A Cyber Threat Thesaurus

To really get to grips with the cyber threats to the modern business you need to understand the jargon. Below is a quick reference cyber threat thesaurus to help you get a head start.


Denial of Service

A type of cyber attack that prevents the normal use of a system, network or application by an attack that exhausts resources with a flood of data requests that cannot possibly be processed. As a result service is denied as the network, application or system is essentially shut down.



The process of breaking into a system or network without permission. Hacking is conducted by Hackers who use theirs skills in order to achieve this break in. They may be motivated by cyber crime or they could be Hacktivists i.e. carrying out hacking for political motivations.


Keystroke logger

Used by cyber criminals to record every single depressed key on the targeted machine. This can be used to harvest personal and confidential information, such as passwords.



Malicious software that is introduced into a machine with the aim of disrupting the use of that machine and, potentially, the network that it is connected to. Some examples include words, viruses and keystroke loggers.



Using authentic looking (but fake) emails to get a user to respond by clicking on a link or providing certain personal information. Phishing emails can result in malware being deposited into a machine or can be used for data harvesting by scammers.



A type of malware that has been designed to hold a device or machine ‘to ransom’ once it has been installed. The machine or device can be remotely locked and only released for the payment of a fee.


Security consultancy

Using the expertise of a consultancy organisation to boost network security and help defend against cyber attack.



A type of malware that self replicates and uses networks to spread itself from one machine to the next. There is no need for a human to spread the Worm, as there is with a virus, as this type of malware can spread itself.


Zero Day Attack

When a cyber criminal uses coding that has not appeared before or finds a security issue for the first time – the ‘zero day’ applies to this being the first day of learning in terms of how to counter the attack. A particularly dangerous type of cyber crime as it’s unlikely that any existing defences will be able to stop it.