Information Security Glossary

Word Definition
Android Google's brand name for its mobile operating system. Uses a traditional open-install model for software; anti-virus is recommended.
Anti-virus Anti-malware software that usually tries to recognize virus/malware files by pattern
Bot Malware that provides interactive control of your PC to criminals, often for the purpose of attacking other computers, stealing information or sending spam. From the term 'robot'.
Confidential (Data) Educational records and business files, including faculty/staff email, are considered Confidential data. University Confidential data must be protected by a unique account password assigned to each account that has access to the data..
Drive-by Download A malware download and install that takes place simply because you use an out-of-date browser or computer to access a malicious website (or legitimate website with malicious ads).
Guideline Recommended actions and operational guides. More general than procedures, and optional, in contrast to standards.
iOS Apple's brand name for its mobile operating system. Uses a "walled garden" security model; "jailbreaking" iOS devices removes this security.
Java Programming language and min-operating system; used on most personal computers and some mobile devices.
Malware Any malicious software designed to operate on your computer without your consent.
Phishing Any message with an urgent request to reply or click a link or open a file. It's designed to trick you into giving away your passwords, sending money or infecting your computer..
PIN Personal Identification Number, used like a password, but weaker
Policy An organization-wide statement produced by senior management, or the appropriate policy board or committee, that dicates organizational goals for specific scopes, e.g information security.
Procedure Detailed step-by-step instructions to achieve a certain task. More specific than guidelines and policies.
RESTRICTED (Data) Data, which if disclosed to unauthorized parties results in legally or contractually required costs or fines, is considered restricted data. Examples of restricted data include Social Security & Credit Card numbers, as well as Health Records. University RESTRICTED data must be protected by encryption when stored or transmitted.
Spam Unsolicited email offers to sell you goods and services
Standard A mandatory technology, result or procedure to be applied in all appropriate situations.
Trojan Malware that spreads because you install or download it for certain legitimate functions, but it carries out hidden, harmful fuctions - for example, stealing information. AKA Trojan Horse.
Updates Software patches to close security holes and fix bugs in software.
Virus Malware that spreads by copying itself into files; as the files spread, so does the virus.
Vishing A unexpected call or voice chat, typically purporting to be from an unknown technician, asking you to take actions or provide access to your computer or device.
Worm Malware that spreads by copying itself across the network to other computers.


  • The Sophos Group. Threatsaurus.Self-Published, 2009.
  • Harris, Shon. CISSP Exam Guide. McGraw-Hill/Osborne. 3rd Ed. 2005

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