Online Security Glossary

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Online security glossary of common terms used in VPN, Antivirus, Password Manager, and Cloud Storage 

The IT world contains a lot of overwhelming technical terms, jargon, and abbreviations. Here’s a glossary explaining the most useful terms used in VPN, Antivirus, Password Manager, and Cloud Storage and their definitions for beginners.

Antivirus 

Antivirus is a kind of program that searches, prevents, detects, and removes computer viruses. Once installed, the antivirus software programs run in the background to protect your computer against viruses automatically.

These programs are important for your computer because they protect its files and hardware against Trojans, worms, and spyware.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Asymmetric Encryption 

Asymmetric encryption is a type of encryption that encrypts and decrypts data using two distinct but mathematically related keys. The public key encrypts data, while the private key decrypts it. As a result, it is also referred to as public-key encryption, public-key cryptography, and asymmetric key encryption.

The term relates to VPN.

Autofill 

Autofill is a feature provided by password managers and web browsers to reduce the time spent filling out boxes on login screens and online forms. When you first enter your login credentials or fill out a form, this feature will prompt you to save the information to either the browser's cache or the password manager's vault, so that the program will recognize you the next time you visit the same page.

This term relates to Password Manager.

Background Process

A background process is a computer process that operates without human intervention and behind the scenes, in the background. Logging, system monitoring, scheduling, and user alerting are all common activities for these operations. 

Typically, a background process is a child process produced by a control process to process a computer task. After being created, the child process will run on its own, doing the work independently of the control process, allowing the control process to focus on other things.

The term relates to Antivirus

Boot Sector Viruses 

A boot sector virus is malware that attacks the computer storage segment that contains startup folders. The boot sector includes all of the files necessary to boot the operating system and other bootable applications. The viruses run at bootup, making it possible for them to perform malicious code before most protection layers, including antivirus programs, are executed.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Browser 

A web browser, also known as a browser, is an application software used to access the World Wide Web. When a user requests a web page from a specific website, the web browser retrieves the required content from a web server and displays it on the user's device.

A few great examples of browsers are Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and some others.

The term relates to VPN.

Browser Extensions 

Browser Extensions are small “in-browser programs” that may be installed to current web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to enhance the capabilities of the browser. 

There are extensions for a variety of tasks, including sharing links quickly, storing photographs from a web page, user interface adjustments, ad blocking, cookie management, and much more,

The term relates to VPN.

Cache 

A cache is a reserved storage location that accumulates temporary data to assist in the loading of websites, web browser, and apps. A cache can be found on a computer, laptop, or phone, as well as a web browser or app.

A cache makes it simple to obtain data quickly, which helps devices run faster. It functions as a memory bank, allowing you to access data locally rather than downloading it every time you open a website or open an app.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Cipher 

A cipher is a data encryption and decryption algorithm. A cipher converts plaintext, an easily readable text, into ciphertext, an inexplicable string of characters, using a set of standard rules called an algorithm. 

Ciphers can be configured to encrypt or decrypt bits in a stream (stream ciphers) or to process ciphertext in homogenous blocks of defined bits (block ciphers).

The term relates to VPN

Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing is the delivery of various services via the Internet. Tools and applications like web hosting, data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software are examples of these resources.

Instead of storing files on a proprietary hard drive or local storage device, cloud-based storage allows them to be saved to a remote server. As long as a device has internet access, it has access to data and the software programs needed to run it.

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

Cloud Storage 

Cloud storage is a service model in which data is transferred and deposited on remote storage systems, where it would be maintained, managed, backed up, as well as made available to users via a network, most commonly the internet. Cloud data storage is typically charged on a per-consumption, monthly basis.

Data transferred to the cloud is managed and maintained by cloud service providers. In the cloud, storage services are provided on-demand, with capacity increasing and decreasing as needed. Cloud storage eliminates the need for businesses to purchase, manage, and maintain in-house storage infrastructure. Cloud storage has significantly reduced the cost of storage per gigabyte, but cloud storage providers have added operating expenses that can make the technology significantly more expensive, depending on how it is used.

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

Cookie 

A cookie is data that a website saves on your hard drive so that it can remember something about you later. Typically, a cookie saves your preferences when you visit a specific website. Each request for a web page is independent of all other requests when using the Web's Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). As a result, the web page server has no memory of what pages it has previously sent to a user or anything about your previous visits.

Cookies are often used to rotate the advertisements that a site sends so that you don't keep seeing the same ad as you navigate through the pages you've requested. They can also be used to personalize pages for you depending on your login information or other information you've given the website. Web users should agree to allow cookies to be stored for them, but in broad, it allows websites to better serve visitors.

