Explore Terms: A Glossary of Common Cybersecurity Words and Phrases

The NICCS website is intended to serve public and private sector cybersecurity communities. The language on the NICCS website complements other lexicons such as the IR 7298 Rev. 3, Glossary of Key Information Security Terms.


Letter: A

Definition: The ability and means to communicate with or otherwise interact with a system, to use system resources to handle information, to gain knowledge of the information the system contains, or to control system components and functions.
From: CNSSI 4009
access and identity management
Synonym(s): identity and access management
access control
Definition: The process of granting or denying specific requests for or attempts to: 1) obtain and use information and related information processing services; and 2) enter specific physical facilities.
Related Term(s): access control mechanism
From: CNSSI 4009
access control mechanism
Definition: Security measures designed to detect and deny unauthorized access and permit authorized access to an information system or a physical facility.
From: CNSSI 4009
active attack
Definition: An actual assault perpetrated by an intentional threat source that attempts to alter a system, its resources, its data, or its operations.
Related Term(s): passive attack
From: IETF RFC 4949, NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1
active content
Definition: Software that is able to automatically carry out or trigger actions without the explicit intervention of a user.
From: CNSSI 4009
advanced persistent threat
Definition: An adversary that possesses sophisticated levels of expertise and significant resources which allow it to create opportunities to achieve its objectives by using multiple attack vectors (e.g., cyber, physical, and deception).
From: NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Definition: An individual, group, organization, or government that conducts or has the intent to conduct detrimental activities.
Related Term(s): threat agent, attacker
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
Acronym Expansion: Artificial Intelligence as a Service
Definition: a cloud-based service offering artificial intelligence (AI) outsourcing
air gap
Definition: To physically separate or isolate a system from other systems or networks (verb).
Extended Definition: The physical separation or isolation of a system from other systems or networks (noun).
Definition: A notification that a specific attack has been detected or directed at an organization’s information systems.
From: CNSSI 4009
all source intelligence
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Analyzes threat information from multiple sources, disciplines, and agencies across the Intelligence Community. Synthesizes and places intelligence information in context; draws insights about the possible implications.
From: NICE Framework
Definition: A list of entities that are considered trustworthy and are granted access or privileges.
Related Term(s): Blocklist
From: DHS personnel
Acronym Expansion: Americas Conference on Information Systems
Definition: A NICE Framework category consisting of specialty areas responsible for highly specialized review and evaluation of incoming cybersecurity information to determine its usefulness for intelligence.
From: NICE Framework
Definition: an anonymous proxy is a tool that attempts to make activity on the Internet untraceable
Acronym Expansion: Anti - Cross-Site Request Forgery
Definition: related pairs of tokens given to users to validate their requests and prevent issue requests from attackers via the victim
antispyware software
Definition: A program that specializes in detecting and blocking or removing forms of spyware.
Related Term(s): spyware
From: NCSD Glossary
antivirus software
Definition: A program that monitors a computer or network to detect or identify major types of malicious code and to prevent or contain malware incidents. Sometimes by removing or neutralizing the malicious code.
From: NCSD Glossary
Acronym Expansion: Advanced Placement
Definition: the process of finding, fixing, and preventing security vulnerabilities at the application level, as part of the software development processes
Definition: A person, structure, facility, information, and records, information technology systems and resources, material, process, relationships, or reputation that has value.
Extended Definition: Anything useful that contributes to the success of something, such as an organizational mission; assets are things of value or properties to which value can be assigned.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
asymmetric cryptography
Synonym(s): public key cryptography
Acronym Expansion: Advanced Technological Education
Definition: An attempt to gain unauthorized access to system services, resources, or information, or an attempt to compromise system integrity.
Extended Definition: The intentional act of attempting to bypass one or more security services or controls of an information system.
Related Term(s): active attack, passive attack
From: NCSD Glossary. NTSSI 4009 (2000), CNSSI 4009
attack method
Definition: The manner or technique and means an adversary may use in an assault on information or an information system.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, NCSD Glossary
attack mode
Synonym(s): attack method
attack path
Definition: The steps that an adversary takes or may take to plan, prepare for, and execute an attack.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, NCSD Glossary
attack pattern
Definition: Similar cyber events or behaviors that may indicate an attack has occurred or is occurring, resulting in a security violation or a potential security violation.
Extended Definition: For software, descriptions of common methods for exploiting software systems.
Related Term(s): attack signature
From: Oak Ridge National Laboratory Visualization Techniques for Computer Network Defense, MITRE's CAPEC web site
attack signature
Definition: A characteristic or distinctive pattern that can be searched for or that can be used in matching to previously identified attacks.
Extended Definition: An automated set of rules for identifying a potential threat (such as an exploit or the presence of an attacker tool) and possible responses to that threat.
Related Term(s): attack pattern
From: NCSD Glossary, CNSSI 4009, ISSG V1.2 Database
attack surface
Definition: The set of ways in which an adversary can enter a system and potentially cause damage.
Extended Definition: An information system's characteristics that permit an adversary to probe, attack, or maintain presence in the information system.
From: Manadhata, P.K., & Wing, J.M. in Attack Surface Measurement; DHS personnel
Definition: An individual, group, organization, or government that executes an attack.
Extended Definition: A party acting with malicious intent to compromise an information system.
Related Term(s): adversary, threat agent
From: Barnum & Sethi (2006), NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1
Related Term(s): authentication
Definition: The process of verifying the identity or other attributes of an entity (user, process, or device).
Extended Definition: Also the process of verifying the source and integrity of data.
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-21, NISTIR 7298
Definition: A property achieved through cryptographic methods of being genuine and being able to be verified and trusted, resulting in confidence in the validity of a transmission, information or a message, or sender of information or a message.
Related Term(s): integrity, non-repudiation
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Definition: A process of determining, by evaluating applicable access control information, whether a subject is allowed to have the specified types of access to a particular resource.
Extended Definition: The process or act of granting access privileges or the access privileges as granted.
From: OASIS SAML Glossary 2.0; Adapted from CNSSI 4009
Definition: The property of being accessible and usable upon demand.
Extended Definition: In cybersecurity, applies to assets such as information or information systems.
Related Term(s): confidentiality, integrity
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, 44 U.S.C., Sec 3542

Letter: B

Acronym Expansion: Backup as a service
Definition: A backdoor refers to any method by which authorized and unauthorized users are able to get around normal security measures and gain high level user access (aka root access) on a computer system, network, or software application
Definition: password-hashing function based on the Blowfish cipher and presented at USENIX in 1999
behavior monitoring
Synonym(s): behavioral monitoring
From: DHS personnel
Definition: the extent to which an individual practices several types of cybersecurity measures to avoid or attenuate the types of cyber threats that they are vulnerable to
Acronym Expansion: acronym
Definition: definition
Extended Definition: extended definition
Definition: a form of testing that is performed with no knowledge of a target system's internals
Related Term(s): Whitebox
Definition: A list of entities that are blocked or denied privileges or access.
Related Term(s): Allowlist
From: DHS personnel
blue Team
Definition: A group that defends an enterprise's information systems when mock attackers (i.e., the Red Team) attack, typically as part of an operational exercise conducted according to rules established and monitored by a neutral group (i.e., the White Team).
Extended Definition: Also, a group that conducts operational vulnerability evaluations and recommends mitigation techniques to customers who need an independent technical review of their cybersecurity posture.
Related Term(s): Red Team, White Team
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: an attack in which someone sends unsolicited messages to a Bluetooth-enabled device
Related Term(s): Bluesnarfing
Definition: a hacking technique in which a hacker accesses a wireless device through a Bluetooth connection
Related Term(s): Bluejacking
Definition: A computer connected to the Internet that has been surreptitiously / secretly compromised with malicious logic to perform activities under remote the command and control of a remote administrator.
Extended Definition: A member of a larger collection of compromised computers known as a botnet.
Related Term(s): botnet
Synonym(s): zombie
bot herder
Synonym(s): bot master
bot master
Definition: The controller of a botnet that, from a remote location, provides direction to the compromised computers in the botnet.
Synonym(s): bot herder
Definition: A collection of computers compromised by malicious code and controlled across a network.
Definition: an attack is a method that uses trial and error to crack passwords, login credentials, and encryption keys
Definition: An unexpected and relatively small defect, fault, flaw, or imperfection in an information system or device.
From: NCSD Glossary
build security in
Definition: A set of principles, practices, and tools to design, develop, and evolve information systems and software that enhance resistance to vulnerabilities, flaws, and attacks.
From: Trustworthy Cyberspace: Strategic Plan for the Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Program (2011), US-CERT's Build Security In website.

