A short guide to IT security lingo

Key cybersecurity terms you should know

As more and more businesses move their operations online, the need for robust cybersecurity measures drastically increased to match.  We often stress the urgency and value of being familiar with cybersecurity terms concepts in the office setting along with private. Here are some commonly encountered terms in IT security, that are sure to bring benefit one way or another. By understanding these terms, you will be better equipped to protect your business from cyberattacks.


For far too long, the phrase “computer virus” has been misused to refer to any type of attack that harmed computers and networks. The more appropriate term for these harmful programs and files is “malicious software,” or “malware.” Whereas a virus is a specific type of malware designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or accessing networks and data with the intent to steal, corrupt, or encrypt these should be referred to as malware.  Malware can be thought of as an umbrella term that encompasses various facets of specific forms of cyber threats.


You’ll notice and encounter an array of subcategories of malware that include the suffix “-ware”. Currently, one of the most notorious of these is ransomware, which is malware that encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid for the decryption key. In a ransomware attack, the victim organization may feel compelled to pay the ransom to regain access to their data.

Intrusion prevention system (IPS)

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware and a single device alone will not provide complete security, but an IPS should be considered a non-negotiable staple to the infrastructure.  An IPS sits behind your company’s firewall and monitors for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social engineering

Not all malware rely solely on complex computer programming.  In fact, experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of social engineering to succeed. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or protected information. For some cybercriminals, it’s less tedious to convince a potential victim to give them the data they need than to create and deploy complicated software to obtain the same information.


Phishing is 1 of the many forms of social engineering.  The scheme involves defrauding people using an app or a website that impersonates a trustworthy or often well-known business in an attempt to obtain confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean that it is. Don’t take such emails at face value — always verify the source, especially if the emails are requesting your sensitive data.


Antivirus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well-known malware variants.  Another example of a critical piece to the infrastructure that alone does not provide all necessary functionality to prevent/counter an attack.

Zero-day attacks

When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to fix the gap in security. However, attackers can release a piece of malware that exploits the security vulnerability before software developers can address it.  This is known as a zero-day attack. Essentially, this is when an attacker discovers a vulnerability the vendor was unaware of or has not already addressed.


When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and “patch” this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as soon as these become available, you keep your software protected from the latest malware.  These are familiar to users in the form of “updates”.

Redundant data

When antivirus software, patches, and intrusion prevention fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that even if your systems get infected with malware, you’re equipped with redundant data elsewhere to restore your systems.  These are known as backups, which are another essential piece to keep your business running.

Contact Beringer Today!

Our cybersecurity professionals are always available to impart more in-depth knowledge. Get in touch with the team and coordinate your infrastructure security review today!

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution also provides expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing, Email Security Implementation and TrainingUnified Communication Solutions, and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment.