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IT Dictionary

Fed up of being bombarded with confusing IT terms? Frustrating by a stream of techie acronyms? Our IT dictionary could well be the answer...

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Not only do we provide you with a glossary of the most commonly used IT terms, we’ll also tell you what they stand for and exactly what they mean. Helpful, huh?

Not one to rest on our laurels, we’re always on the lookout for new and even more interesting terms to add to our list. If there’s something you think should appear in our IT Dictionary, get in touch.

Term
Nerd Factor
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Term
Access control
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Access control is used as a way of authenticating and authorising individual's access to files, folders or information. It's a way for companies and organisations to keep their data secure and ensure only certain or authorised individuals have access to sensitive information.
Term
APT
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Advanced Persistent Threat
But what does it mean?
An APT or advanced persistent threat is the process of an unauthorised user or organisation gaining access to a network and remaining undetected for long periods of time. When this happens, it is usually to attack, steal or spy on the victim.
Term
Adware
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Adware is a term used for malware in the form of pop up adverts that appear on your computer screen. It is also known as advertisement software. User can unknowingly download malware when adware is bundled with files or programs which look legitimate.
Term
Antivirus software
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Antivirus Software is a computer program that has been built to scan, detect and eliminate viruses, or malicious software like malware and adware on your computer or device.
Term
Application
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An application, app or application program, is a software program that runs on a computer. Examples include email programs, web browsers, utilities, games, and messengers.
Term
Authentication
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
The process of verifying the identity of an individual or device, usually before allowing access to information, data or a system. An example would be entering a username and password to log in to an account or website.
Term
Bandwidth
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
This describes the maximum amount of data transmitted via a network or internet connection in a certain amount of time. Different from internet speed, it measures the volume of data that can be transmitted in megabytes per second.
Term
Behavioural based analysis
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Behaviour Based Analysis is a process which is used by a number of security tools. Baselines of a systems are made to create a present image of what is 'normal behaviour'. This baseline is then monitored against activity in real-time. Security tools will analyse it in an attempt to discover malicious threats.
Term
Bit
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Binary digit
But what does it mean?
A Bit is the smallest unit of measurement used in computer data. It is a single binary value of either 0 or 1.
Term
BIOS
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Basic Input/Output System
But what does it mean?
The set of routines on a personal computer system that test the hardware connections and locates all devices during the initialisation or booting up.
Term
Blacklist
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Blacklists are used as a method to control access. If a user, username or organisation is on a blacklist, it means they will automatically be denied access to a specific network or system.
Term
Bluetooth
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Bluetooth is a term used to describe a short-range wireless connection that enables devices that are compatible to communicate. For example, it connects laptops, desktops, mobile phones, printers, cameras and so on.
Term
Bookmark
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Also known as a favourite, a bookmark is a method of saving a web page address so the user can easily be redirected to it. When creating a bookmark, the web browser will save the title, URL and favicon and make it visible at the top of the page.
Term
Boot
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
The process of turning or powering on a computer, also called booting up or to boot a computer.
Term
Bot
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A bot, also called a robot is a machine or software application that is automated to carry out tasks or follow instructions. Sometimes, bots can be used by cybercriminals to hack victims by stealing data, passwords or launch attacks.
Term
Broadband
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
High speed internet access that uses multiple channels of simultaneous digital signals. The most common types of Broadband connections are cable modems (cable TV connections) and DSL modems (use existing phone line).
Term
Browser
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A software or application that is used to access webpages on the internet. The most popular web browsers include Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.
Term
Brute force attack
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A brute force attack is a cyber-attack where hackers will try to guess account details and passwords, usually using a bot. This is very time consuming and will involve the bot trying to guess various password combination until they crack it.
Term
Bug
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A bug is an error or fault in a software program that causes it to unexpectedly shut down or produce unintended results. For example a minor bug may result in a button not responding when clicked, larger bugs can cause programs to crash or glitch.
Term
Byte
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A data measurement unit used in computer storage and processing that is made up of a series of eight 'bits' that have a value of either 0 or 1. The series of bits which make up a byte is processed as a unit by a computer.
Term
Cache
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Pronounced 'cash', it is data that is stored so that it can be easily accessed at a later date. Computers use a number of different caching processes to enable them to run more quickly and smoothly.
Term
CISO
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Chief Information Security Officer
But what does it mean?
A Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO is the person who is responsible for the cyber security and data protection of an organisation. A CISO will manage a team of cyber professionals who will maintain the security of sensitive data and information.
Term
CISO-as-a-Service
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
CISO as a service or CISOSaaS stands for Chief Information Security Officer as-a-Service. This is when CISO can be outsourced by another organisation who need their expert help with cyber security. It means organisations can benefit from an in-house expert, without having to retain senior full-time employees.