Letter: C

Acronym Expansion: Common Access Card
Acronym Expansion: Centers of Academic Excellence
Definition: The means to accomplish a mission, function, or objective.
Related Term(s): intent
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
Definition: the fabrication of a false online identity by a cybercriminal for the purposes of deception, fraud, or exploitation
Acronym Expansion: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Acronym Expansion: Cyber Competitions Project
Acronym Expansion: Cybersecurity Education Office
Acronym Expansion: Central Intelligence Agency
Acronym Expansion: Chief Information Officer
Acronym Expansion: Certified Internet of Things Security Practitioner
Synonym(s): cryptographic algorithm
Definition: Data or information in its encrypted form.
Related Term(s): plaintext
From: CNSSI 4009
Acronym Expansion: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Acronym Expansion: Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education
Acronym Expansion: Certified Information Security Systems Professional - Information Systems Security Architecture Professional
Acronym Expansion: Certified Information Security Systems Professional - Information Security System Management Professional
cloud computing
Definition: A model for enabling on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing capabilities or resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-145
Acronym Expansion: Continuous Monitoring as a Service
Acronym Expansion: Capability Maturity Model
Acronym Expansion: Cybersecurity National Action Plan
Acronym Expansion: Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative
Acronym Expansion: Computer Network Operations
collect & operate
Definition: A NICE Framework category consisting of specialty areas responsible for specialized denial and deception operations and collection of cybersecurity information that may be used to develop intelligence.
From: NICE Framework
collection operations
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Executes collection using appropriate strategies and within the priorities established through the collection management process.
From: NICE Framework
Acronym Expansion: Computing Technology Industry Association
computer forensics
Synonym(s): digital forensics
computer network defense
Definition: The actions taken to defend against unauthorized activity within computer networks.
From: CNSSI 4009
computer network defense analysis
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Uses defensive measures and information collected from a variety of sources to identify, analyze, and report events that occur or might occur within the network in order to protect information, information systems, and networks from threats.
From: NICE Framework
computer network defense infrastructure support
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Tests, implements, deploys, maintains, reviews, and administers the infrastructure hardware and software that are required to effectively manage the computer network defense service provider network and resources; monitors network to actively remediate unauthorized activities.
From: NICE Framework
computer security incident
Related Term(s): event
From: incident
Definition: A property that information is not disclosed to users, processes, or devices unless they have been authorized to access the information.
Extended Definition: Preserving authorized restrictions on information access and disclosure, including means for protecting personal privacy and proprietary information.
Related Term(s): availability, integrity
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, 44 U.S.C., Sec 3542
Definition: The effect of an event, incident, or occurrence.
Extended Definition: In cybersecurity, the effect of a loss of confidentiality, integrity or availability of information or an information system on an organization's operations, its assets, on individuals, other organizations, or on national interests.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, National Infrastructure Protection Plan, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
continuity of operations plan
Definition: A document that sets forth procedures for the continued performance of core capabilities and critical operations during any disruption or potential disruption.
Related Term(s): Business Continuity Plan, Disaster Recovery Plan, Contingency Plan
From: CPG 101, CNSSI 4009
Acronym Expansion: Community of Practice
Acronym Expansion: Counter Intelligence
Definition: monitoring other competitor organizations and nations to gather information
Definition: a class of malware designed specifically to automate cybercrime
critical infrastructure
Definition: The systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to society that the incapacity or destruction of such may have a debilitating impact on the security, economy, public health or safety, environment, or any combination of these matters.
Related Term(s): key resource
From: National Infrastructure Protection Plan
critical infrastructure and key resources
Synonym(s): critical infrastructure
Definition: The operations performed in defeating or circumventing cryptographic protection of information by applying mathematical techniques and without an initial knowledge of the key employed in providing the protection.
Extended Definition: The study of mathematical techniques for attempting to defeat or circumvent cryptographic techniques and/or information systems security.
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-130
Acronym Expansion: A type of cyber attach using data from cryptocurrency wallets and messaging apps such as Telegram, Steam, and Discord to gather information and steal cryptocurrency.
Definition: a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority.
cryptographic algorithm
Definition: A well-defined computational procedure that takes variable inputs, including a cryptographic key, and produces an output.
Related Term(s): key, encryption, decryption, symmetric key, asymmetric key
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: The use of mathematical techniques to provide security services, such as confidentiality, data integrity, entity authentication, and data origin authentication.
Extended Definition: The art or science concerning the principles, means, and methods for converting plaintext into ciphertext and for restoring encrypted ciphertext to plaintext.
Related Term(s): plaintext, ciphertext, encryption, decryption
From: NIST SP 800-130; Adapted from: CNSSI 4009
Definition: a type of cybercrime that involves the unauthorized use of a target's devices (computers, smartphones, tablets, or even servers) by cybercriminals to mine for cryptocurrency
Definition: The mathematical science that deals with cryptanalysis and cryptography.
Related Term(s): cryptanalysis, cryptography
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: is malware that encrypts data on the targets device and demands a ransom to restore it
Definition: Cryptomining is an online threat that hides on a computer or mobile device and uses the machine’s resources to “mine” cryptocurrencies.
Related Term(s): Cryptojacking
Acronym Expansion: Computer Science
Acronym Expansion: Cyber Security Education Consortium
Acronym Expansion: Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance
customer service and technical support
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Addresses problems, installs, configures, troubleshoots, and provides maintenance and training in response to customer requirements or inquiries (e.g., tiered-level customer support).
From: NICE Framework
Acronym Expansion: Cyber Workforce Initiative
cyber ecosystem
Definition: The interconnected information infrastructure of interactions among persons, processes, data, and information and communications technologies, along with the environment and conditions that influence those interactions.
From: DHS personnel
cyber exercise
Definition: A planned event during which an organization simulates a cyber disruption to develop or test capabilities such as preventing, detecting, mitigating, responding to or recovering from the disruption.
From: NCSD Glossary, DHS Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
cyber incident
Related Term(s): event
Synonym(s): incident
cyber incident response plan
Synonym(s): incident response plan
cyber infrastructure
Definition: An electronic information and communications systems and services and the information contained therein.
Extended Definition: The information and communications systems and services composed of all hardware and software that process, store, and communicate information, or any combination of all of these elements: • Processing includes the creation, access, modification, and destruction of information. • Storage includes paper, magnetic, electronic, and all other media types. • Communications include sharing and distribution of information.
From: NIPP
cyber operations
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Performs activities to gather evidence on criminal or foreign intelligence entities in order to mitigate possible or real-time threats, protect against espionage or insider threats, foreign sabotage, international terrorist activities, or to support other intelligence activities.
From: NICE Framework
cyber operations planning
Definition: in the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Performs in-depth joint targeting and cyber planning process. Gathers information and develops detailed Operational Plans and Orders supporting requirements. Conducts strategic and operational-level planning across the full range of operations for integrated information and cyberspace operations.
From: NICE Framework
cyber threat intelligence (CTI)
Definition: The collecting, processing, organizing, and analyzing data into actionable information that relates to capabilities, opportunities, actions, and intent of adversaries in the cyber domain to meet a specific requirement determined by and informing decision-makers.
From: ICD 203, CIA, SANS, Dragos, Carnegie Mellon
Definition: a malicious and deliberate attempt to breach the information system
Definition: or cyber spying, is a type of cyberattack in which an unauthorized user attempts to access sensitive or classified data or intellectual property (IP) for economic gain, competitive advantage or political reasons
Definition: the process of hardening technologies, processes, and controls to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber attacks
Definition: The activity or process, ability or capability, or state whereby information and communications systems and the information contained therein are protected from and/or defended against damage, unauthorized use or modification, or exploitation.
Extended Definition: Strategy, policy, and standards regarding the security of and operations in cyberspace, and encompass[ing] the full range of threat reduction, vulnerability reduction, deterrence, international engagement, incident response, resiliency, and recovery policies and activities, including computer network operations, information assurance, law enforcement, diplomacy, military, and intelligence missions as they relate to the security and stability of the global information and communications infrastructure.
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, NIPP, DHS National Preparedness Goal; White House Cyberspace Policy Review, May 2009
Definition: knowing what security threats are and acting responsibly to avoid potential risks.
Definition: refers to anything that has the potential to cause serious harm to a computer system
Extended Definition: A cyberthreat is something that may or may not happen, but has the potential to cause serious damage. Cyberthreats can lead to attacks on computer systems, networks and more.
Definition: typically defined as a set of actions by a nation or organization to attack countries or institutions' computer network systems with the intention of disrupting, damaging, or destroying infrastructure by computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks
Definition: an individual who participates in cyberwarfare, motivated either by personal, patriotic, or religious reasons, but not due to professional requirement