The term relates to VPN and Antivirus.

Dark Web

The dark web is a subset of what is known as the deep web. The deep web is made up of websites that have not been indexed by search engines like Google, Bing or DuckDuckGo. This section of the internet is mostly made up of websites that require a passcode to access. Obviously, these websites contain sensitive information which should not be available to the general public. 

The dark web is a subset of the deep web; it consists of websites that require specific browser software, such as the Tor browser. The dark web is notorious for its abundance of frauds and illegal web pages. Good examples include black markets, cryptocurrency exchanges, and prohibited content.

The term relates to VPN and Antivirus.

Deep Web

The Deep Web is a fraction of the worldwide web that is not accessed by traditional search engines and thus can’t be found via a search. This means that the data is, for all sorts of reasons, hidden. Emails and private YouTube videos are examples of hidden pages – things you would never want to be widely available via a Google search. 

It doesn’t, though, need any skills to access (except for the Dark Web portion), and anyone who knows the URL (and password, if applicable) could visit it.

The term relates to VPN.

DNS Leak (Domain Name System Leak)

Whenever anyone uses a VPN, they are attempting to remain confidential. They accomplish this by only connecting to VPN servers. Whenever a VPN user views websites straight via the DNS server, this is known as a DNS leak. As a result, your particular IP address can be connected to the websites you view.

The term relates to VPN.

Encryption 

Encryption is the process of converting information into secret code that conceals the true meaning of the information. Unencrypted data is referred to as plaintext in computing, while encrypted data is referred to as ciphertext. 

Encryption algorithms, also known as ciphers, are the formulas used to encrypt or decrypt messages, but also in cryptocurrency and NFTs.

The term relates to Antivirus and VPN.

End-to-end Encryption (E2EE)

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a secure messaging method that prevents third parties from accessing information as it goes from one end device or network to the other. It is used by iMessage and WhatsApp.

In E2EE, the information is encrypted on the sender's device and could only be decrypted by the recipient. The message can’t be read or modified while it travels to its destination by an internet provider, application provider, hacker, or any other individual or service.

The term relates to VPN and Antivirus.

False Positive 

This happens when an antivirus program incorrectly claims that a secure file or a genuine program is infected with a virus. It is possible since code samples from malicious software are relatively common in inoffensive programs.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Firewall 

A firewall is a network security tool to monitor network traffic and chooses to either block or allow traffic based on a defined set of safety rules.

In cybersecurity, firewalls are the first layer of protection. They act as a barrier between safe and regulated private systems that could be accepted and untrustworthy external networks like the Internet. A firewall can be either hardware or software.

The term relates to Antivirus.

HIPAA Cloud Storage

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or the HIPAA, is a series of federal regulatory standards that outline the lawful use and disclosure of protected health information in the United States. HIPAA-compliant cloud storage keeps health information (PHI) secure and private and protects healthcare employees, subcontractors, clients, and patients.

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

HTTP is a means of distributing files over the internet, including text, pictures, audio, recordings, and other file types. HTTP is used indirectly as soon as a person opens their internet browser.

The HTTP protocol is used to exchange resources among user devices and servers over the web. Client devices submit inquiries to servers for the resources needed to access a website; servers respond to the client with reactions that satisfy the user's request. Inquiries and reactions share sub-documents, like information on pictures, text, text formats, and so on, which are stitched together by a user’s internet browser to present the full website file.

The term relates to VPN.

Infrastructure 

Infrastructure is the structure or base that integrates a platform or organization. In computing, IT infrastructure is made up of physical and digital resources that allow information to flow, be stored, processed, and analyzed. Infrastructure can be centered in a data center or fragmented and distributed across several data centers monitored by the institution or a foreign entity, such as a data center facility or cloud service.

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a cloud computing service in which businesses rent or lease servers in the cloud for computing and storage. Users can run any operating system or application on the rented data centers without incurring servicing or operating expenses. Another benefit of Iaas is that it provides customers with access to servers in geographical regions close to their users. 

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

Internet Protocol (IP)

The method or protocol by which information is sent from one computer to another on the internet is known as Internet Protocol (IP). Every computer on the internet, known as a host, has at least one IP address that uniquely identifies it from all other computers around the world.

The term relates to VPN and Antivirus.

Internet Protocol Address (IP Address)

An IP address is a number classification associated with a computer system that communicates using the Internet Protocol. An IP address provides two primary functions: identifying a host or network interface and addressing a specific location.