Term
Cloud
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
The cloud is where you can upload and store data on a server over the internet, rather than on a computer hard drive.
Term
Cookies
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A text file with a small amount of data that is used to identify your computer and save it using a unique ID. Cookies enable websites to recognize you and track your preferences. The saved information will usually be log in details.
Term
CPU
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Central processing unit
But what does it mean?
A principal unit of a computer that processes instructions. It usually comprises of the main memory, control unit and arithmetic-logic unit.
Term
Critical hour/golden hour
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
The critical hour or golden hour is the first 60 minutes after a cyberattack has been detected. This first hour is the time limit on containing the destruction and impact an attack can have.
Term
XSS
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Cross Site Scripting
But what does it mean?
This is a technique used by cybercriminals to infiltrate code on web applications that is insecure, they will then execute code on the website.
Term
Cursor
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
There are two types of cursor, the mouse cursor and the text cursor. The mouse cursor refers to where your arrow pointer is on the screen when navigating. The text cursor is where the next character of text will be typed on a line.
Term
Cyberattack
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Usually undertaken by a hacker, a cyberattack is an attempt to gain unauthorised access to information, systems, data or a network.
Term
Cyber security incident
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
When an authorised individual or organisation has gained access to data or networks, this is a cyber security incident or security breach.
Term
Cyber security
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Cyber Security is the process of protecting data, information, computer networks and systems from criminals who attempt to steal or destroy important data, software or hardware.
Term
CSOC
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Cyber Security Operations Centre
But what does it mean?
A Cyber Security Operations Centre is a specialist team of cyber security engineers that are employed to protect, detect and respond to any cyber security threats directed at an organisation, whenever they might occur.
Term
COM
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A top level domain name in the Domain Name System of the internet. It was derived from the word commercial, as it was primarily used for commercial websites. However, it is now used for more general purposes.
Term
Database
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A collection of data or information that is organised and can be easily accessed, updated and managed. They usually include multiple tables, which may feature a number of different fields.
Term
Data centre
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A space within a building, a whole building or collection of buildings that store computer systems and associated applications. For example, storage systems, telecommunications and servers are all housed in a data centre.
Term
Data security
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Data security is the process of protecting digital information from unauthorised users or hackers who may want to steal or destroy it.
Term
Debug
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
When code is written by computer programmers on software, they can sometimes make small errors which lead to bugs in the system. Before releasing new products or software, they are all 'debugged' which is time consuming but eliminates the errors in code.
Term
Desktop
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A type of personal computer that is suitable for working on at a desk or table. Desktop can also mean the primary user interface on a computer. Once a computer has booted up, it will display a desktop, which includes a background, apps, files and folders.
Term
Directory
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A directory is an organisational unit that is used to store folders and files in a hierarchical structure.
Term
DDoS
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack
But what does it mean?
A Distributed Denial-of-Service attack is a method used by cybercriminals to disable or shut down a network, website or server. Cybercriminals do this by flooding the bandwidth with internet traffic, causing it to crash. This is usually done using bots.
Term
DNS
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Domain Name System
But what does it mean?
A domain name system is an internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. This allows you to access webpages using their memorable domain names, rather than a collection of numbers and letters which make up an IP address.
Term
Domain
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Domain can refer to domain name which is the location of a website. For example, the domain www.google.com points to an IP address which is made up of a long string of numbers. The domain is much easier to remember, therefore that is what we use to visit websites. However, domain can also refer to a computer network which is made up of a group of computers that are all connected and can be accessed and administered using a common set of rules.
Term
Dumpster diving
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
This is a term that refers to individuals physically looking through company bins or rubbish to find sensitive information that can be used against a person or organisation. This could be passwords written on waste paper or confidential information. An easy way to protect against this is to shred or destroy important documents.
Term
DOC / DOCX
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
.DOC refers to a filename extension for word processing documents. It stands for DOCument file and usually contains text, images, tables, graphs, formatting and print settings. .DOCX is a file extensive of Microsoft Word Open XML Format Document file. Microsoft started using .DOCX in 2007 as an updated to .DOC. .DOCX files are smaller and more compatible because the format is XML based, which means all of the content is stored as separate files, compacted into a single, zip-compressed file.
Term
Email
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Electronic mail
But what does it mean?
Allows users to send and receive messages from any one with an email address, across the world, via a network.
Term
Email client
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An application that allows configuring one or more email addresses to receive, view, compose and send emails. It gives users a central interface to manage their emails. Examples include Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla and Thunderbird.
Term
Emoji
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An emoji is a small digital icon or image that is used within a text field to express an emotion or vision.
Term
Encryption
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Commonly used to protect sensitive information or data from unauthorised access, encryption is the process of converting data into a code or something that is unrecognisable or unreadable.
Term
Ethernet
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Pronounced E-thernet with a long 'e', it is the standard way of connecting a group of computers to form a local area network over a wired connection. There are usually protocols that control information transmission and simultaneous transmission by two or more systems.
Term
Exploit kit
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An exploit kit is a malicious threat that is automated to attack vulnerabilities in computer systems. Usually used in software packages, they work by infecting a victim's computer with malware, using a link or email. Once successfully infected, exploit kits work silently under the surface, meaning that users are usually unaware that their computer has been attacked.
Term
EXE
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A Windows file extension (for an executable file) that, when opened, runs a program, or executes a code. The two main types of executable file are a script and compiled programs.
Term
Firewall
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A firewall is a network security barrier that monitors and controls ingoing and outgoing network traffic, deciding whether to grant access or block traffic based on a specific set of security rules. It is the first line of defence to protect against data breaches.
Term
Font
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A set of displayable graphical text characters in a specific typeface, design, size, colour and weight.
Term
Form grabber
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A form grabber is a kind of malicious malware hidden on a website that steals log in details like usernames, passwords, email address directly from the data form.
Term
FTP
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
File Transfer Protocol
But what does it mean?
A set of protocols that computers follow when sending files from one system to another, over the internet. It can be used by businesses to send files from one computer to another, or FTP will be used by a website to upload or download files from a server.
Term
Fragmentation
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
When computers save files, they usually do this in one continuous block. However, over time as a storage device writes new data, fewer full blocks are free for storage. Computers begin to save bits of files in multiple blocks, this is called fragmentation. The files are still readable, but this is not an efficient way of storing data.
Term
Gigabyte
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A gigabyte is a unit of measurement in computing. It is a multiple of the unit byte, making up 1,000,000,000 bytes.
Term
Google
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Google is the most popular search engine in the world. The word 'google' is also used as a verb to describe searching the internet for information, e.g. to 'google' something or someone.
Term
GCHQ
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Government Communications Headquarters
But what does it mean?
Government Communications Headquarters, more commonly known as GCHQ, is the UK's intelligence security and cyber agency. It is responsible for providing intelligence and information to the government and army on cyber security issues.
Term
Graphics card
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A graphics card is an expansion card used by a computer to render images, videos and 2D or 3D animations to a feed display such as a computer monitor.
Term
GUI
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Graphical User Interface
But what does it mean?
A user interface that features graphical elements, like windows, buttons, scroll bars, tabs, menus and icons. It displays objects that convey information, and prompt actions that can be taken by the user. It was created to distinguish between graphical interfaces and text ones.
Term
GIF
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Graphics Interchange Format
But what does it mean?
An image file format used for the compression and storage of visual digital information. Unlike JPEGs, GIFs use lossless compressions that maintains the quality of the image. It supports both animated and static images.
Term
Hacker
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An individual or group who make attacks on computer systems or networks by gaining unauthorised access to steal, edit or delete information or data.
Term
HDD
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Hard Drive
But what does it mean?
A hard drive is a device that stores data. A typical hard drive will contain a hard disk where files and folders are located. Data is stored on a stack of disks within a solid encasement.
Term
Hardware
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Hardware is the physical components of a computer and related devices. Internal hardware includes hard drives, RAM and motherboards. External hard ware is the monitors, mice, keyboards, printers etc.
Term
Hashing
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Hashing is a checking process used by professionals working in cyber to ensure that a piece of data has not be interfered or tampered with. It is done by producing a mathematical number algorithm to represent the data. The process is usually repeated twice to ensure the piece of data is intact and identical.
Term
Honeypot
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A honeypot is a decoy method used by a cyber professional to lure and trap a hacker. It is a security method in which they can watch the behaviour of a hacker and learn more about protecting from future attacks.
Term
Host
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A host is a computer or other device that is connected to a network. It may work as a server or a client, with it's own unique hostname which allows other computers to access it.
Term
HTML
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Hyper Text Markup Language
But what does it mean?
HTML is the computer language used to build webpages. 'Hypertext' is the hyperlinks that an HTML page contains, 'mark-up language' are the tags used to define the layout and elements of a page.
Term
HTTP
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
But what does it mean?
The protocol used to communicate to web servers on the internet or on a local network. It's main function is to establish a connection with the server to send HTML webpages back to the user's browser or 'client'. When you access the internet and navigate to a website, your browser sends a request to the corresponding web server, this responds with an HTTP status code.
Term
HTTPS
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure
But what does it mean?
This is the process of encrypted HTTP data being transferred over a secure connection. It is the same as HTTP, but has an extra layer of security by using a secure socket layer (SSL). Examples of websites that would use HTTPS are banks, e-commerce websites and the majority of sites that you log in to.
Term
Hyperlink
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A hyperlink, or link refers to data that the user can access by clicking or tapping highlighted text or an image. A hyperlink points to a new document or new section within the current document.
Term
Icon
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An icon is small graphical representation of a file, object or program on your computer. When you click on a computer icon, the program or file associated with it will open. They are components of GUI operating systems and help users quickly identify the type of file or program.
Term
Information security
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Information security is of rules or practices that organisations or individuals follow to ensure they are protecting their data and information from unauthorised access.
Term
Internet
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
The internet is a global wide area network of computers. It features high-bandwidth data lines, which are known as the internet's backbone, and are connected to hubs that send data out to other locations like ISPs (internet service providers) and web servers.
Term
IDPS
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Intrusion Detection and Prevention System
But what does it mean?
An Intrusion Detection Prevention System is a phrase that is used to describe a protective system that attempts to detect malicious activity using both behavioural and signature-based viewpoints. IDPS systems analyse network traffic and pinpoint malicious activity before reaching endpoints.
Term
Insider threat
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
As the name suggests, an insider threat is a security risk that originates from within the organisation being targeted. This could be an employee, contractor or an ex employee that intends to hack the business for information.
Term
IM
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Instant Messaging
But what does it mean?
Instant messaging, or IM'ing, is the process of people having a near 'real-time' conversation using their computer or device over the internet, usually in a chat room or using an app. The basic operation involves the user typing a brief message and pressing enter.
Term
IP Address
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Internet Protocol Address
But what does it mean?
An IP address is a unique number that is used to identify a specific computer, device or computer network.
Term
ISP
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Internet Service Provider
But what does it mean?
An internet service provider is a company that provides access to internet connections to individuals, businesses and organisations. They can also provide services, software packages, email accounts and websites.
Term
IT
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Information Technology
But what does it mean?
IT refers to anything that is computing technology related, for example network, hardware, software, internet or professionals who work in the industry.
Term
Java
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Java is a high-level programming language that was originally developed for building handheld devices and set-top boxes, it is now used to create web applications.
Term
JPG
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Joint Photographic Group
But what does it mean?
JPG or JPEG is a popular file format for images. Pictures taken on digital cameras are usually JPG format. It supports varying levels of compression, making it perfect for web graphics.
Term
Keyboard
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A set or 'board' of input keys attached to a computer that allows the user to type commands or text. The design of western keyboards is taken from the original typewriters, now known as the QWERTY design.
Term
Keylogging
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Keylogging is a method used by cybercriminals that involves a software program recording keystrokes made by an individual using a computer. By logging the keys, they can steal sensitive information such a passwords, usernames and financial data.
Term
Kill chain
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
In cyber, kill chain is a process used by cyber professionals when dealing with a security incident. The chain can be made up of multiple different levels, but there is always a kill chain in response to a cyberattack.
Term
Kilobyte
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
The smallest unit of memory or data on a computer , greater than a byte. A kilobyte of 10 to the power of 3 or 1,000 bytes. It precedes the megabyte.
Term
LAN
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Local Area Network
But what does it mean?
Pronounced 'lan', a local area network is a group of connected devices that are based in one physical location, such as an office, educational institution or other buildings. It can be wired or wireless.
Term
Lateral movement
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Lateral Movement refers to the way a hacker or cybercriminal moves to gain unauthorised access to documents or data. For example, if a hacker has already gained access to one set of files, they may look to compromise further accounts or files. This is 'lateral movement' between accounts or networks to further compromise an organisation or individual .
Term
LINUX
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Pronounced 'linnucks', LINUX is the most commonly used open source operating system. It sits underneath all the other software on a computer. It receives requests from programs and passes them onto the computer's hardware.
Term
Logic bomb
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A logic bomb is a type of cyber attack with is scheduled by hackers. It works by dropping malicious code into a network or a computer on a predetermined date or time, or when a specific action has been completed. For example, a logic bomb may have instructions to delete a certain document, but it will only do so on the specified date or time.
Term
MAC Address
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Media Access Control Address
But what does it mean?
A media access control address is a unique identification number that distinguishes between each device on a network. The MAC address is built into every network card, for example a WIFI or Ethernet card, and so it cannot be amended. It is not related to Apple MAC.
Term
Mac OS
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Mac Operating System
But what does it mean?
Mac OS is an operating system that runs solely on Apple Macintosh computers. It has been around since the very first Apple MAC, but has seen continual updates over the years. It is considered as the pioneer of GUI based operating systems.
Term
Malware
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Malware (or malicious software) is piece of intrusive software that has been designed specifically to 'infect' and cause damage to a computer, server or network. They are built by cybercriminals to destroy networks or steal sensitive information. Malware is a general term that covers many different types of threat, such as viruses, worms, trojans, spyware etc.