Letter: D

data administration
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Develops and administers databases and/or data management systems that allow for the storage, query, and utilization of data.
From: NICE Framework
data aggregation
Definition: The process of gathering and combining data from different sources, so that the combined data reveals new information.
Extended Definition: The new information is more sensitive than the individual data elements themselves and the person who aggregates the data was not granted access to the totality of the information.
Related Term(s): data mining
From: CNSSI 4009
data breach
Definition: The unauthorized movement or disclosure of sensitive information to a party, usually outside the organization, that is not authorized to have or see the information.
Related Term(s): data loss, data theft, exfiltration
data integrity
Definition: The property that data is complete, intact, and trusted and has not been modified or destroyed in an unauthorized or accidental manner.
Related Term(s): integrity, system integrity
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-27
data leakage
Synonym(s): data breach
data loss
Definition: The result of unintentionally or accidentally deleting data, forgetting where it is stored, or exposure to an unauthorized party.
Related Term(s): data leakage, data theft
data loss prevention
Definition: A set of procedures and mechanisms to stop sensitive data from leaving a security boundary.
Related Term(s): data loss, data theft, data leak
From: Liu, S., & Kuhn, R. (2010, March/April). Data loss prevention. IEEE IT Professional, 11(2), pp. 10-13.
data mining
Definition: The process or techniques used to analyze large sets of existing information to discover previously unrevealed patterns or correlations.
Related Term(s): data aggregation
From: DHS personnel
data spill
Synonym(s): data breach
data theft
Definition: The deliberate or intentional act of stealing of information.
Related Term(s): data aggregation, data leakage, data loss
Definition: a collaborative data management practice focused on improving the communication, integration and automation of data flows between data managers and data consumers across an organization
Acronym Expansion: Database as a service
Definition: a cloud database offering that provides customers with access to a database without having to deploy and manage the underlying infrastructure
Acronym Expansion: Distributed Denial-of-Service 
Definition: a cybercrime in which the attacker floods a target with internet traffic to prevent users from accessing connected online services and sites
Definition: an information security strategy to strengthens an organization's security posture by implementing multiple levels of protection, including inherently secure computer systems and protocols, high-level encryption, and authentication
Definition: To revoke the authentication of; to cause no longer to be authenticated.
Extended Definition: A deauthentication attack is a type of Denial of Service (DoS) attack and refers to an unauthorized disruption of the connection between a wireless device and its access point.
Definition: To convert enciphered text to plain text by means of a cryptographic system.
Synonym(s): decode, decrypt
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: To convert encoded text to plain text by means of a code.
Synonym(s): decipher, decrypt
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: A generic term encompassing decode and decipher.
Synonym(s): decipher, decode
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: The process of transforming ciphertext into its original plaintext.
Extended Definition: The process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood.
Synonym(s): decode, decrypt, decipher
From: ICAM SAML 2.0 WB SSO Profile 1.0.2
Definition: A tool, or set of tools, used to decrypt encrypted files. Either for recovery or anti-ransomware purposes.
Definition: synthetic media that have been digitally manipulated to replace one person's likeness convincingly with that of another
Acronym Expansion: Defense Readiness Condition
denial of service
Definition: An attack that prevents or impairs the authorized use of information system resources or services.
From: NCSD Glossary
designed-in security
Synonym(s): Build Security In
Definition: the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization's ability to deliver applications and services
Acronym Expansion: development, security, and operations
Definition: an approach to culture, automation, and platform design that integrates security as a shared responsibility throughout the entire IT lifecycle
Acronym Expansion: Department of Homeland Security
digital forensics
Definition: The processes and specialized techniques for gathering, retaining, and analyzing system-related data (digital evidence) for investigative purposes.
Extended Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Collects, processes, preserves, analyzes, and presents computer-related evidence in support of network vulnerability, mitigation, and/or criminal, fraud, counterintelligence or law enforcement investigations.
Synonym(s): computer forensics, forensics
From: CNSSI 4009; From: NICE Framework
digital rights management
Definition: A form of access control technology to protect and manage use of digital content or devices in accordance with the content or device provider's intentions.
digital signature
Definition: A value computed with a cryptographic process using a private key and then appended to a data object, thereby digitally signing the data.
Related Term(s): electronic signature
From: CNSSI 4009, IETF RFC 2828, ICAM SAML 2.0 WB SSO Profile 1.0.2, InCommon Glossary, NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1
Definition: One who propagates disinformation
Definition: An event which causes unplanned interruption in operations or functions for an unacceptable length of time.
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: a category of malware designed to suspend operations within a target through the compromise of the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of the systems, networks, and data
Related Term(s): Threatware
distributed denial of service
Definition: A denial of service technique that uses numerous systems to perform the attack simultaneously.
Related Term(s): denial of service, botnet
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: A Linux distribution is an operating system made from a software collection that includes the Linux kernel and often a package management system.
Related Term(s): Distro
Definition: generates a list of similarly looking domain names for a given domain name and performs DNS queries for them (A, AAAA, NS and MX) which can be used to intercept misdirected traffic.
Acronym Expansion: Department of Defense
Acronym Expansion: Department of Education
Definition: using search techniques to hack into vulnerable sites or search for information that is not available in public search results
Acronym Expansion: Denial of Service
Related Term(s): Denial of Service
Definition: A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) describes a process designed to identify risks arising out of the processing of personal data and to minimize these risks as far and as early as possible
Extended Definition: DPIAs are important tools for negating risk, and for demonstrating compliance with the GDPR.
dynamic attack surface
Definition: The automated, on-the-fly changes of an information system's characteristics to thwart actions of an adversary.
From: DHS personnel

