Exploring 10 Essential Cybersecurity Terms to Know

Cybersecurity Terms to Know Padlock
Tech Talk: Cybersecurity

Both in the business world and at home, cybersecurity awareness is becoming an increasing necessity. We frequently get asked questions such as these: What is safe to click? What antivirus should I have? Is my firewall sufficient? What about VPN software? These are all great questions. However, to navigate this complex realm and safeguard your business, understanding some of the lingo will serve you well.

In this article, we’ll dissect ten vital cybersecurity terms to know, offering insights into what they mean, why hackers use them, and how you can stay protected.

10 Essential Cybersecurity Terms to Know


Contrary to what Hollywood movies depict, hackers aren’t always tech wizards hunched over a computer, cracking codes in darkened rooms. In reality, a hacker is someone who exploits system vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to data. Hackers target businesses to steal valuable data, disrupt operations, or even commit cyber espionage. Being aware of the potential threat is the first step towards building an effective defense strategy.


A computer virus is a malicious code designed to spread from one system to another, much like its biological namesake. It attaches itself to clean files, infecting them in the process. Hackers deploy viruses to corrupt data, gain control of systems, or create botnets. Implementing robust antivirus solutions and practicing safe online habits can help protect your business from viruses.

Trojan Horse

This cybersecurity term which draws it’s name from the classic story you may know from Greek mythology. A Trojan horse in the cyber realm is a type of malware disguised as a harmless file or software. Users are tricked into downloading and executing it on their systems. Unlike viruses, Trojans don’t replicate but pave the way for hackers to access and control the infected systems remotely. A reliable cybersecurity solution can help identify and eliminate such threats.


Malware, or “malicious software,” is an umbrella cybersecurity term encompassing various harmful software types, including viruses, worms, Trojans, and ransomware. Hackers deploy malware to achieve different malicious goals, ranging from stealing sensitive data to demanding ransoms. Regular system scans and keeping software updated can help keep malware at bay.


Phishing attacks involve sending deceptive emails pretending to be from reputable organizations to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information like login credentials or credit card numbers. With advancements in technology, these attacks have become sophisticated and harder to spot. Phishing is a common threat and this is a cybersecurity term to know for everyone on your team. Educating everyone in your office on how to identify phishing attempts will significantly reduce the risk. 

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a tactic used by hackers to manipulate individuals into revealing confidential information. It often involves tricking people into breaking standard security procedures. In the age of social media, hackers can easily exploit the wealth of publicly available information to make their deception more convincing.


Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files, with the hacker then demanding a ransom to restore access. Ransomware attacks can cause significant business disruption and financial loss. Employing a robust data backup strategy, keeping software up-to-date, and promoting awareness among employees are key steps to prevent ransomware attacks.


A botnet is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. Hackers use botnets to carry out various malicious activities, including DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, email spamming, and fraudulent clicks. Now that you are familiar with this cybersecurity terms to know, protect your computers from becoming part of a botnet it by having reputable antivirus software in place and maintaining up-to-date systems. 

Zero-Day Vulnerability

A zero-day vulnerability refers to a software security flaw unknown to those who should fix it, like the vendor who created the software. Hackers exploit these vulnerabilities before the vendor becomes aware and issues a patch. Zero-days are prized by hackers because they mean the software lacks a fix for the vulnerability, leaving systems open to exploitation. Regular patch management and a proactive cybersecurity strategy can help protect against such threats.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a cybersecurity term you (hopefully) already know as it has become a common requirement for many software platforms. 2FA is an additional layer of security requiring users to provide two types of identification before accessing their accounts. It significantly reduces the risk of successful phishing attempts, as the hacker is unlikely to have the second authentication factor. Implementing 2FA across your business systems is a small step that can provide significant security benefits.

Armed with this information, are you ready for the unexpected?

Concerned about cybersecurity threats?

Contact us today to fortify your defenses!

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