Term
Memory
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Memory in a computer refers to the device that is used to store information, data and programs, either temporarily (RAM) or permanently (ROM). The main memory of a computer can be imagined as a collection of boxes, which can each hold a singe byte of data. A computer that has a memory of 1 megabyte will hold around 1 million bytes of data.
Term
Monitor
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A monitor, also sometimes called 'computer screen' or 'display', is what shows the computer's interface, desktop and programs. Users interact with the monitor by using a keyboard and mouse.
Term
Motherboard
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Also known as the logic board or mainboard, the motherboard is the main printed circuit board of a computer. If you look inside a computer, the largest component will be the motherboard. It contains the principle components that make up a computer. It connects other circuit boards and establishes the connection between the crucial electronic components.
Term
Mouse
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A computer mouse is a small hand-held electronic device that controls a cursor on a computer screen. It can be used to point, drag and drop, and select text, files and folders.
Term
NCSC
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
National Cyber Security Centre
But what does it mean?
The National Cyber Security Centre is the UK's cyber security incident response team. They provide support and help to public and private sector organisations surrounding computer security threats.
Term
Network
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A computer network is a collection of two or more computers or devices that can communicate with each other. The devices can be connected by physical or wireless connection. The two main types of network are LANs and WANs.
Term
Network security
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Network security is an all encompassing protection that covers a network against potential security breaches or threats.
Term
OS
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Operating System
But what does it mean?
An operating system or OS is a system software program that communicates with computer hardware to support the computer's basic functions, such as recognising input from a keyboard, managing files, controlling peripheral devices. The most common operating systems are Windows, Linux and OS X.
Term
Optical drive
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An optical drive is the slot in your computer that you can input discs, like CDs or DVDs. Optical refers to lasers, which can read data on optical discs.
Term
Packet
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A packet is a block or small amount of data that is transmitted over a network, such as a LAN or the Internet. Similar to a letter sent in the post, a packet will include a destination and source, as well as the content or data that is being sent.
Term
Passive attack
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A passive attack is a stealth cyber attack which involves a cybercriminal gaining unauthorised access to monitor and watch a system in order to intercept messages or sensitive information without changing the network. These passive attack usually happen without the victim knowing.
Term
Password sniffing
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Password sniffing is when a malicious piece of software is installed onto a network to monitor traffic and steal information, like passwords or log in information. It then adds this sensitive information to a database.
Term
PC
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Personal Computer
But what does it mean?
A PC or personal computer is a device that is perfect for individual use, made up of a system unit, a monitor or monitors, a mouse and a keyboard. Today, most PCs have the capacity to connect to the internet, and attach external devices like printers, scanners, hard drives and more.
Term
PDF
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Portable Document Format
But what does it mean?
Essentially, the format is used when you need to save files that cannot be modified but still need to be easily shared and printed. Today almost everyone has a version of Adobe Reader or other program on their computer that can read a PDF file.
Term
Penetration testing
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Penetration testing or pen testing is a simulated real-world attack conducted by cyber professionals on a network, individual or organisation. The aim is to see how far a cybercriminal could infiltrate security, before being stopped. This test highlights vulnerabilities, enabling cyber professionals to make suggestions on how to improve security.
Term
PHP
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Hypertext Preprocessor
But what does it mean?
PHP is a widely used, open source HTML-embedded scripting language that is especially suited to web development. PHP code can be inserted into the HTML on a web page and is read by the server. It is most commonly used to extract data from databases on the web server and display it on a web page.
Term
Pharming
Nerd Factor
4
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Pharming is a type of online fraud used by cyber criminals to steal sensitive information, such as bank details, passwords, credit card details or information to commit identity fraud. It works by malicious code being installed on your computer or device, this code redirects a user to a fraudulent website without the user knowing. The user is then prompted to input information.
Term
Phishing
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Phishing is a type of cybersecurity attack which is used to steal sensitive information or data. Phishing attackers will send victims text messages or emails that appear to be from a legitimate source. The messages will usually include links to landing pages which will ask for sensitive data, or contain malicious malware which will download onto the victim's computer. This malware will attack the network and steal user data.
Term
PNG
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Portable Network Graphics
But what does it mean?
A PNG, or 'ping' is a file format that supports lossless image compression, usually on the web or in application graphics and particularly those with transparent backgrounds. It was introduced after GIF and JPEG, and therefore includes many of the benefits of both.
Term
PSU
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Power Supply Unit
But what does it mean?
A power supply is a hardware component that connects a computer to an electricity output. It receives power from an electrical output and converts the current from AC to DC, which is what a computer needs to turn on and run. The power supply also regulates the current to allow the computer to run smoothly and safely.
Term
PPT / PPTX
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
.PPT is the file extension for Microsoft PowerPoint, the presentation software.