Letter: E

Acronym Expansion: Security Essential Body of Knowledge
Definition: criminal activity that involves the use of computers or networks such as the internet
education and training
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Conducts training of personnel within pertinent subject domain; develop, plan, coordinate, deliver, and/or evaluate training courses, methods, and techniques as appropriate.
From: NICE Framework
Acronym Expansion: Enterprise Human Resources Integration
electronic signature
Definition: Any mark in electronic form associated with an electronic document, applied with the intent to sign the document.
Related Term(s): digital signature
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: To convert plaintext to ciphertext by means of a cryptographic system.
Synonym(s): encode, encrypt
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: To convert plaintext to ciphertext by means of a code.
Synonym(s): encipher, encrypt
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: The generic term encompassing encipher and encode.
Synonym(s): encipher, encode
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: The process of transforming plaintext into ciphertext.
Extended Definition: Converting data into a form that cannot be easily understood by unauthorized people.
Synonym(s): encode, encrypt, encipher
From: CNSSI 4009, ICAM SAML 2.0 WB SSO Profile 1.0.2
Acronym Expansion: The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity
Extended Definition: Established in 2004 and strengthened by the EU Cybersecurity Act, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity contributes to EU cyber policy, enhances the trustworthiness of ICT products, services and processes with cybersecurity certification schemes, cooperates with Member States and EU bodies, and helps Europe prepare for the cyber challenges of tomorrow.
enterprise risk management
Definition: A comprehensive approach to risk management that engages people, processes, and systems across an organization to improve the quality of decision making for managing risks that may hinder an organization’s ability to achieve its objectives.
Extended Definition: Involves identifying mission dependencies on enterprise capabilities, identifying and prioritizing risks due to defined threats, implementing countermeasures to provide both a static risk posture and an effective dynamic response to active threats; and assessing enterprise performance against threats and adjusts countermeasures as necessary.
Related Term(s): risk management, integrated risk management, risk
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, CNSSI 4009
Definition: An observable occurrence in an information system or network.
Extended Definition: Sometimes provides an indication that an incident is occurring or at least raise the suspicion that an incident may be occurring.
Related Term(s): incident
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: The unauthorized transfer of information from an information system.
Related Term(s): data breach
From: NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Definition: A technique to breach the security of a network or information system in violation of security policy.
From: ISO/IEC 27039 (draft), DHS personnel
exploitation analysis
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Analyzes collected information to identify vulnerabilities and potential for exploitation.
From: NICE Framework
Definition: The condition of being unprotected, thereby allowing access to information or access to capabilities that an attacker can use to enter a system or network.
From: NCSD glossary

Letter: F

Acronym Expansion: Function as a Service
Definition: a cloud-computing service that allows customers to execute code in response to events, without managing the complex infrastructure
Definition: The inability of a system or component to perform its required functions within specified performance requirements.
From: NCSD Glossary
Acronym Expansion: Frequently Asked Questions
Acronym Expansion: Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program
Definition: a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services
Acronym Expansion: Federal Virtual Training Environment
FedVTE Live!
Acronym Expansion: Federal Virtual Training Environment Live!
Acronym Expansion: Federal Emergency Management Agency
Definition: A capability to limit network traffic between networks and/or information systems.
Extended Definition: A hardware/software device or a software program that limits network traffic according to a set of rules of what access is and is not allowed or authorized.
From: CNSSI 4009
Acronym Expansion: Federal Information Security Management Act
Acronym Expansion: Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association
Acronym Expansion: Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
Acronym Expansion: Freedom of Information Act
Definition: an ethical hacking technique used to gather as much data as possible about a specific targeted computer system, an infrastructure and networks to identify opportunities to penetrate them
Synonym(s): digital forensics
Definition: an automated software testing method that injects invalid, malformed, or unexpected inputs into a system to reveal software defects and vulnerabilities

Letter: G

Acronym Expansion: Government Accountability Office
Definition: to set up triggers so that when a device such as an internet-connected smartphone enters a defined geographical boundary, the user gets an alert
Definition: the distribution of mission-critical components or infrastructures across multiple geographic locations
Extended Definition: Geo-redundancy acts as a safety in case of primary site failures or in the event of a disaster or an outage that impacts a region.
Acronym Expansion: Government Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams

Letter: H

Definition: a gathering  of individuals from various backgrounds and different stages in their careers (hobbyist to professionals) to solve problems of common interest.
Definition: An unauthorized user who attempts to or gains access to an information system.
From: CNSSI 4009
hash value
Definition: A numeric value resulting from applying a mathematical algorithm against a set of data such as a file.
Related Term(s): hashing
Synonym(s): cryptographic hash value
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: A process of applying a mathematical algorithm against a set of data to produce a numeric value (a 'hash value') that represents the data.
Extended Definition: Mapping a bit string of arbitrary length to a fixed length bit string to produce the hash value.
Related Term(s): hash value
From: CNSSI 4009, FIPS 201-2
Definition: A natural or man-made source or cause of harm or difficulty.
Related Term(s): threat
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
Acronym Expansion: Human Capital
Acronym Expansion: Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework
Acronym Expansion: Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Definition: a network set up with intentional vulnerabilities hosted on a decoy server to attract hackers
Definition: a computer security mechanism set to detect, deflect, or, in some manner, counteract attempts at unauthorized use of information
Related Term(s): Honeypot
Definition: a computer security mechanism set to detect, deflect, or, in some manner, counteract attempts at unauthorized use of information
Related Term(s): Honeyport
Definition: is data that looks attractive to cyber criminals but is actually false or of no value
Extended Definition: a fake IT resource created and positioned in a system or network to appear to a cyber criminals to be of value, but is actually used to allow tracking and detection of hacking attempts
Related Term(s): Honeypot
Acronym Expansion: Headquarters
Acronym Expansion: Human Resources
Acronym Expansion: HyperText Markup Language

