Know Your Cyber Threat Vocabulary

Cybersecurity has its own intimidating jargon. You’ll be better equipped to address your cyber risks when you know the terminology.

DDoS. Distributed Denial of Service attacks are designed to knock a network offline. Usually, the attack takes advantage of multiple compromised systems to cause a system-wide shutdown. DDoS attacks are often used as decoys to distract system administrators from noticing other suspicious activity, like a data breach.

Phishing. One of the most common types of cyber attacks. An email appears to come from a verified sender. When the recipient opens the email and clicks on a link or an attachment, malware gets to work capturing and exporting data. Phishing scams may also introduce a ransomware attack.

Ransomware. A software attack that either locks the targeted user from data or threatens to publish it unless a ransom is paid. Sophisticated ransomware attacks use a technique called cryptoviral extortion to encrypt data, making files virtually impossible to recover without a decryption key.

Whaling. A more sophisticated style of phishing, whaling attacks target senior management, such as CEOs or CFOs, who have administrative privileges and access to valuable data like company financial or personnel information.

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Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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