Term
Printer
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A printer is an external output device that transmits data stored on a computer or device and produces a hard copy onto paper or card. For example, text documents, images and tables can all be printed.
Term
Probing
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Probing is a method used by cyber criminals to test the security of networks or servers, with the aim of discovering any sensitive information that could be stolen or used. They scan open ports on a network device to check if there are any entry points.
Term
Program
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A program is a very common computer term that can be used as either a noun or verb. When used as a noun, it is a collection of instructions that are followed by a computer to complete a specific task. A program is made up of compiled code that runs on the computer's operating system. A collection of computer programs is referred to as software. When used as a verb, it refers to the creation of a software program. Programmers will code programs by writing instructions for the computer to follow.
Term
Protocol
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A protocol is a standard set of procedures or rules used when electronic devices, such as computers, communicate with each other. For computers to be able to transmit data effectively, there needs to be an agreement for how the information will be organised, sent and received. This is the protocol.
Term
Proxy
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A proxy is a server that acts as a gateway between a user and the internet. Most large organisations, businesses and educational institutions use a proxy to filter what users can access on the internet when using the network and improve performance.
Term
QR Code
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Quick Response Code
But what does it mean?
A QR code is a type of matrix barcode which is machine readable and made up of a pattern of black and white squares. It is usually used to store URLs and information which is 'read' or scanned by the camera on a smartphone or a QR scanner.
Term
Query
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A query is another word for question and in computing, queries are used to collect information. A computer query is received by a computer system and processed by a software program. The most common query is a search query, when a user inputs a keyword or phrase into a search engine. There are also database queries which can be used to access the structured data stored in a database.
Term
QWERTY
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Pronounced quirty, QWERTY is a word that describes the standard, Western computer keyboard layout. On a QWERTY keyboard, you will see the top six letters under the numbers are Q-W-E-R-T-Y.
Term
RAM
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Random Access Memory
But what does it mean?
The RAM is a hardware component found in electronic devices like computers and smart phones that stores memory. For example, it is where instructions and data are stored whilst a program is being executed.
Term
Ransomware
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Ransomware is a form of malicious software used by cybercriminals to block or encrypt a network or device in order to coerce an individual or organisation. Usually, the cybercriminal will issue a deadline for the victim to settle the demanded 'ransom', otherwise they will enact malicious or unrecoverable actions.
Term
Rainbow table attack
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A Rainbow Table Attack is a process used by cybercriminals to try to guess passwords that are stored in a hashed format by using a Rainbow Table. A Rainbow Table includes a series of hash patterns to characters, which are used to try and find a match. If a match is found, the cyber criminal can reverse the hash patterns, leaving the hacker with the unhashed user password.
Term
Registry
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A registry, or Windows registry is an information database which is used by Windows Operating System. Whenever a program or software is installed, it produces a new subkey, which contains settings that are specific to that program.
Term
Remote backup
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Remote backup, also known as managed backup or cloud backup, is a service provided for saving data in a safe and secure 'place' online. Files, folders and data can be saved to the 'cloud', which stores the information. This gives users another version of saved data that has a low risk of being destroyed.
Term
Remote desktop
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Remote desktop is technology that enables a user to view another computer desktop on their own computer. They can open files, move folders and run programs on a computer anywhere in the world from their own desktop.
Term
Remote login
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Also known as remote access, this is the process of logging on to your computer or device from a different geographical (remote) location. This is usually used by employees working from home, but still needing access to their computer at work or the office network.
Term
RGB
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Red, Green, Blue
But what does it mean?
RGB stands for the three primary colours that are used to create colour images on computer screens.
Term
SaaS
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Software as a Service
But what does it mean?
Software as a service or SaaS is a cloud based software solution that is used over the Internet, rather than downloaded onto a computer. SaaS typically runs on a web browser and is used in applications that are allocated to multiple users. Software as a service could be anything from office software, to communication services or business apps.
Term
Safe mode
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Safe Mode is an alternative method of booting for Windows operating system. Safe Mode starts your computer by running diagnostics, rather than the normal operating system, with the aim of helping to fix potential problems.
Term
Sandbox
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A sandbox is a method used by cyber security professionals to test and analyse malware. This tool allows professionals to release or detonate malware in a controlled environment and learn the best ways to protect against it.
Term
Scanner
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A scanner is a device which scans a physical document and converts it into a digital or electronic format. The document can then be viewed and edited on a computer.
Term
Search Engine
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A search engine is an online tool/software, accessed over the Internet that enables users to scan a database of information according to the query they have asked it. The search engine will then list results, usually websites, that are the most relevant to what the user is asking.
Term
Security monitoring
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Security monitoring is a process that oversees users and devices over a network in real-time. It collects and analyses data from an array of security systems, to pinpoint vulnerabilities and stay on top of cyber attacks.