Letter: I

Acronym Expansion: Innovation Corps
Acronym Expansion: Information Assurance
Acronym Expansion:
  • Information Assurance Component
  • infrastructure as code
Definition: The process of managing and provisioning an organization’s IT infrastructure using machine-readable configuration files, rather than employing physical hardware configuration or interactive configuration tools.
Acronym Expansion: Intelligence Community
Acronym Expansion: Interagency Coordinating Council
Acronym Expansion: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Acronym Expansion: Integrated Cybersecurity Education Communities
Acronym Expansion: Information and Communication Technology
ict supply chain threat
Definition: A man-made threat achieved through exploitation of the information and communications technology (ICT) system’s supply chain, including acquisition processes.
Related Term(s): supply chain, threat
Acronym Expansion: identity as a Service
Definition: a cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) offered by a third-party provider
identity and access management
Definition: The methods and processes used to manage subjects and their authentication and authorizations to access specific objects.
Acronym Expansion: Individual Development Plan
Acronym Expansion: Intrusion Detection and Prevention System
Definition: Software that automates the process of monitoring the events occurring in a computer system or network and analyzing them for signs of possible incidents and attempting to stop detected possible incidents
Acronym Expansion: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Acronym Expansion: Industrial Internet of Things
Definition: the collection of sensors, instruments and autonomous devices connected through the internet to industrial applications
Synonym(s): consequence
Definition: An attack type targeted phishing attack where a malicious actor pretends to be someone else or other entities to steal sensitive data
Definition: An occurrence that actually or potentially results in adverse consequences to (adverse effects on) (poses a threat to) an information system or the information that the system processes, stores, or transmits and that may require a response action to mitigate the consequences.
Extended Definition: An occurrence that constitutes a violation or imminent threat of violation of security policies, security procedures, or acceptable use policies.
Related Term(s): event
From: CNSSI 4009, FIPS 200, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, ISSG
incident management
Definition: The management and coordination of activities associated with an actual or potential occurrence of an event that may result in adverse consequences to information or information systems.
From: NCSD Glossary, ISSG NCPS Target Architecture Glossary
incident response
Definition: The activities that address the short-term, direct effects of an incident and may also support short-term recovery.
Extended Definition: In the Workforce framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Responds to crisis or urgent situations within the pertinent domain to mitigate immediate and potential threats; uses mitigation, preparedness, and response and recovery approaches, as needed, to maximize survival of life, preservation of property, and information security. Investigates and analyzes all relevant response activities.
Related Term(s): recovery
Synonym(s): response
From: Workforce Framework
incident response plan
Definition: A set of predetermined and documented procedures to detect and respond to a cyber incident.
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: An occurrence or sign that an incident may have occurred or may be in progress.
Related Term(s): precursor
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-61 Rev 2 (DRAFT), ISSG V1.2 Database
industrial control system
Definition: An information system used to control industrial processes such as manufacturing, product handling, production, and distribution or to control infrastructure assets.
Related Term(s): Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, Operations Technology
From: NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, NIST SP 800-82
information and communication(s) technology
Definition: Any information technology, equipment, or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that processes, transmits, receives, or interchanges data or information.
Related Term(s): information technology
From: The Access Board's 2011 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Section 508
information assurance
Definition: The measures that protect and defend information and information systems by ensuring their availability, integrity, and confidentiality.
Related Term(s): information security
From: CNSSI 4009
information assurance compliance
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Oversees, evaluates, and supports the documentation, validation, and accreditation processes necessary to assure that new IT systems meet the organization's information assurance and security requirements; ensures appropriate treatment of risk, compliance, and assurance from internal and external perspectives.
From: NICE Framework
information security policy
Definition: An aggregate of directives, regulations, rules, and practices that prescribe how an organization manages, protects, and distributes information.
Related Term(s): security policy
From: CNSSI 4009; NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
information sharing
Definition: An exchange of data, information, and/or knowledge to manage risks or respond to incidents.
From: NCSD glossary
information system resilience
Definition: The ability of an information system to: (1) continue to operate under adverse conditions or stress, even if in a degraded or debilitated state, while maintaining essential operational capabilities; and (2) recover effectively in a timely manner.
Related Term(s): resilience
From: NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
information systems security operations
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Oversees the information assurance program of an information system in or outside the network environment; may include procurement duties (e.g., Information Systems Security Office
From: NICE Framework
information technology
Definition: Any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that processes, transmits, receives, or interchanges data or information.
Related Term(s): information and communication(s) technology
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 rev. 4, based on 40 U.S.C. sec. 1401
Acronym Expansion: Information Security
Definition: the processes and tools designed and deployed to protect sensitive business information from modification, disruption, destruction, and inspection
inside( r) threat
Definition: A person or group of persons within an organization who pose a potential risk through violating security policies.
Extended Definition: One or more individuals with the access and/or inside knowledge of a company, organization, or enterprise that would allow them to exploit the vulnerabilities of that entity's security, systems, services, products, or facilities with the intent to cause harm.
Related Term(s): outside( r) threat
From: CNSSI 4009; From: NIAC Final Report and Recommendations on the Insider Threat to Critical Infrastructure, 2008
integrated risk management
Definition: The structured approach that enables an enterprise or organization to share risk information and risk analysis and to synchronize independent yet complementary risk management strategies to unify efforts across the enterprise.
Related Term(s): risk management, enterprise risk management
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
Definition: The property whereby information, an information system, or a component of a system has not been modified or destroyed in an unauthorized manner.
Extended Definition: A state in which information has remained unaltered from the point it was produced by a source, during transmission, storage, and eventual receipt by the destination.
Related Term(s): availability, confidentiality, data integrity, system integrity
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, 44 U.S.C., Sec 3542, SANS; From SAFE-BioPharma Certificate Policy 2.5
Definition: A state of mind or desire to achieve an objective.
Related Term(s): capability
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
Definition: The ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.
From: IEEE Standard Computer Dictionary, DHS personnel
Definition: An unauthorized act of bypassing the security mechanisms of a network or information system.
Synonym(s): penetration
From: CNSSI 4009
intrusion detection
Definition: The process and methods for analyzing information from networks and information systems to determine if a security breach or security violation has occurred.
From: CNSSI 4009, ISO/IEC 27039 (draft)
Definition: a NICE Framework category consisting of specialty areas responsible for the investigation of cyber events and/or crimes of IT systems, networks, and digital evidence
From: NICE Framework
Definition: A systematic and formal inquiry into a qualified threat or incident using digital forensics and perhaps other traditional criminal inquiry techniques to determine the events that transpired and to collect evidence.
Extended Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Applies tactics, techniques, and procedures for a full range of investigative tools and processes to include but not limited to interview and interrogation techniques, surveillance, counter surveillance, and surveillance detection, and appropriately balances the benefits of prosecution versus intelligence gathering.
From: ISSG V1.2 Database; Conrad, E., Misenauer, S., & Feldman, J. (2010). CISSP® Study Guide. Burlington, MA: Syngress; From: NICE Workforce Framework
Acronym Expansion: Indicators of Attack
Definition: a clue that a malicious entity has gained, or is attempting to gain, unauthorised access to the network or assets connected to the network
Acronym Expansion: Indicators of Compromise
Definition: clues and evidence of a data breach
Acronym Expansion: Internet Protocol Security
Definition: a set of communication rules or protocols for setting up secure connections over a network
Extended Definition: Internet Protocol (IP) is the common standard that determines how data travels over the internet. IPSec adds encryption and authentication to make the protocol more secure.
Acronym Expansion: International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium
Acronym Expansion: Information Technology
it asset
Synonym(s): asset
Acronym Expansion: IT service management
Acronym Expansion: IT Workforce Assessment for Cybersecurity

Letter: K

Definition: a tool that record what a person types on a device
Extended Definition: While there are legitimate and legal uses for keyloggers, many uses for keyloggers are malicious
Definition: Repositories that contain cryptographic artifacts like certificates and private keys that are used for cryptographic protocols such as TLS
knowledge management
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Manages and administers processes and tools that enable the organization to identify, document, and access intellectual capital and information content.
From: NICE Framework
Acronym Expansion: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Letter: L

Acronym Expansion: Logging as a service
Definition: an IT architectural model for centrally ingesting and collecting any type of log files coming from any given source or location such as servers, applications, and devices
Acronym Expansion: Language Security
Definition: a design and programming philosophy that focuses on formally correct and verifiable input handling throughout all phases of the software development lifecycle
legal advice and advocacy
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Provides legally sound advice and recommendations to leadership and staff on a variety of relevant topics within the pertinent subject domain; advocates legal and policy changes and makes a case on behalf of client via a wide range of written and oral work products, including legal briefs and proceedings.
From: NICE Framework

Letter: M

machine learning and evolution
Definition: A field concerned with designing and developing artificial intelligence algorithms for automated knowledge discovery and innovation by information systems.
From: DHS personnel
macro virus
Definition: A type of malicious code that attaches itself to documents and uses the macro programming capabilities of the document’s application to execute, replicate, and spread or propagate itself.
Related Term(s): virus
From: CNSSI 4009
malicious applet
Definition: A small application program that is automatically downloaded and executed and that performs an unauthorized function on an information system.
Related Term(s): malicious code
From: CNSSI 4009
malicious code
Definition: Program code intended to perform an unauthorized function or process that will have adverse impact on the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information system.
Extended Definition: Includes software, firmware, and scripts.
Related Term(s): malicious logic
From: CNSSI 4009. NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
malicious logic
Definition: Hardware, firmware, or software that is intentionally included or inserted in a system to perform an unauthorized function or process that will have adverse impact on the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information system.
Related Term(s): malicious code
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: a malicious attack that involves injecting harmful code into legitimate online advertising networks
Definition: Software that compromises the operation of a system by performing an unauthorized function or process.
Synonym(s): malicious code, malicious applet, malicious logic
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-83
Acronym Expansion: MD Cyber Challenge and Conference
Definition: A shared, immersive, persistent, 3D virtual space where humans experience life in ways they could not in the physical world
Related Term(s): virtual reality
Definition: The application of one or more measures to reduce the likelihood of an unwanted occurrence and/or lessen its consequences.
Extended Definition: Implementing appropriate risk-reduction controls based on risk management priorities and analysis of alternatives.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Acronym Expansion: Man in the Middle
Definition: a man-in-the-middle attack is a cyberattack where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two parties who believe that they are directly communicating
moving target defense
Definition: The presentation of a dynamic attack surface, increasing an adversary's work factor necessary to probe, attack, or maintain presence in a cyber target.
From: DHS personnel
Acronym Expansion: Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center

