Keeping your business running smoothly can be a challenge, especially if you operate online (and who doesn’t these days?). But understanding key cyber security terms is an important first step toward keeping your business cyber-safe. Here’s a handy list.
Botnet – Short for “robot network,” a botnet is a group of computers that are coordinated to perform a task. In the hands of cyber criminals, botnets can be used to transmit malware or spam, or to steal data.
Cloud – The cloud is a global network of servers that are connected and operate as a single ecosystem. This technology allows you to store, access, and deliver files and services through the Internet from anywhere in the world. To keep your information safe in the cloud, make sure your employees update their passwords regularly, opt for two-step verifications, and encrypt your files.
Cookie – A computer cookie is a small data file that a website puts on your computer when you are browsing. Cookies can keep track of your visits and activity, and are often used to enable websites to recognize whether you are logged in, have items in your shopping cart, or provide a customized experience.
DDoS attack – DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, a form of cyberattack in which a website is flooded with malicious traffic or data from multiple sources in an attempt to make the site unusable.
Firewall – This defensive technology can be software or hardware-based and is designed to block hackers and other bad actors from getting into your network or computer.
IP Address – This is the address of your computer. When you operate over a network or connect the Internet, your IP address is your computer’s unique identifier.
Malware – Short for “malicious software,” malware is a program specifically designed to damage or gain unauthorized access to your computer. It can take many forms—these are two of the most common:
- Ransomware – A form of malware that prevents you from accessing files on your computer, basically holding your data hostage by encrypting your files so that cyber criminals can demand that you pay a ransom for the decryption key.
- Trojan horse – Allows hackers to gain remote access to your computers by masquerading as a benign application—for example, a fake advertisement or email attachment. Clicking on a Trojan horse may allow attackers to access your personal information or download a virus onto your computer.
To keep malware from affecting your business, put a multi-level network protection strategy in place, ensure your operating systems and virus software are updated, use firewalls, and avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments.
Open Wi-Fi – Open Wi-Fi networks are unencrypted, meaning they’re not protected and anyone can access them. This may allow potential hackers to see the sites you visit, your login passwords, and your personal data. The best way to avoid hackers is to only log on to encrypted Wi-Fi, which requires a password.
Phishing – These scams pose as emails from an organization or person that you know, and typically include a malicious link or attachment, that, if clicked on, will download malware onto your computer or system. The easiest way to avoid these scams is to never click on a suspicious link or attachment.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) – A VPN is an encrypted Internet connection often used by businesses. It allows you to connect safely into a network to conduct work remotely and transmit sensitive data.