Term
Server
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A server is a computer that provides resources or data to other computers, known as clients, over a network. There are many types of server, including web servers, file servers, mail servers and more.
Term
Shoulder surfing
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A physical technique used by hackers that involves them watching user actions over their shoulder to try to steal confidential information.
Term
SIEM
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
Security Information and Event Management
But what does it mean?
Security Information and Event Management or SEIM is a software technology which helps with cyber threat detection, incident management and compliance. It is used to analyse, record and event data in real-time which allows organisations to have threat monitoring, event correlation and incident response.
Term
Signature based analysis
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Signature Based Analysis is a detection method used by cyber professionals to scan data for potential malicious signatures. It does this by utilising security tools such as antivirus software which scans the data against a database of known threats, sending out an alert if there is a match.
Term
Smishing
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Similar to phishing, smishing is a type of scam that hackers use to steal sensitive information from users. Smishing uses text messages or SMS sent mobile or smart phones, usually containing a illegitimate phone number of URL.
Term
SSD
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Solid State Drive
But what does it mean?
A solid state drive is a type of mass storage device, very similar to a hard drive. However, unlike a hard drive, an SSD has no moving parts, instead it uses flash-based memory. This makes an SSD faster, more reliability, lower power consumption and noiseless operation.
Term
Software
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Software can be defined as a set of instructions that tells a computer what to do. Software enables a user to interact with a computer, the hardware and perform tasks. Computers would be useless without software, for example, without Internet browser software, a user could not access the Internet.
Term
Spam
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Spam refers to junk, unwanted or irrelevant emails, messages or posts. If you've ever received an email asking you to remortgage your home, reverse aging or join a dating app, these are considered to be 'spam'.
Term
Spear phishing
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Spear phishing is a more targeted version of phishing. Cybercriminals will research which targets they want to attack, and send phishing style emails or messages out to those individuals only. For example, customers who have recently purchased something from a website may receive an email that looks like it’s from the same company with the subject line ‘Your order has been dispatched’, including a link that could download malware.
Term
Spreadsheet
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A spreadsheet is a computer application or document that stores data in a grid, made up of horizontal rows and vertical columns. Usually, the rows are labelled with numbers and the columns with letters. Data within spreadsheets can be used in calculations and manipulated.
Term
SQL injection
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
An SQL Injection is a cyber attack that uses the SQL language found in databases on web applications. Hackers can execute SQL code within a website and deposit sensitive information.
Term
Streaming
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Usually referred to as audio or video streaming, it is the action of a user viewing or listening to content in 'real time', without having to download the file onto their computer. It is usually done over a wired or wireless internet connection.
Term
Surfing
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
When on the world wide web, surfing refers to the user moving from one web page to another, with no direct manner. It is also called browsing.
Term
Terabyte
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A unit of measurement on a computer which is the equivalent of 10 to the power of 12 or 1,000,000,000,000 bytes. A terabyte is also equal to 1,000 gigabytes and precedes the petabyte
Term
Threat hunting
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Cyber threat hunting is an advanced system used by cyber professionals to find stealth attackers who have not been identified by the automated defence tools.
Term
Threat management
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
CTM or cyber threat management is the process cyber professionals carry out to pinpoint early threats and respond to them before they can launch a full attack.
Term
TIF (TIFF)
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Tagged Image File Format
But what does it mean?
A TIF or TIFF is a graphics file format for images, popular with graphic artists, publishing and photographers. It can handle colour depths from 1-bit to 24-bit.
Term
Trojan horse
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A Trojan Horse is a type of malware which tricks the user into downloading a file or new software which looks legitimate or is an upgrade. Once opened or downloaded, the Trojan Horse infects the user's computer with malware. This type of malware must have a human input to start infecting.
Term
Two-factor authentication
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Two-factor authentication is a security process which asks a user to provide two different forms of identification in order to access a something. These two pieces of information will usually be a password and a PIN, a fingerprint or a unique code sent to the users phone.
Term
TXT
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
.TXT is a file extension of a text file, it usually contains unformatted text and can be recognised by word processing programs. They are usually created and opened using Microsoft Notepad and Apple TextEdit.
Term
Upload
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
When a user uploads something, it means they are sending a file from their computer to another system through a mode or network.
Term
USB
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Universal Serial Bus
But what does it mean?
A USB or Universal Serial Bus is a type of computer port that can connect mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, camera and more. A computer has a collection of USB hubs, which allow users to connect up to 127 peripherals using a USB compatible cable.
Term
URL
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Uniform Resource Locator
But what does it mean?
A URL or Uniform Resource Locator is the address of a specific webpage or file that can be accesses on the Internet. An example of a URL is www.e2etechnolgies.co.uk
Term
VB
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Visual Basic
But what does it mean?
