Manager (PSM)

A PAM tool for controlling, managing, and monitoring sessions in which critical assets in a database, PAM system, or other system are accessed


A formally standardized or widely accepted set of rules or procedures for formatting, exchanging, and transmitting data between devices

Proxy server

A system that intermediates between a client and a server as a protection layer

Public key encryption

Uses a pair of cryptographic keys, a public and private key: either the key used to encrypt the data is public, and the key used to decrypt the data is private, or vice versa



Malware designed to hold sensitive data or a system “ransom” in exchange for money

Remote connection management

Organizing and securely sharing remote connections among users

Remote control

A remote access to a computer system to support its functions

Remote desktop

A remote connection to a computer system to work with it

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

A network communications protocol owned and developed by Microsoft

Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM)

A service offered by MSPs (managed IT services providers) that employs a discreet identifying agent to transmit information from a client’s endpoint back to the MSP and run remotely conducted activities such as network and device health monitoring and automated maintenance

Remote monitoring

Remotely supervising network traffic, usually with tools programmed to detect and collect specific data

Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP)

A protocol that a computer or device can use to determine its own IP address

Reverse engineering

(in computing) analyzing completed code to understand how each portion contributes to the final script, the form and function of the product, system, or application


Any factor that exposes software, hardware, systems, networks, or any organizational infrastructure to harm or loss, either malicious or accidental

Risk assessment

(often used in decision-making) an evaluation of risks and viable solutions to mitigate those risks

Role based access control

A hierarchy of permissions determining how much or how little a user can do according to their role (function) in an organization

Role management

Assigning roles to users according to their function in an organization


Secure Shell (SSH)

A protocol employing cryptographic techniques to establish a secure connection between a client and a server

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Software, hardware, and/or services that collect, monitor, and analyze events and security-related data in real time across multiple systems in order to detect threats and vulnerabilities

Security policy

A document that outlines an organization's security practices


Administrating a personal server to host and run applications or websites

Sensitive information

A broad term for any data that must be safeguarded from unauthorized access


A computer or system that listens for client requests and responds with a service


A temporary connection between two computers or systems wherein they exchange information

Session key

A temporary cryptographic key for accessing and protecting a session


The interface for a user to interact with an operating system


An algorithm embedded into a message for validating its authenticity

Single Sign-On (SSO)

A method of accessing multiple resources with only one set of credentials

Social engineering

Manipulating a person or group of people through social and psychological interplay, exploiting empathy, curiosity, and other human weaknesses to achieve an unethical end


Instructions (stored and executed by hardware) for running tasks on and operating a computer

Software Change and Configuration Management (SCCM)

Tools and processes used in software development and IT operations to track, test, and control changes to software


Unwarranted electronic messages, often sent in bulk

SQL injection

Inserting malicious SQL code into queries destined for a backend database to alter, expose, or retrieve data in that database

Static routing

A predefined, unchanging route for network communication


A cross-platform protocol for sending messages (logs) to a server

System Administrator (Sysadmin)

An IT professional who manages computer systems



A protocol for interfacing terminal devices and process, and to facilitate terminal-terminal communication, and process-process communication


An action or situation that exposes an information system to harm

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

A communication standard for establishing and maintaining a two-way delivery stream of octets between two endpoints on a shared network

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

A set of communication protocols, often built into computers, for transmitting data across the Internet and other networks

Trojan horse

Well-disguised malware that appears legitimate


A private network route for transferring encapsulated data packets across a network

Two-Factor Authentication

Verifying credentials in two steps or layers for added security



A person who operates a computer or network system outside of its development

User contingency plan

A pre-determined strategy for operating and supporting IT systems when those systems become unavailable

User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

A standardized method for delivering time-sensitive data over a network without establishing a connection between two hosts



A digital location for securely storing sensitive data

Virtual Machine (VM)

An emulation of a computer system, created by a physical computer system, run by software rather than hardware

Virtual Network Computing (VNC)

A remote connection between two computers over a network allowing one computer to control the other with a graphic interface visualizing mouse and keyboard inputs

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

An encrypted private connection on a public network


Infectious malware which can replicate itself and execute its code into legitimate programs

Voice firewall

A voice network filter that monitors, controls, and restricts dialled calls deemed fraudulent


Web of Trust (WOT)

(in cryptography) an informal network of human participants connected by either direct or indirect trust to authenticate one another's identities and endorse their cryptographic keys

Web server

A hardware and software system that listens for client requests and responds with a service using HTTP over the Internet


(during data transfer) when a receiving system alerts the sending system that the capacity (window size) for processing data has been reached


Software for Windows that stores and analyzes information about packets passing through a network


Eavesdropping on telephone or Internet communications either for malicious purposes or criminal investigation


Infectious malware which can replicate itself and operate independently


Zero day

A new or recently discovered security vulnerability in a computer system or program

Zero trust principle

A fundamental security concept which proposes that no person or computer should be trusted without authentication

Zero-day attack

A cyberattack on a security vulnerability that is discovered by the attacker before the developer of the system or program

Zero-knowledge encryption

An encryption process in which the service provider never has access to the user's unencrypted data; the server stores only the user's encrypted data, and at no time has access to the encryption key or unencrypted data: only the user who has the key can decrypt the data