Cybersecurity Glossary

To implement effective cybersecurity solutions built for the digital world, it’s important to understand common industry concepts and definitions. This glossary provides you with cybersecurity terms to be aware of as you look to protect your organization against cyber threats.

Data privacy

Data privacy refers to the ability for online users to control their personal information, including to what extent it gets shared with third parties. This personal information is tracked and stored by websites and online applications to carry out services, such as personalizing user experiences. Because this information could be exploited by cybercriminals and other third parties, laws such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) govern data privacy. They regulate the kinds of personal information third parties can collect, ensure proper safeguards are implemented to protect personal information, and hold third parties accountable to rules and standards.

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Denial-of-service (DoS) attack

A denial-of-service (DoS) attack, also referred to as a mail bomb, uses a mass-mailing technique to overwhelm an email address in an effort to shut down a network. The DoS attack is carried out using botnets to flood a recipients’ inbox with millions of spam emails and block service for all users. While DoS attacks don’t typically result in compromised data, they’re fairly simple to carry out and can result in major headaches for companies on the receiving end of such attacks. Organizations can minimize their risk of a DoS attack by having highly sophisticated network infrastructure security.

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Display name spoofing

Display name spoofing uses the display name of email senders to deceive recipients. By using a real name that is known to the recipient, hackers attempt to trick users into divulging sensitive information or downloading attachments infected with malware. Display name spoofing is one of the most common forms of email spoofing and is especially effective on mobile devices, since email clients often hide the sender’s email address. Protection against display name spoofing attacks includes security awareness training and email security that analyzes emails for display name and email address consistency.

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Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack

A distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack is a supercharged version of a traditional denial-of-service (DoS) attack. It leverages multiple computers to overwhelm a network, enabling attacks to be deployed faster and at larger traffic volumes. Not only can this be more catastrophic to the network attacked, but the use of multiple botnet locations for execution make it far more difficult to trace its origins.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an email verification process that validates with a digital signature that an email came from the intended organization. When activated, DKIM validation happens automatically at the server level before ever reaching the recipient, authenticating the incoming email so the receiver knows it’s legitimate and not malicious.

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Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication protocol that prevents unwanted parties from sending spam or phishing emails to an organization.

Working in tandem with DKIM and SPF, DMARC enables companies to publish a DMARC policy into a DNS record, thus establishing a policy for how to handle emails that fail both SPF and DKIM.

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DNS spoofing

DNS spoofing, short for Domain Name System spoofing and also referred to as DNS cache poisoning, is a type of cyberattack in which domain name servers are compromised via fake data to redirect users to harmful websites. Common targets for DNS spoofing attacks are places with unprotected public Wi-Fi, as hackers have an easy time abusing these DNS servers’ weak security posture and introducing fake data. DNS spoofing attacks come in a variety of shapes and sizes—including man-in-the-middle attacks and DNS server compromise—making it increasingly difficult for organizations to effectively detect and prevent them.

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Document object model (DOM) reconstruction

Document object model (DOM) reconstruction is a form of remote browser isolation (RBI) that attempts to remove malicious content from webpage elements—such as HTML and CSS. Once removed, the solution reconstructs the webpage elements and delivers it to the user’s local endpoint. DOM reconstruction is an alternative to the pixel pushing and network vector rendering (NVR) methods of RBI. While solving issues of latency, DOM reconstruction presents security and usability risks.

Domain spoofing

Domain spoofing is a phishing attack where cybercriminals use a fake version of a legitimate email address to scam users. Unlike display name or close cousin spoofing, domain name spoofing replicates the legitimate email address exactly. This form of email spoofing is less common because of Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM). Once SPF and DKIM are incorporated into DNS settings, they prevent unauthorized use of domain names for spoofing attacks.

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Drive-by download

A drive-by download is a type of malicious software that is downloaded to a user's computer without their knowledge or consent. This type of download often occurs when a user visits an infected website or clicks on an infected advertisement. The malicious software can be used to steal data, hijack the user's computer, or gain control of their system. It can also be used to spread other types of malware, such as ransomware or spyware.

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