Visual Basic is a programming language developed by Microsoft. It is an extension of the BASIC programming language and is used by programmers to develop visual elements in programs. Programmers can drag and drop objects into programs and write code.
Term
Virus
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Similar to a flu virus, a computer virus is a piece of malicious software that has been designed to spread from host to host and infect. Viruses will usually destroy data, slow down systems or steal sensitive data from the victims computer, server or network. It spreads itself by inserting into a legitimate program or document.
Term
Vishing
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Voice Phishing
But what does it mean?
Voice phishing or vishing is a type of phishing attack that take place over a phone call. Criminals will usually claim they are calling from a trusted source, and ask the victim to give them sensitive information like credit card details, date of birth and addresses.
Term
VoIP
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Voice Over Internet Protocol
But what does it mean?
A VoIP is a telephone connection that is used over the Internet. Instead of the data being sent over telephone lines, it is transferred digitally. This allows people have long distance phone calls, without having to pay international phone charges.
Term
VPN
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Virtual Private Network
But what does it mean?
A VPN or virtual private network is an encrypted connection over the internet from a public internet connection. When using a VPN, it masks your IP address, ensuring your actions online are secure.
Term
Vulnerability management
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Vulnerability management is a cyber security process which is used to identify, analyse and assess any vulnerabilities present within an organisation's network. Any vulnerabilities that are found are tested, reported and responded to so they can be fixed.
Term
Water holing
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
Water holing is a cyber attack which involves tracking user patters to infect a website that is visited frequently. A hacker will monitor the behaviour of a victim and pinpoint a website to target, they will then compromise the site and the victim when they visit it.
Term
Webcam
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A webcam is a video camera that is connected to a computer which allows it's images and video to be recording or streamed on the web.
Term
Whaling
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A whaling attack is a highly targeted phishing attack used by cybercriminals to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information or funds. Also known as CEO fraud, whaling involves cybercriminals sending emails, or messages that impersonate a legitimate source, usually a CEO, colleague or trusted business source, with the aim of stealing usernames, passwords, or financial information.
Term
Whitelist
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A list of 'good' values. A whitelist can be used on a range of devices which take varying information, including IP's, users, signatures and domains.
Term
White hat hacker
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
White hat hackers are sometimes referred to as 'good' hackers. They use their hacking skills for 'ethical reasons', rather than malicious. They will test cyber security systems by attempting to penetrate them and learn what their vulnerabilities are.
Term
Wi-Fi
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
Wireless Fidelity
But what does it mean?
Wi-Fi is a wireless network technology that provides high-speed internet, allowing computers or other electronic devices to communicate over a wireless signal. It is the wireless version of the wired Ethernet network.
Term
Wireless card
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A wireless card is a wireless adapter that slots into a PC card or PCI socket. It enables wireless connectivity to a computer or laptop.
Term
Window
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A graphical control element or section of a computer's display in a GUI that shows the program being used. A Window will usually include a title bar, describing the content of the window, a toolbar and an area that will display the content.
Term
Worms
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A worm is a type of malware which works by copying itself from computer to computer via a network, usually erasing data as it goes. Worms can copy themselves without any human interaction and usually infect a computer via a malicious email or website.
Term
WWW
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
World Wide Web
But what does it mean?
Often referred to as 'the web', it is a network of online content or web pages, formatted in HTML and accessed via HTTP (a web browser). The World Wide Web is not the same as the internet, rather it is a subset of the Internet.
Term
Word processor
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A word processor is a program that provides input, editing, formatting and output of text. It allows users to create, edit and print documents with added features. The most common word processors are Microsoft Word, AppleWorks and Open office.
Term
XLS / XLSX
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
.XLS or .XLSX is the original file extension used in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
Term
XML
Nerd Factor
2
What does it stand for?
Extensible Markup Language
But what does it mean?
Extensible Markup Language, or XML is a metalanguage that is used to set out rules for encoding documents in a format that humans and machines can both read. It is used to create markup languages for specific applications, for example, HTML is used to define how elements are displayed, XML is used to describe them, or give them meaning.
Term
Zebibyte
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A zebibyte is a unit of data storage on a computer that is equal to 2 to the 70th power, or 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 bytes.
Term
Zettabyte
Nerd Factor
3
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
A zettabyte is estimated as 10^21 or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. The prefix zetta refers to the multiplication by the seventh power of 1000. It is one sextillion bytes. All of the data in the world is estimated to be only a few zettabytes.
Term
ZIP
Nerd Factor
1
What does it stand for?
But what does it mean?
ZIP is a common type of file compression. When you 'zip' one or more files, it will create an archived, compressed version which uses less disk space that the original file. The file extension of ZIP files is .zip

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