An IP address is a 32-bit number that identifies each sender or receiver of information sent in a small amount of data across the Internet is the most widely installed level of the IP today.

The term relates to VPN and Antivirus.

Key

A key is a changeable value in encryption that is supplied to a string or block of clear content using an algorithm to generate encrypted text or to decrypt encrypted text. When determining how challenging it would be to decrypt the text in a particular message, the key length is a factor.

The term relates to VPN.

Malware 

Malware, also known as malicious software, is any program or file that can cause damage to a device user. Malware can take the form of computer viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware. These malicious programs are capable of stealing, encrypting, or deleting confidential information, as well as modifying or sabotaging core computing processes and tracking users' device actions.

A malicious software uses a wide range of physical and virtual methods to attack devices and systems. Malware, for example, could be delivered to a device via a USB drive or transmitted over the web via downloads, which automatically downloads malware to devices without the user's consent or knowledge.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Master Password 

The master password is the prime task for accessing all of your stored credentials, including passwords, in your password manager's vault. Because it is literally the only password you'll ever need, it must not only be strong but also stay hidden from the password manager's developer. This is because attempting to recover your master password if you lose it is nearly impossible and always leads to the creation of a new master password.

The term relates to Password Manager.

Network 

A network is a group of computers, servers, mainframes, network equipment, peripherals, or other devices that are linked together to share information. The worldwide web, which connects millions of people around the world, is an exemplification of a network.

The term relates to VPN.

One Time Password (OTP)

A one-time password (OTP) is a password created by a computer algorithm that is valid only for one login session and for a limited period of time. In this manner, hackers are unable to access your account or accounts if your login details are stolen. One-time passwords can also be used as part of two-step authentication or two-factor authentication, or simply to add a device to a service's secure list of devices.

The term relates to Password Manager.

Password Generator 

A password generator is a program that allows users to generate large and complicated passwords in a matter of seconds. While using a password generator, you can specify how long the password should be and whether it should contain capital letters, numbers, or ambiguous characters. 

Some password generators can generate complex passwords that aren't just a series of different numbers and could be read, understood, and memorized. Password generators are incorporated password managers, but there are also a wide variety of online password generators.

The term relates to Password Manager.

Peer to peer (P2P)

P2P service is a decentralized platform in which two people interact directly with each other without the use of a third-party intermediary. Instead, the buyer and seller transact with each other directly through the P2P service. Search, screening, rating, payment processing, and escrow are some of the services that the P2P platform may offer.

The term relates to VPN and Antivirus.

Phishing 

Fraud is a type of scam where an aggressor claims to be a legitimate person in different communication ways such as email. Phishing emails are frequently used by attackers to transmit malicious content or files that could execute a range of tasks. Some of the files will obtain login information or the victim's account information.

Hackers prefer phishing because it is significantly easier to convince somebody to click a dangerous link in an apparently legitimate phishing email than it would be to penetrate a computer's protection.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Platform 

A platform is any software or hardware that is used to support an application or service in the IT world. An application platform, for example, is made up of devices, an operating system, and associated applications that employ a certain processor or microprocessor's set of instructions. In this situation, the platform lays the foundations for the successful completion of coding.

The term relates to Cloud Storage and VPN.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

PaaS is a cloud computing service in which a third-party provider provides users with hardware and software tools via the internet. These tools are typically required for app development. The hardware and software are hosted on the PaaS provider's own infrastructure. As a result, PaaS relieves developers of the need to install on-premises hardware and software in order to create or run a new app.

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

Private Cloud 

A private cloud is a one-tenant ecosystem, which means that the company that uses it does not share resources with other users. These resources can be controlled and operated in several different ways. The private cloud may be built on resources and infrastructure already present in a company's on-premises cloud server, or it may be built on new, distinctive infrastructure provided by a third-party organization. 

In certain cases, the single-tenant environment is achieved solely through the use of virtualization software. In any case, the private cloud and its data are only available to one user.

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

Protocol 

A protocol is a set of defined rules that define how information is formatted, transmitted, and obtained so network devices ranging from servers and routers to endpoints could communicate despite differences in their construction, styles, or requirements.

Without protocols, computers and other devices would not be able to communicate with one another. As a consequence, few networks would operate, with the exception of particular ones built around a specific architecture, and the internet as we know it would not exist. For communication, almost all network end users depend on protocols.

The term relates to VPN.

Security Challenge 

The password evaluator, also known as the security challenge, is an integrated function of password managers that analyzes the strength of every one of your passwords and lists those which are considered easily decipherable. The evaluator most often indicates the strength of a password with a color (ranging from red and orange to yellow and green) or a percentage, and if the password is found to be weak, it automatically prompts you to adapt it to a stronger one.

