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Cybersecurity Terms You Should Know

When talking about cybersecurity, it's important to understand the language. Encryption, firewall, malware — what do they all mean?

Cloud computing: a technology that uses the Internet and remote servers to maintain data and applications, allowing users to access applications without installation and access to their personal files from any computer

Encryption: the conversion of digital information into a format unreadable to anyone except those possessing a password or key to convert the encrypted information to its original form (decryption), making it readable again

Firewall: software or hardware that, after checking information coming into a computer from the Internet or an external network, either blocks the transmission or allows it to pass through

Keylogging: the action of tracking (or logging) the keys struck on a computer keyboard; usually runs hidden in the background and automatically records all keystrokes so that users remain unaware of its presence and the monitoring of their actions

Malware: short for malicious software, which disrupts or damages a computer’s operation, gathers sensitive or private information, or gains access to private computer systems

  • Virus — has a reproductive capacity to transfer itself from one computer to another, spreading infections between online devices
  • Worm — replicates itself over and over within a computer
  • Trojan — gives an unauthorized user access to a computer
  • Spyware — quietly sends information about a user’s browsing and computing habits back to a server that gathers and saves data
  • Adware — allows pop-up ads on a computer system, ultimately taking over a user’s Internet browsing

Phishing: sending e-mails that attempt to fraudulently acquire personal information, such as usernames, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity

Spam: the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages

For any additional information please contact the TAC at 231-591-4822.