Letter: N

Acronym Expansion: National Academy of Sciences
Acronym Expansion: National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence
Extended Definition: A NIST public-private partnership that enables the creation of practical cybersecurity solutions for specific industries or broad, cross-sector technology challenges
Acronym Expansion: National Cybersecurity Education Council
Acronym Expansion: National Cryptologic School
Acronym Expansion: National Cyber Security Alliance
Acronym Expansion: National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Acronym Expansion: National Cyber Security Division
network resilience
Definition: The ability of a network to: (1) provide continuous operation (i.e., highly resistant to disruption and able to operate in a degraded mode if damaged); (2) recover effectively if failure does occur; and (3) scale to meet rapid or unpredictable demands.
From: CNSSI 4009
network services
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Installs, configures, tests, operates, maintains, and manages networks and their firewalls, including hardware (e.g., hubs, bridges, switches, multiplexers, routers, cables, proxy servers, and protective distributor systems) and software that permit the sharing and transmission of all spectrum transmissions of information to support the security of information and information systems.
From: NICE Framework
Acronym Expansion: National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies
Acronym Expansion: National Institute of Standards and Technology
Acronym Expansion: Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation
Definition: A property achieved through cryptographic methods to protect against an individual or entity falsely denying having performed a particular action related to data.
Extended Definition: Provides the capability to determine whether a given individual took a particular action such as creating information, sending a message, approving information, and receiving a message.
Related Term(s): integrity, authenticity
From: CNSSI 4009; From: NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Acronym Expansion: National Protection and Programs Directorate
Acronym Expansion: National Resource Directory
Acronym Expansion: National Security Agency
Acronym Expansion: National Science Foundation
Acronym Expansion: National Vulnerability Database

Letter: O

Acronym Expansion: Open Authorization standard
Definition: an open-standard authorization protocol or framework that provides applications the ability for secure designated access
Definition: A passive information system-related entity containing or receiving information.
Related Term(s): subject, access, access control
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Acronym Expansion: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Acronym Expansion: Offensive Security
Definition: the proactive approach to securing networks and systems from attacks by actively seeking out vulnerabilities and weaknesses
Acronym Expansion: Open Indicators of Compromise
Definition: an extensible XML schema that enables you to describe the technical characteristics that identify a known threat, an attacker's methodology, or other evidence of compromise
operate & maintain
Definition: A NICE Framework category consisting of specialty areas responsible for providing the support, administration, and maintenance necessary to ensure effective and efficient IT system performance and security.
From: NICE Framework
operational exercise
Definition: An action-based exercise where personnel rehearse reactions to an incident scenario, drawing on their understanding of plans and procedures, roles, and responsibilities.
Extended Definition: Also referred to as operations-based exercise.
From: DHS Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
operations technology
Definition: The hardware and software systems used to operate industrial control devices.
Related Term(s): Industrial Control System
From: DHS personnel
Acronym Expansion: Office of Personnel Management
outside( r) threat
Definition: A person or group of persons external to an organization who are not authorized to access its assets and pose a potential risk to the organization and its assets.
Related Term(s): inside( r) threat
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: an undesirable machine learning behavior that occurs when the machine learning model gives accurate predictions for training data but not for new data
oversight & development
Definition: A NICE Framework category consisting of specialty areas providing leadership, management, direction, and/or development and advocacy so that all individuals and the organization may effectively conduct cybersecurity work.
From: NICE Framework

Letter: P

Acronym Expansion: Platform as a Service
Definition: a cloud computing model where a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools to users over the internet
passive attack
Definition: An actual assault perpetrated by an intentional threat source that attempts to learn or make use of information from a system, but does not attempt to alter the system, its resources, its data, or its operations.
Related Term(s): active attack
From: IETF RFC 4949, NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1
Definition: A string of characters (letters, numbers, and other symbols) used to authenticate an identity or to verify access authorization.
From: FIPS 140-2
Definition: an authentication method in which a user can log in to a computer system without the entering a password or any other knowledge-based secret
Acronym Expansion: President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
pen test
Definition: A colloquial term for penetration test or penetration testing.
From: penetration testing
Synonym(s): intrusion
penetration testing
Definition: An evaluation methodology whereby assessors search for vulnerabilities and attempt to circumvent the security features of a network and/or information system.
From: NCSD Glossary, CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Acronym Expansion: Penetration tester
Definition: An information security expert who performs penetration tests
personal identifying information / personally identifiable information
Definition: The information that permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred.
From: NCSD Glossary, CNSSI 4009, GAO Report 08-356, as cited in NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1
Definition: A digital form of social engineering to deceive individuals into providing sensitive information.
From: NCSD Glossary, CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1
Acronym Expansion: Personally Identifiable Information
Acronym Expansion: Personal Identity Verification
Definition: an identification card issued by a federal agency that contains a computer chip, which allows it to receive, store, recall, and send information in a secure method
Definition: Unencrypted information.
Related Term(s): ciphertext
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: An observable occurrence or sign that an attacker may be preparing to cause an incident.
Related Term(s): indicator
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-61 Rev 2 (DRAFT)
Definition: The activities to build, sustain, and improve readiness capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from natural or manmade incidents.
From: NIPP
Definition: The assurance that the confidentiality of, and access to, certain information about an entity is protected.
Extended Definition: The ability of individuals to understand and exercise control over how information about themselves may be used by others.
From: NIST SP 800-130; Adapted from: DHS personnel
private key
Definition: A cryptographic key that must be kept confidential and is used to enable the operation of an asymmetric (public key) cryptographic algorithm.
Extended Definition: The secret part of an asymmetric key pair that is uniquely associated with an entity.
Related Term(s): public key, asymmetric cryptography
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1, FIPS 201-2, FIPS 140-2, Federal Bridge Certificate Authority Certification Policy 2.25
protect & defend
Definition: A NICE Framework category consisting of specialty areas responsible for the identification, analysis, and mitigation of threats to internal IT systems or networks.
From: NICE Framework
Definition: a malicious technique where an attacker gains control over a target's proxy server, allowing them to intercept and manipulate the targets internet traffic
Acronym Expansion: Pentest as a Service
Definition: a hybrid solution that combines the breadth of automation with the depth of human assessment, while integrated with advanced vulnerability management and analytics
public key
Definition: A cryptographic key that may be widely published and is used to enable the operation of an asymmetric (public key) cryptographic algorithm.
Extended Definition: The public part of an asymmetric key pair that is uniquely associated with an entity and that may be made public.
Related Term(s): private key, asymmetric cryptography
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1, FIPS 201-2, FIPS 140-2, Federal Bridge Certificate Authority Certification Policy 2.25
public key cryptography
Definition: A branch of cryptography in which a cryptographic system or algorithms use two uniquely linked keys: a public key and a private key (a key pair).
Synonym(s): asymmetric cryptography, public key encryption
From: CNSSI 4009, FIPS 140-2, InCommon Glossary
public key encryption
Synonym(s): public key cryptography
public key infrastructure
Definition: A framework consisting of standards and services to enable secure, encrypted communication and authentication over potentially insecure networks such as the Internet.
Extended Definition: A framework and services for generating, producing, distributing, controlling, accounting for, and revoking (destroying) public key certificates.
From: CNSSI 4009, IETF RFC 2828, Federal Bridge Certificate Authority Cross-certification Methodology 3.0, InCommon Glossary, Kantara Identity Assurance Framework 1100, NIST SP 800-63 Rev 1