The term relates to Password Manager.

Security Token 

A security token is a real or virtual item that allows a person to confirm their identity in a user login using two-factor authentication (2FA). It's usually utilized as a kind of authentication for physical access or as a way to gain access to a computer system. The token can be an object or a card that shows or includes authentication information about a person.

Standard passwords could be replaced by security tokens, or they could be used in addition to them. They're most typically used to obtain access to computer networks, but they could be used to safeguard physical access to facilities and serve as digital signatures.

The term relates to Password Manager.

Server

A server is a program or hardware that supplies a function to another program and its user, commonly identified as the client. The hardware that a server program executes on is generally referred to as a server in a data center. That device could be a dedicated server or it could be utilized for something else

A server program in the user/server programming model anticipates and satisfies orders from client programs, which may be operating on the same or different devices. A computer app can act as both a user and a server, receiving orders for services from other apps.

The term relates to VPN and Cloud Storage.

Software 

A set of rules, information, or programs used to operate computers and perform specific processes is referred to as software. Software is a catch-all term for apps, files, and programs that run on a device. It is analogous to the variable part of a device.

The term relates to VPN and Cloud Storage.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a software distribution method where a cloud provider hosts apps and makes them accessible to end-users via the internet. An independent software provider may enter into an agreement with a third-party cloud service provider to host the apps in this method. In the case of larger corporations, such as Microsoft, the cloud provider may also be the software provider.

SaaS is one of three major cloud computing types, along with IaaS and PaaS. SaaS products, unlike IaaS and PaaS, are widely marketed to both B2B and B2C clients.

The term relates to Cloud Storage.

Trojans

A Trojan horse is a program that is downloaded and installed on a computer that seems to be harmless but is actually malicious. Potential changes to computer settings and suspicious activities, even while the computer is supposed to be inoperative, are clear signs that a Trojan is present.

The Trojan horse is usually masked in a harmless email attachment or free download. If a user clicks on an email attachment or downloads a free program, the malware contained within is forwarded to the user's device. Once there, the malware can carry out any task the hacker has programmed it to do.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two Factor Authentication is a security procedure in which the user has to present two distinct authentication factors in order to be authenticated.

Two Factor Authentication adds an extra level of protection than single-factor authentication methods, where the user has to present one factor which is usually a password. Two-factor authentication models depend on the user entering a password as the first factor and a second, distinct factor which is typically a security token or a biometric factor.

The term relates to Password Manager.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

A URL is a unique identifier that can be used to find a resource on the Internet. It is also known as a web address. URLs are made up of several parts, such as a protocol and a domain name, that tell a browser how and where to find a resource.

The first part of a URL specifies the protocol that will be used as the primary access range. The second part specifies the IP address or domain and possibly subdomain of the resource.

The term relates to Antivirus and VPN.

Virus 

A computer virus is malicious code that recreates itself by duplicating itself to another program, computer boot sector, or file and alters the way a computer operates. And after a little form of human involvement, a virus spreads among systems. Viruses spread by making their own documents on an infected device, adding themselves to a legitimate program, attacking the booting of a device, or contaminating the user’s files.

A virus can be transmitted whenever a user accesses an email attachment, runs an executable file, visits an internet website, or views a contaminated website ad. It can also be transmitted via contaminated removable storage devices, such as USB drives.

The term relates to Antivirus.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A virtual private network (VPN) is a service that establishes a secure, encoded online connection. Internet users can use a VPN to increase their online privacy and anonymity, as well as to bypass geographic-based restriction and censoring. VPNs, in essence, prolong a private network across a public network, allowing the users to safely exchange information over the web.

VPNs could be used to conceal a person's browser history, IP address, and location, internet activity, or the devices they are using. Anybody on the same network can’t see what a VPN user does. As a result, VPNs have become a must-have tool for online privacy.

The term relates to VPN.

Worms

A worm is a malicious software that runs as a standalone application and can move and replicate itself from device to device. 

Worms are distinguished from other types of malicious software by their ability to perform autonomously, without the use of a host file on the host computer.

The term relates to Antivirus.

Zero Day Attacks

A zero-day weakness is a weakness in software, hardware, or firmware that is unknown to the party or parties accountable for fixing or otherwise correcting the defect. 

The concept zero-day could refer to the weakness itself, or to an attack that has zero days between the moment the frailty is found and the first attack. Once a zero-day weakness is revealed to the public, it is referred to as an n-day or one-day weakness.

The term relates to Antivirus.

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