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Cybersecurity Terms

Cyber Security matters top news articles across the world. Unfortunately, that’s because digital security is so tenuous. Fortunately, however, by familiarizing yourself with the risks, you may be able to recognize cyber-attacks and take evasive action. Here are some of the most common cyber security terms, along with their definitions and examples.


Short for malicious software, malware is any computer program or software itself that is created to damage or do harm to a computer in some way. Malware can take many forms:

• Viruses

• Worms

• Trojan horses

• Spyware/adware/malicious browser extensions


A computer virus is basically malware specifically designed to replicate itself and spread across networks, infecting other computers. A virus is not the same thing as a worm, which is another type of malicious software that replicates itself inside a network or on an individual computer.

What makes viruses dangerous is their ability to replicate by infecting files and programs on a computer. This enables the virus to spread quickly from machine to machine, making it extremely difficult to contain or remove them from an operating system, unless you take steps beforehand to eliminate the infection altogether (like keeping all updates current).

Viruses are not necessarily harmful on their own—they are just programs designed for replication, like any other piece of code in the world. However, they could potentially do harm if left unchecked by antivirus measures.

Trojan Horse

A very specific type of malware that masquerades as a helpful file or program but is something harmful. Like the original historical event tied to their namesake, these can be used for malicious purposes such as stealing information or damaging a computer or downloading other types of malware onto your device.


Like a computer virus, a worm replicates itself, but it doesn't need to attach itself to another file or program and can spread on its own across networks. Worms are self-replicating programs that spread to other computers without human intervention. They are relatively easy to create; in fact, most worms were created by accident by programmers who failed to initially realize their code had unintended side effects.

The most famous example of a worm was CodeRed, which infected more than 9% of the internet in 2001. It caused outages at major websites including CNN, eBay, and Yahoo!.

Security Exploit

An attack using a security vulnerability in something like hardware, an operating system, or an application. This could be anything from a software bug which allows a hacker to access your computer and steal your data, to malware which spreads through email attachments and infected websites.


ervice (DoS) Attack

When a network is flooded with information so it can no longer operate. Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks are used to disrupt a network or computer system. The attacker sends a flood of requests to the target system, overloading it and preventing legitimate requests from being fulfilled.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurs when multiple systems flood their targets with traffic, rendering them unavailable for extended periods of time. These attacks are difficult for organizations to defend themselves against because they use multiple sources to overwhelm their targets’ defenses.

Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) Attack

When multiple systems flood the target network, usually from multiple locations at the same time. A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable for legitimate users by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple systems. DDoS attacks can be launched from anywhere. And once a botnet has been created, it is very difficult to stop it. Attacks can range from using simple devices like smart phones or cameras to more sophisticated equipment such as home routers and printers.

Botnets are networks of infected computers that act in unison under the direction of a command-and-control server. Typically, these devices are turned into zombies using malware that takes over the device without the owner’s knowledge or permission. Botnets have been used in DDoS attacks since at least 2002 when they were first reported against websites with high traffic volume such as Yahoo!, eBay, and CNN.


Exploiting weaknesses in software systems and network infrastructure for criminal or malicious purposes. Also sometimes used to mean illegally gaining access to an account through hacking someone’s password or tricking them into giving it up by phishing. These terms are also sometimes used generically as a synonym for breaking into any system, regardless of how it was done.

About 208 Geek in Meridian, Idaho

Owner/Operator Jacob Van Vliet began building and repairing computer systems for friends and family out of his home in 2001. Jacob was receiving so many requests for computer repair, that in the Fall of 2005, he opened 208 Geek with the vision of providing outstanding service and peace of mind. He has committed 208 Geek to delivering unparalleled, friendly, and professional service, with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


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