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The Cyber Security Vulnerability Dictionary

Orani Amroussi | October 26, 2021

Cyber security can be a daunting topic given the complex jargon used by professionals. To help, we’ve created a cyber security vulnerability dictionary with the most commonly used terms for you.

AI: Any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.

Blue Team: A group of security professionals that defends an enterprise’s information systems when mock criminals (i.e. the Red Team) attack, typically as a part of an operational exercise. These practices help ensure protection and detect vulnerabilities within systems.

Config: security measures that are implemented when building and installing computers and network devices in order to reduce unnecessary cyber vulnerabilities.

CVE: Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is a database of publicly disclosed information security issues. A CVE number uniquely identifies one vulnerability from the list.

Cyberspace: The interconnected environment over which digital communications can occur. 

Cyber hygiene: The fundamental cybersecurity best practices that an organization’s security practitioners and users can undertake.

DDoS Attack: Occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth of a targeted system resulting in the unavailability of that system, usually hosting important web sites or services.

Exploit: a code that takes advantage of a software vulnerability or security flaw. When used, exploits allow an intruder to remotely access a network and gain elevated privileges, or move deeper into the network.

Hacker: Sometimes used for a person who gains unauthorized access to a computer system or network. Also, someone who comes up with a clever or different way to do something.

IT Security: a set of cybersecurity strategies that prevents unauthorized access to organizational assets such as computers, networks, and data. It maintains the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information, blocking the access of sophisticated hackers.

Machine Learning: Machine Learning is the act of getting computers or machines to perform an act without explicitly programming such an act. Utilizes computational methods and data to “learn” information without relying on a predetermined model. 

Malware: A generic term for a number of different types of malicious code.

Mean time to respond (MTTR): the amount of time it takes an organization to neutralize an identified threat or failure within their network environment.

Patch: A patch is a small update released by a software manufacturer to fix bugs in existing programs.

Patching: Patching is the process of updating software to a different version.

Penetration Testing: Penetration testing is used to test the external perimeter security of a network or facility.

Phishing: The use of e-mails that appear to originate from a trusted source to trick a user into entering valid credentials at a fake website. Typically the e-mail and the web site looks like they are part of a bank the user is doing business with.

Ransomware: A type of malware that is a form of extortion. It works by encrypting a victim’s hard drive denying them access to key files. The victim must then pay a ransom to decrypt the files and gain access to them again.

Red Team: A professional group organized to emulate a potential attack against an enterprise’s cybersecurity defenses. This practice is utilized to detect vulnerabilities and improve protection. 

Risk: the potential for loss, damage, or destruction of assets or data caused by a cyber threat taking advantage of a vulnerability.
Risk Assessment: A Risk Assessment is the process by which risks are identified and the impact of those risks determined.

Risk Score: Quantitative representation of the strength of your security posture

Threat: The likelihood of a negative event affecting your organization. Such an event can affect your assets, systems, software, etc. 

Security programs: provide a documented set of your organization’s cyber security policies, procedures, guidelines, and standards. Security programs are critical to proactively protecting data while maintaining compliance with best practice and regulatory requirements, as well as customer standards.
Threat Assessment: A threat assessment is the identification of types of threats that an organization might be exposed to.

Threat intelligence: evidence-based knowledge, including context, mechanisms, indicators, implications and action-oriented advice about an existing or emerging menace or hazard to assets. This intelligence can be used to inform decisions regarding the subject’s response to that menace or hazard.

Threat Model: A threat model is used to describe a given threat and the harm it could do to a system if it has a vulnerability.

Threat Vector: The method a threat uses to get to the target.

Vulnerability: a weakness in your infrastructure, networks, assets, or applications that potentially exposes you to threats.  

Vulnerability prioritization: Ranking of vulnerabilities based on risk level and potential impact to the enterprise.

Vulnerability scanners: automated tools that allow organizations to check if their networks, systems and applications have security weaknesses that could expose them to attacks.

Vulnerability SLA: vulnerability management includes defining and tracking service level agreements (SLAs). This can be done by tracking how long vulnerabilities take to be fixed, and if this is consistent with a set of defined policies.

Workaround: A short-term or temporary solution to a problem.

Zero Day: Also called “O Day.”  A vulnerability in an internet-connected device, network component or piece of software that was essentially just discovered or exposed for which no patch exists.

Learning the various terms used by cybersecurity professionals is imperative in understanding data outputs and reports produced by vulnerability scanners. In addition, gaining a comprehensive understanding of cyber security terms will help you better understand the risk remediation and prioritization strategies recommended by Vulcan. 

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Head of Cyber Security Strategy