15 Cybersecurity Terms You Need to Know

It’s no surprise that the demand for cybersecurity specialists in all sectors is increasing.

The field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving to counteract the effort of malicious hackers. As new technologies are developed for general public use, you can imagine the number of tools being developed behind the scenes that allow malicious hackers to access poorly protected devices and networks. Cybersecurity specialists are forced to evolve their skill sets at an equally alarming rate to ensure their networks and data remain protected. The number of technologies and tools required to protect and defend systems, networks, and programs will continue to evolve and we must keep up.

It’s crucial we all increase our cybersecurity efforts no matter if it’s our career. Even at home, we must monitor our devices, the websites we visit, and the downloads we make. To best implement safe cyber practices in your life, it’s important you know fundamental cybersecurity terminology to better protect you and your family’s data.

The Top Cybersecurity Terms You Should Know

To gain a clear understanding of the best cybersecurity practices, we have defined 15 of the most used words or phrases in the field. By learning these terms and researching what tools are associated with them, you can protect your own devices from malicious hackers and maintain the privacy of your networks.

  1. User Authentication is used to validate the identity of any user who connects to a network resource.
  2. Encryption is the process of encoding data, by converting the original information into an alternative form of text, cipher text.
  3. Antivirus helps protect your computer against malware and cyber criminals by seeking out and removing computer viruses that have infected your computer.
  4. Malware is any type of software designed to harm or exploit any programmable device, service or network. Examples include computer viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.
  5. Firewall is a network security system that tracks all incoming and outgoing network traffic based on security rules set up by an administrator.
  6. Phishing is the fraudulent use of electronic communications to take advantage of users and collect personal information.
  7. Multi-Factor Authentication is a layered security system that requires more than one means of authentication (i.e. fingerprint and password) to grant access to an account or device.
  8. DoS / DDoS (Denial of Service) is a cyber-attack in which the bad actor makes a device or network resource unavailable by flooding the services of a host connected to the Internet.
  9. Ethical Hacking is an authorized, legal  practice of bypassing system security to locate potential data breaches and threats in a network.
  10. Ransomware is a form of malware that demands payment to restore access after locking the user out of their devices or accounts.
  11. A Cyber Attack is any unauthorized attempt to access, change, steal or block system or user information. 
  12. Cloud is a storage system that allows the access of data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive.
  13. Network is a digital telecommunications network for devices that use a common telecommunications technology.
  14. IoT (Internet of Things) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines or objects used and managed over a network. 
  15. Penetration Testing is an authorized simulated cyber attack on a computer system, performed to locate network vulnerabilities.

Learn More

If reading about these terms made you eager to learn more, you can talk to one of the CSULB admissions advisors. Find out what the day in the life of a cybersecurity professional is all about and how they use these terms on a daily basis and call 562-359-4787.

The CSULB Cybersecurity Certificate Program was designed by industry-leading cybersecurity specialists to help grow the field and provide you with a comprehensive education that will aid you in getting a job in cybersecurity. After completing the program, you will have all the training and skills you need to enter the workforce and take many of the industry’s leading certification exams.


5 Books Every Cybersecurity Buff Must Read

A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking Into the Tech Industry

Cybersecurity Careers: The Complete Guide


Skip to content