Letter: Q

Acronym Expansion: questions and answers

Letter: R

Definition: a malware designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer
Definition: The activities after an incident or event to restore essential services and operations in the short and medium term and fully restore all capabilities in the longer term.
From: NIPP
red team
Definition: A group authorized and organized to emulate a potential adversary’s attack or exploitation capabilities against an enterprise’s cybersecurity posture.
Related Term(s): Blue Team, White Team
From: CNSSI 4009
red team exercise
Definition: An exercise, reflecting real-world conditions, that is conducted as a simulated attempt by an adversary to attack or exploit vulnerabilities in an enterprise's information systems.
Related Term(s): cyber exercise
From: NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Definition: Additional or alternative systems, sub-systems, assets, or processes that maintain a degree of overall functionality in case of loss or failure of another system, sub-system, asset, or process.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
Definition: A technology that allows a program to interact with the internals of another program running on a different machine
Definition: intentionally taking over the account of an owner or maintainer who hosts a repository
Definition: The ability to adapt to changing conditions and prepare for, withstand, and rapidly recover from disruption.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
Definition: The activities that address the short-term, direct effects of an incident and may also support short-term recovery.
Extended Definition: In cybersecurity, response encompasses both automated and manual activities.
Related Term(s): recovery
From: National Infrastructure Protection Plan, NCPS Target Architecture Glossary
response plan
Synonym(s): incident response plan
Definition: The potential for an unwanted or adverse outcome resulting from an incident, event, or occurrence, as determined by the likelihood that a particular threat will exploit a particular vulnerability, with the associated consequences.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, NIPP and adapted from: CNSSI 4009, FIPS 200, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, SAFE-BioPharma Certificate Policy 2.5
risk analysis
Definition: The systematic examination of the components and characteristics of risk.
Related Term(s): risk assessment, risk
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
risk assessment
Definition: The product or process which collects information and assigns values to risks for the purpose of informing priorities, developing or comparing courses of action, and informing decision making.
Extended Definition: The appraisal of the risks facing an entity, asset, system, or network, organizational operations, individuals, geographic area, other organizations, or society, and includes determining the extent to which adverse circumstances or events could result in harmful consequences.
Related Term(s): risk analysis, risk
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
risk management
Definition: The process of identifying, analyzing, assessing, and communicating risk and accepting, avoiding, transferring or controlling it to an acceptable level considering associated costs and benefits of any actions taken.
Extended Definition: Includes: 1) conducting a risk assessment; 2) implementing strategies to mitigate risks; 3) continuous monitoring of risk over time; and 4) documenting the overall risk management program.
Related Term(s): enterprise risk management, integrated risk management, risk
From: DHS Risk Lexicon and Adapted from: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
risk mitigation
Synonym(s): mitigation
risk-based data management
Definition: A structured approach to managing risks to data and information by which an organization selects and applies appropriate security controls in compliance with policy and commensurate with the sensitivity and value of the data.
From: DHS personnel
Definition: A set of software tools with administrator-level access privileges installed on an information system and designed to hide the presence of the tools, maintain the access privileges, and conceal the activities conducted by the tools.
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: A real-time operating system (RTOS) is an OS that guarantees real-time applications a certain capability within a specified deadline.
Extended Definition: In an RTOS, repeated tasks are performed within a tight time boundary, while in a general-purpose operating system, this is not necessarily so

Letter: S

Acronym Expansion: Specialty Area
Acronym Expansion: Security Assessment and Authorization
Acronym Expansion: Senate Appropriations Committee
Acronym Expansion: System Administration, Networking, and Security Institute
Definition: a cyberattack tactic that frightens people into visiting spoofed or infected websites or downloading malicious software (malware)
Acronym Expansion: Security as a Service
Definition: a cloud-based method of outsourcing your cybersecurity
Definition: a software development methodology that places security concerns first in planning and development
Definition: a combination of the terms security and operations, is a methodology that IT managers implement to enhance the connection, collaboration and communication between IT security and IT operations teams
secret key
Definition: A cryptographic key that is used for both encryption and decryption, enabling the operation of a symmetric key cryptography scheme.
Extended Definition: Also, a cryptographic algorithm that uses a single key (i.e., a secret key) for both encryption of plaintext and decryption of ciphertext.
Related Term(s): symmetric key
From: CNSSI 4009
securely provision
Definition: A NICE Framework category consisting of specialty areas concerned with conceptualizing, designing, and building secure IT systems, with responsibility for some aspect of the systems' development.
From: NICE Framework
security automation
Definition: The use of information technology in place of manual processes for cyber incident response and management.
From: DHS personnel
security incident
Synonym(s): incident
security policy
Definition: A rule or set of rules that govern the acceptable use of an organization's information and services to a level of acceptable risk and the means for protecting the organization's information assets.
Extended Definition: A rule or set of rules applied to an information system to provide security services.
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4, NIST SP 800-130, OASIS SAML Glossary 2.0
security program management
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Manages information security (e.g., information security) implications within the organization, specific program, or other area of responsibility, to include strategic, personnel, infrastructure, policy enforcement, emergency planning, security awareness, and other resources (e.g., the role of a Chief Information Security Officer).
From: NICE Framework
Acronym Expansion: Scholarship for Service
Acronym Expansion: Security information and event management
Definition: a security solution that helps organizations detect threats before they disrupt business
Definition: A recognizable, distinguishing pattern.
Extended Definition: Types of signatures: attack signature, digital signature, electronic signature.
From: CNSSI 4009; Adapted from: NIST SP 800-94
Acronym Expansion: Special Interest Group on Software Engineering
situational awareness
Definition: Comprehending information about the current and developing security posture and risks, based on information gathered, observation and analysis, and knowledge or experience.
Extended Definition: In cybersecurity, comprehending the current status and security posture with respect to availability, confidentiality, and integrity of networks, systems, users, and data, as well as projecting future states of these.
From: CNSSI 4009, DHS personnel, National Response Framework
Definition: an attack tool designed to take down a server by flooding it with incomplete HTTP requests, without using much of bandwidth
Acronym Expansion: Subject Matter Expert
Definition: the fraudulent practice of sending text messages purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information
Extended Definition: Similar to Phishing, and Vishing
Related Term(s): Phishing
Acronym Expansion: Supervisory Office / NICCS Development Team
Acronym Expansion: Security Operations Center
Definition: an intelligence hub for the company, gathering data from across the organization's networks, servers, endpoints and other digital assets and using intelligent automation to identify, prioritize and respond to potential cybersecurity threats
Social Engineering
Definition: the use of deception to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential or personal information that may be used for fraudulent purposes
Acronym Expansion: Segregation of Duties
Extended Definition: an internal control designed to prevent error and fraud by ensuring that at least two individuals are responsible for the separate parts of any task.
software assurance
Definition: The level of confidence that software is free from vulnerabilities, either intentionally designed into the software or accidentally inserted at any time during its lifecycle, and that the software functions in the intended manner.
From: CNSSI 4009
software assurance and security engineering
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Develops and writes/codes new (or modifies existing) computer applications, software, or specialized utility programs following software assurance best practices.
From: NICE Framework
Definition: The abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages.
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: the process where hackers familiarize themselves with their targets in order to obtain credentials based on their activity
Related Term(s): phishing, smishing, vishing, social engineering
Synonym(s): data spill, data breach
Definition: Faking the sending address of a transmission to gain illegal [unauthorized] entry into a secure system.
Extended Definition: The deliberate inducement of a user or resource to take incorrect action. Note: Impersonating, masquerading, piggybacking, and mimicking are forms of spoofing.
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: Software that is secretly or surreptitiously installed into an information system without the knowledge of the system user or owner.
Related Term(s): keylogger
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
Acronym Expansion: System Reference Document
Acronym Expansion: Storage as a Service
Definition: a practice of using public cloud storage resources to store your data
Acronym Expansion: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
strategic planning and policy development
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Applies knowledge of priorities to define an entity.
From: NICE Framework
Definition: An individual, process, or device causing information to flow among objects or a change to the system state.
Extended Definition: An active entity.
Related Term(s): object, access, access control
From: NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4., CNSSI 4009
supervisory control and data acquisition
Definition: A generic name for a computerized system that is capable of gathering and processing data and applying operational controls to geographically dispersed assets over long distances.
Related Term(s): Industrial Control System
From: NCSD Glossary, CNSSI 4009
supply chain
Definition: A system of organizations, people, activities, information and resources, for creating and moving products including product components and/or services from suppliers through to their customers.
Related Term(s): supply chain risk management
From: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
supply chain risk management
Definition: The process of identifying, analyzing, and assessing supply chain risk and accepting, avoiding, transferring or controlling it to an acceptable level considering associated costs and benefits of any actions taken.
Related Term(s): supply chain
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, CNSSD 505
Definition: the physical opening where a data cable can be plugged in
symmetric cryptography
Definition: A branch of cryptography in which a cryptographic system or algorithms use the same secret key (a shared secret key).
From: CNSSI 4009, SANS
symmetric encryption algorithm
Synonym(s): symmetric cryptography
symmetric key
Definition: A cryptographic key that is used to perform both the cryptographic operation and its inverse, for example to encrypt plaintext and decrypt ciphertext, or create a message authentication code and to verify the code.
Extended Definition: Also, a cryptographic algorithm that uses a single key (i.e., a secret key) for both encryption of plaintext and decryption of ciphertext.
Related Term(s): secret key
From: CNSSI 4009
Acronym Expansion: System Operator
Definition: responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of servers, networks, and other IT infrastructure
Related Term(s): DevOp
system administration
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Installs, configures, troubleshoots, and maintains server configurations (hardware and software) to ensure their confidentiality, integrity, and availability; also manages accounts, firewalls, and patches; responsible for access control, passwords, and account creation and administration.
From: NICE Framework
system integrity
Definition: The attribute of an information system when it performs its intended function in an unimpaired manner, free from deliberate or inadvertent unauthorized manipulation of the system.
Related Term(s): integrity, data integrity
From: CNSSI 4009
systems development
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Works on the development phases of the systems development lifecycle.
From: NICE Framework
systems requirements planning
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Consults with customers to gather and evaluate functional requirements and translates these requirements into technical solutions; provides guidance to customers about applicability of information systems to meet business needs.
From: NICE Framework
systems security analysis
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Conducts the integration/testing, operations, and maintenance of systems security.
From: NICE Framework
systems security architecture
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Develops system concepts and works on the capabilities phases of the systems development lifecycle; translates technology and environmental conditions (e.g., law and regulation) into system and security designs and processes.
From: NICE Framework

