25 Security Terms All Businesses Should Know

Cybersecurity is an increasingly important issue for businesses, and as such business owners need to be aware of cybersecurity terms and issues. While most business owners are aware of basic cybersecurity terms, the technology industry is constantly changing, and new hacking methods are continually being developed. To prepare and be aware of modern cybersecurity issues, business owners need to know key security words. Below are some of the basic cybersecurity words all businesses should know.

1. Account Takeover

Account takeover is exactly what it sounds like — this occurs when a hacker takes over an account. This account may be an email account, bank account or online login. Hackers generally gain access by collecting saved login information from a website or tricking you into disclosing your login information through a phishing scam. From there, the hacker can either use the login themselves or sell it to a third-party fraudster to take advantage of your account.

2. Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most broadly adapted cloud platforms. So what are Amazon web servers? These servers are cloud servers that businesses can pay to use. The physical servers are kept by Amazon in locations around the world, but users can rent the use of servers to host business operations without the cost of maintaining servers on-site. Amazon also handles their own security, protecting their servers from intrusion.

3. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

BYOD is an increasingly popular company policy where companies have employees provide their own computers and devices. This policy helps businesses save costs on supplying devices for their workforce and takes advantage of the prevalence of private device ownership. However, this policy comes with risks — employees handle sensitive company information on their own devices, which may not have the appropriate security precautions needed to keep company data safe.

4. Clickjacking

Clickjacking tricks users into clicking something that they didn’t intend to click. Often, clickjacking occurs on websites — the link may say that it is taking the user to a certain address, but really takes them to an alternative destination. If the user isn’t aware that their click has taken them somewhere they didn’t intend to go, they can fall prey to scams.

5. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is all over the news in the business world today, but what is cloud computing? Cloud computing is when IT resources are delivered on-demand over the internet. Instead of owning and maintaining their own servers, businesses pay to use public servers like those provided by Amazon Web Services. This way, businesses benefit from the computing power, storage and databases without paying exorbitant costs. These cloud computing centers also often handle baseline security measures, though your business should always use best practices when it comes to security.

6. Data Breach

A data breach is when a business’ private information is compromised by a malicious third-party. This information may be consumer data, business analytics or company secrets. In any case, this information may be collected and sold or may be lost entirely, negatively impacting your business.

7. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

DDoS attacks are some of the most common cyberattacks. In these attacks, a computer or network is overloaded with access requests, slowing down the server to a standstill. As a result, the affected company is unable to function until the attack stops.

8. DNS Attack

Domain Name System servers, or DNS servers, are used to connect the world’s computers and allow them to communicate efficiently with one another. In a DNS attack, a hacker will target DNS servers and redirect addresses. This means that when a user tries to access one address, they’re redirected to another address. This may be used for phishing scams or as a way of conducting a DDoS attack.

9. Encryption

Encryption is basically the process of translating information into a special code that only authorized computers can read. This practice makes it so that unauthorized users cannot read the encrypted data, protecting sensitive information. Encryption is often used to protect information as it travels from one system to the next, making it so that interceptors cannot read the data.

10. Firewall

A firewall is one of the most basic and essential security systems for networks. These firewalls control network traffic based on rules set by your network administrator, preventing users from making contact with untrusted networks or devices. For example, if a user in your network accidentally clicks on a link to a phishing site, the firewall may catch this and prevent access.

11. Fraud

Fraud is essentially the use of deception to obtain goods or services. For many businesses today, they encounter fraud when customers use stolen or fake payment information. These cases of fraud can be particularly damaging to businesses, as they may lose money on illegally-made purchases.

12. Hacking

Hacking is one of the more commonly known cybersecurity terms, but few know what it really means. Hacking, at its most basic, is when a criminal uses a computer to obtain data without authorization. There are many hacking methods available, including phishing, clickjacking and other strategies, but all fall under the “hacking” umbrella.

13. Honeypot

A honeypot is a security measure where a business sets up a fake “bait” server. Hackers see this legitimate-looking server and try to hack into it, but in doing so they trigger security measures. Security professionals often use honeypots to gain insight into how hackers are attacking their systems, allowing them to set up preventative measures and identify vulnerabilities before they affect real servers.


HTTP and HTTPS are often confused due to their similar names, but they stand for two different versions of the same computer language. HTTP means Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is the language networks use to exchange information between computers over the internet. HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is the newer, more secure iteration of this system. While many sites still run on HTTP, HTTPS is becoming the more standard iteration.

15. IP Address

An IP address is a unique identifier for each machine on a network. An IP address is similar to a mailing address for a home — it tells the network where to send any requested information.

16. Keylogger

A keylogger system is a program installed on a computer or network that tracks the keystrokes of users and reports them to an attacker. This malware can be used to store sensitive information, including usernames, passwords and sensitive client data.

17. Malware

Malware is an umbrella term for any malicious program. Malware includes viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware or keylogger systems — essentially, it is any program designed to steal information or damage networks.

18. Mobile Device Management (MDM)

An MDM is a system that allows companies to monitor employee devices. These systems watch device activities and alert administrators when breaches or security problems arise. These systems also often come with certain security measures, such as theft prevention software, message encryption and remote wiping.

19. Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is a common security practice where two or more forms of authentication are required to access a network. The most common form of this is two-step authentication where a user inputs their username and password and is then prompted to input a code sent to their email or phone. Other authentication measures may involve multiple passwords or even biometric keys like fingerprint readers.

20. Pen-Testing

Penetration testing, called pen-testing for short, is a practice where a business uses a third party to hack into their system. This testing is used to help businesses find security vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit in the real world so that they can address them. Pen-testing may be accomplished by actual people or automated with software applications, but either way, it serves as a valuable tool in developing enterprise security systems.

21. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most common forms of cyberattack. In these attacks, the attacker sends a message or email to a target that prompts them to complete an action. Often, this action is to click on a link that takes the user to a malicious site. The more sophisticated version of phishing is spear phishing, where the attacker researches targets to create a more convincing scenario and maximize their chances for success.

22. Ransomware

Ransomware is a version of malware that holds data hostage until the owners pay a ransom. Usually, this system encrypts system data and sends the key to the user when they pay the ransom. If the ransom isn’t paid, the ransomer either refuses to unencrypt the data or threatens to release the sensitive data.\

23. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

VPNs are becoming increasingly common, but many don’t know what virtual private networks are. VPNs are essentially network masks that allow users to access a network safely using a nonsecure internet connection. If the connection is intercepted, attackers cannot do anything because the user is masked with the VPN. VPNs are very commonly used by businesses with remote workers.

24. Virtualization Technology

Virtualization is another rising star in the business world, but what is virtualization technology? Virtualization is the generation of a virtual version of a system. This virtual version does everything that a physical version can do but operates in a virtual environment. Virtualization technology allows businesses to maximize their processing power without expensive hardware upgrades.

25. Worm

A computer worm is a type of malware. This program is designed to infect as many computers as possible, hiding in less visible parts of operating systems and spreading through network vulnerabilities or USB drives. Worms slowly affect networks in a negative manner, consuming system resources until they slow or halt.


Contact PCS to Protect Your Company’s Data Today

Criminals use a wide range of techniques to access business’ confidential data, and its essential for businesses to stay on top of the latest news in cybersecurity. However, while you should stay aware, your primary focus should always be on your business. That’s why we recommend working with a cybersecurity expert like PCS.

At PCS, we provide cybersecurity services for small to medium-sized businesses of all types. Whether your organization is a business, school, hospital, insurance agency, or accounting firm, PCS can help with comprehensive data backup and protection services.

Contact PCS today to learn more about how our services can protect your company from cyberattacks.