Resources Articles Cybersecurity Glossary of Terms

Cybersecurity Glossary of Terms

Cybersecurity Glossary of Terms

Regardless of your role in an organization, this glossary of cybersecurity terms was compiled for everyone from the security professional to the general end-user. Here, you’ll find acronyms and terminology commonly used in the security industry, along with their definitions.

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  • ABAC

    Attribute Based Access Control - an advanced method for managing access rights for people and systems connecting to networks and assets.

  • AC

    Access Control dictate who has access to what information, applications, and resources within a network.

  • APT

    Advanced Persistent Threats know how to find a vulnerability; a way to enter into your so-called secured firewall.

  • Assume Breach

    Assume Breach - the principle that you’ve accepted (i.e. you assume) that a breach will or already has occurred in the network. This supports the concept that there will always be 0-day exploits and allows quicker identification of secondary and tertiary steps of an attack.

  • AWS S3

    Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service - a popular cloud storage and service platform .


  • Blockchain

    Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.

  • BYOD

    Bring Your Own Device networks allow employees to use their personal devices (smartphones, personal computers, tablets, or USB drives) to connect to their employer’s networks and access work-related systems.


  • CDI

    Covered Defense Information

  • CIS Controls

    Critical Security Controls for Effective Cyber Defense are the 20 controls are based on the latest information about common attacks and reflect the combined knowledge of commercial forensics experts, individual penetration testers and contributors from U.S. government agencies.


    Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies - a framework created by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association for IT governance and management.

  • CUI

    Controlled Unclassified Information


  • Days of Effort

    Days of Effort is equal to a minimum of 8 hours of work. A typical Red Team day often exceeds 8 hours.

  • DDoS

    Distributed denial-of-service attack - a common attack that renders services unreachable by overwhelming a network with traffic.


    Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement



    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act - the highest security regulation for the education sector calls for the privacy of student records at all institutions that receive federal funding.

  • FIM

    File Integrity Monitoring


    Federal Information Security Management Act - a framework for protecting government data and assets that extends to federal contractors (higher education institutions).


  • GDPR

    General Data Protection Regulation - a regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of European Union citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states.

  • GLBA

    Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. This act requires financial institutions to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data.

  • GRC

    Governance, Risk, and Compliance

  • Grey-box

    Grey-box is penetration test where some information is available beforehand such as provided log in credentials, but not all information such as a full list of IP ranges or a network map.



    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA was signed into law in 1996. It provides security provisions and data privacy in order to keep patients’ medical information safe.

  • HRO

    High-Reliability Organization - an organization robust and resilient enough to achieve operational excellence when a single error has massive consequences.

  • HSM

    Hardware Security Module


  • IDS

    Intrusion Detection Systems

  • Interviewing

    Interviewing - the process of conducting discussions with individuals or groups within an organization to facilitate understanding, achieve clarification, or identify the location of evidence. Assessment results are used to support the determination of security control effectiveness over time.

  • IPS

    Intrusion Prevention System


    Information Systems Audit and Control Association


  • MDR

    Managed Detection and Response - outsourced cybersecurity services designed to protect your data and assets even if a threat eludes common organizational security controls. MDR services combine advanced analytics, threat intelligence, and human expertise in incident investigation and response deployed at the host and network levels.

  • MFA

    Multi-Factor Authentication. MFA is vastly more secure than a simple password login and is becoming a specific standard in compliance regulations.


    MITRE ATT&CK® is a globally-accessible knowledge base of cyber adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations.

  • MSSP

    Managed Security Services Provider An organization that provides hands-on cybersecurity services to support ongoing management, monitoring, threat protection, detection, and response capabilities. Typically provided from a Security Operations Center.



    North American Electric Reliability Corporation - Critical Infrastructure Protection - a set of requirements designed to secure the assets required for operating North America's bulk electric system.

  • NIST

    National Institute of Standards and Technology



    Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard applies to any size merchant that accepts credit cards, processes, stores, transmits credit card transactions and data.

  • PKI

    Public Key Infrastructure


  • QSA

    Qualified Security Assessor - an individual who is certified with qualifications from the PCI Security Standards Council that can test and prove an organization’s compliance with PCI DSS standards.


  • RBAC

    Role-Based Access Controls are the dominant method of AC used today. Administrators define roles then specify access control rights for those roles. Each user then gets assigned a role, effectively bucketing a set of privileges with a single attribute.

  • RMF

    Risk Management Framework

  • RFC 1918

    Address allocation for private internets.


  • SCRM

    Supply Chain Risk Management

  • Security Barrier

    Security Barrier may be personnel or technical security control that interferes with the red team progressing through the assessment.

  • SEM

    Security Event Management systems store and interpret logs for real-time security event analysis enabling defensive actions to be taken more quickly.

  • SIM

    Security Information Management systems collect data for trend analysis and provide automated reporting.

  • SIEM

    Security Information and Event Management is the combination of SEM and SIM and is the way all the security data in your enterprise can be simplified and visualized so your in-house IT staff can take action right away at the first sign of a problem.

  • SMA

    Security Management Appliance. The SMA will replicate an Assume Breach on your network. It does this by acting as if an internal endpoint or server is already compromised. It can then act with the assumption that an attacker has gained internal network access.

  • SMB

    Server Message Block - a network protocol that enables users to communicate with remote computers and servers — to use their resources or share, open, and edit files.

  • SOC

    Security Operations Center

  • SOX

    The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is U.S. law meant to protect investors from fraudulent accounting activities by corporations.


  • UCTI

    Unclassified Controlled Technical Information Rule

  • USM

    Unified Security Management

  • UTM

    Unified Threat Management

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