Internet Security Terminology

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Below is a list of common terms used when discussing internet security. Read our Internet Security Information article for more ways to keep your data safe.

Attack: An attempt to bypass security controls on a computer. The attack may alter, release, or deny data. An attack’s effectiveness is determined by the vulnerability of the computer system and the effectiveness of monitoring and response.

Authentication: Positively identifying a user in order to allow access to a system. Authentication can also be made by users’ PCs when accessing a website to verify that they are not visiting a site that has been hijacked or corrupted.

Confidentiality: Assuring information will be kept secret, with access limited to appropriate persons.

Encryption: A method of scrambling information while it moves from one source to another to prevent others from reading it.

Firewall: A system or combination of systems that enforces a boundary between two or more networks. A firewall is really a “gateway” between two networks that restricts information flow. 

Identity theft: Taking personal information to conduct fraudulent financial activity.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) – A protocol for secure communication over a computer network which is widely used on the internet.

Malware: A generic term used to describe any form of malicious software, including viruses, Trojan horses, malicious content, etc.

Online security: Emprise Bank employs technology and monitoring to control identity theft.

Phishing: A “phishing” email may look exactly like a legitimate email from a bank or financial institution you regularly do business with. However, a phishing email will typically ask you to visit a web link, where you will be asked to fill out items such as name, address, account numbers, credit card numbers, etc.

Popup: A new browser window that appears – unrequested by you – on your screen. Commonly used for advertisements.

Secure browser: An Internet browser that has SSL encryption version 3.0 or higher. A secure browser is used to conduct secure financial transactions over the internet.

Secure Socket Layer: A form of encryption that protects information from being transmitted over the Internet, and to prevent tampering while the information is in transit.

Secure Transaction: A transaction that is protected from outside tampering.

Sensitive information: Includes identifying items such as account numbers, usernames, passwords, PINs, and social security numbers.

Spam: Unsolicited “junk” email sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services.

Spam filter: Blocks spam from being delivered into your email inbox.

Spyware: Spyware is software that is installed on your computer and monitors your activity, without your knowledge or consent. Spyware may give you unwanted advertising in the form of pop-ups, or may collect personal information about you.

TLS: A form of encryption that ensures privacy between communicating applications and their users on the internet. It prevents third parties from eavesdropping or tampering with any messages.

Trojan Horse: An apparently useful and innocent program that allows the unauthorized collection, use, or destruction of data.

Virus: A program that can “infect” other programs by modifying them.

Virus Protection (also Anti-Virus Software): Software that scans items as they are received onto your computer to check for viruses. Anti-virus software will alert you when a virus has been received and quarantine it. These should be updated weekly to ensure the latest protection against viruses that might capture data or record keystrokes.

Worm: Program that spreads itself from network to network, often “clogging” information systems as it spreads.