Glossary of Security Terms

This glossary has been created to assist security professionals in defining security terms commonly used by the profession and the industry, worldwide. It is a developing list that will be maintained, and where appropriate, modified, and changed over time.

Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) is used by the IP protocol in order to map IP network addresses to hardware devices.

Algorithm is a finite sequence of instructions for solving a particular issue or problem in math or computing.

Asymmetric Cryptography is also known as public key cryptography. It uses two different encryption keys to encrypt and decrypt data.

BIND stands for Berkeley Internet Name Domain. It is a DNS (domain name server) implementation.

Brute Force is an attack technique that tries every single possibility one at a time.

COPS Computer Oracle and Password System is a system designed to check a computer system an for security holes, but will not prevent attacks or protect against needing hard drive recovery.

Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) is a protocol that uses varying challenges and responses to prevent attacks.

Daemon a program that starts up with the system and continues running without interference from users on the system.

Defacement refers to the vandalism of a website, changes that are made to the way the website looks without the owner's knowledge.

Encryption changing the way data appears so it cannot be viewed or used.

Escrow Passwords passwords that are kept in a safe and away from users, for use in the event that the people who are aware of the passwords are unavailable and the passwords are needed.

Flooding an attack that causes a computer system to fail.

Fork Bomb uses the fork() to make copies of a process until all available system processes are taken.

GNU is a project that allows for the source code to be copied, altered and distributed freely.

Gnutella is a server and file sharing peer-to-peer program.

Heuristics are things that assist with learning and problem solving.

Honeymonkey is a completely automated system that is designed to mimic a user browsing the web.

Inetd (xinetd) is an Internet Daemon that controls small applications

Information Warfare is a competition for information resources.

IP Spoofing is providing a fake IP address.

Jitter is the modification of database fields while continuing to preserve the facts about the database that make it important.

Jump Bag contains the tools that are needed to make repairs.

Kerberos is a system that relies on passwords and cryptography to employ peer entity authentication service.

Kernel the center of the operating system that provides support to the entire network.

Legion is software that used to detect unprotected areas of a network.

Loopback Address is a “pseudo” IP address that is never sent to the network.

MAC Address is a numeric value assigned to all hardware so as to be able to identify them on the network.

Malware is a collective term that identifies all malicious computer code—viruses, adware, spyware, etc.

Netmask is a number used to indicate the range of IP address on a network.

Null Session is also known as “Anonymous Logon” that allows access to usernames and accounts without authenticating that particular user.

OSI refers to Open Systems Interconnection. It serves as a reference for how messages should be sent and received across the network.

Overload happens when too much is placed on a system component and it can no longer perform as it should.

Phreaking a term used describe those who are extremely interested in studying and tampering with phone systems. The term comes from the word “phone” and the word “freak.”

Phishing is a technique that involves creating emails or other messages that appear to be trustworthy and are not so for the purpose of obtaining information.

QAZ is a network worm.

Registry is where the central information required to run the application is.

Request for Comment (RFC) is a collection of notes about the Internet beginning with ARPANet in the '60s.

SPAM is unsolicited junk mail.

Secure Shell (SSH) is a program used to logon to another computer to move files around and execute programs across a network.

Threat Vector is the chosen tactic that one machine uses to attack another.

Token Ring refers to a local area network where all computers are connected in a star.

UDP Scan is used to determine the UDP ports that are open on a network.

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is a user data protocol like TCP running on top of IP networks.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a restricted use computer network.

Vulnerability is a flaw in the network system design that may leave it susceptible to attack.

War Chalking marking areas where wireless access can be reached.

War Dialer is a program that automatically dials telephone numbers to see what is connected where.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is a protocol for the security of wireless networks.