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Essential Cybersecurity Terminologies: Top 30+ Cybersecurity Terms You Should Know

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When working in the field of cybersecurity, it’s important to have both the knowledge and the appropriate vocabulary. As new developments and technologies emerge, so does a new set of words, acronyms, and phrases specific to the field.

Having a good command of cybersecurity terminology not only demonstrates your expertise but also instills confidence in customers.

When you can explain that “the system is experiencing a data breach due to spyware uploaded by a Black Hat hacker,” it shows that you understand the problem and are capable of addressing it. On the other hand, simply stating that “the computer is not functioning properly because someone who doesn’t work here has done something bad to it” won’t inspire much trust.

To help you navigate the language of cybersecurity, here are the top 30 terms you should be familiar with.


The process of confirming someone’s identity to grant them access to a system or files. It can involve using a password, scanning the eyes or fingerprints or a combination of these methods.


A network of infected computers that work together to carry out harmful activities, such as mining Bitcoin, sending spam emails or launching DDoS attacks.

Data Breach

When a hacker successfully breaks into a system, takes control of its network and exposes sensitive information, like credit card numbers, bank account details or Social Security numbers.


Short for Distributed Denial of Service. It’s a method used by malicious hackers to overwhelm a website with a flood of requests, causing it to crash or become unavailable temporarily.


A group of interconnected computers and devices, including routers, printers and scanners, that function as a single unit.


Using coding techniques to protect information from hackers. It’s like encoding a top-secret message to keep it secure.


A method used to attack a computer system, which involves a series of commands, malicious software or infected data; like saying “The hacker used a malware exploit to gain access to the credit card server.”


Any software or hardware technology used to block unauthorized access and keep intruders out.

Black Hat Hacker

A hacker tries to gain unauthorized access to a system with the intention of causing mischief, damage or theft. They may be motivated by greed, a political agenda or simply boredom.

 White Hat Hacker

A hacker is hired to test computer systems and servers to identify vulnerabilities and help strengthen security. They are ethical hackers, embodying the saying “It takes a thief to catch a thief.” They are also known as “ethical hackers.”


A type of harmful software that infects and damages computer systems. Various forms such as ransomware, worms, viruses and Trojans are concluded in it. Malware is often distributed through spam emails.

Man in the Middle Attack

An attack on the Wi-Fi system that connects users to the Internet. Hackers who carry out this attack can bypass Wi-Fi encryption and steal personal data because they gain access to the system.


A scam where hackers pretend to be legitimate businesses or organizations, like banks or credit card companies, to deceive victims into revealing sensitive personal information or clicking on malicious links or attachments. Some phishing attempts are well-executed, while others can be easily identified with extra caution.


A type of malware that takes control of your system and encrypts files, preventing access until a ransom is paid. It essentially kidnaps your computer and demands payment to release your files.


When a hacker alters the IP address of an email to make it appear as if it’s coming from a trustworthy source.


A form of malware used by hackers to secretly monitor your computer activities. If spyware infects a mobile device like a smartphone, it can read text messages, redirect phone calls, and even track your physical location.

Trojan Horse

Another form of malware that disguises itself as a harmless program but actually allows hackers to gain access to your system through a hidden entry point, enabling them to control your computer.


Malware that modifies, corrupts or destroys information and spreads to other systems, often through innocent means like email. In some cases, viruses can even cause physical damage.


Virtual Private Network is a method of establishing a secure and encrypted network connection between multiple computers and devices. It replaces users’ IP

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