Letter: T

tabletop exercise
Definition: A discussion-based exercise where personnel meet in a classroom setting or breakout groups and are presented with a scenario to validate the content of plans, procedures, policies, cooperative agreements or other information for managing an incident.
From: NCSD Glossary, DHS Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program
tailored trustworthy space
Definition: A cyberspace environment that provides a user with confidence in its security, using automated mechanisms to ascertain security conditions and adjust the level of security based on the user's context and in the face of an evolving range of threats.
From: National Science and Technology Council's Trustworthy Cyberspace: Strategic Plan for the Federal Cybersecurity Research and Development Program
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Applies current knowledge of one or more regions, countries, non-state entities, and/or technologies.
From: NICE Framework
technology research and development
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Conducts technology assessment and integration processes; provides and supports a prototype capability and/or evaluates its utility.
From: NICE Framework
test and evaluation
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Develops and conducts tests of systems to evaluate compliance with specifications and requirements by applying principles and methods for cost-effective planning, evaluating, verifying, and validating of technical, functional, and performance characteristics (including interoperability) of systems or elements of systems incorporating information technology.
From: NICE Framework
Definition: A circumstance or event that has or indicates the potential to exploit vulnerabilities and to adversely impact (create adverse consequences for) organizational operations, organizational assets (including information and information systems), individuals, other organizations, or society.
Extended Definition: Includes an individual or group of individuals, entity such as an organization or a nation), action, or occurrence.
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, NIPP, CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
threat actor
Synonym(s): threat agent
threat agent
Definition: An individual, group, organization, or government that conducts or has the intent to conduct detrimental activities.
Related Term(s): adversary, attacker
From: DHS Risk Lexicon
threat analysis
Definition: The detailed evaluation of the characteristics of individual threats.
Extended Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Identifies and assesses the capabilities and activities of cyber criminals or foreign intelligence entities; produces findings to help initialize or support law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations or activities.
From: DHS personnel; From NICE Framework
threat assessment
Definition: The product or process of identifying or evaluating entities, actions, or occurrences, whether natural or man-made, that have or indicate the potential to harm life, information, operations, and/or property.
Related Term(s): threat analysis
From: DHS Risk Lexicon and adapted from: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53, Rev 4
Definition: the spectrum of possible cybersecurity threats
Definition: a general term encompassing all types of malicious software on computers and electronic devices
Related Term(s): disruptionware
Definition: In access control, data that authenticates the identity of a client or a service and, together with a temporary encryption key (a session key), forms a credential.
From: IETF RFC 4120 Kerberos V5, July 2005; Conrad, E., Misenauer, S., & Feldman, J. (2010). CISSP® Study Guide. Burlington, MA: Syngress
Definition: a technique used in cybersecurity and digital forensics, where attackers modify the timestamps of files and directories on a computer system to hide their actions or impede investigations
Acronym Expansion: Talent Management Institute
traffic light protocol
Definition: A set of designations employing four colors (RED, AMBER, GREEN, and WHITE) used to ensure that sensitive information is shared with the correct audience.
Acronym Expansion: Technical Review Board
Definition: a type of malware that conceals its true content to fool a user into thinking it's a harmless file
Related Term(s): Trojan Horse, Trojanize, Trojaning
trojan horse
Definition: A computer program that appears to have a useful function, but also has a hidden and potentially malicious function that evades security mechanisms, sometimes by exploiting legitimate authorizations of a system entity that invokes the program.
From: CNSSI 4009
Related Term(s): Trojan, Trojan Horse
Definition: To convert into a Trojan
From: Trojan horse, Trojan
Acronym Expansion: Transportation and Security Administration
Definition: a form of cybersquatting (sitting on sites under someone else's brand or copyright) that targets Internet users who incorrectly type a website address into their web browser
Related Term(s): DNS Twist

Letter: U

unauthorized access
Definition: Any access that violates the stated security policy.
From: CNSSI 4009
Acronym Expansion: Uniform Resource Locator
Acronym Expansion: United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team
Acronym Expansion: U.S. Coast Guard
Acronym Expansion: Department of Agriculture
Acronym Expansion: U.S. Secret Service

Letter: V

Definition: creating virtual representations of servers, storage, networks, and other physical machines
Definition: A computer program that can replicate itself, infect a computer without permission or knowledge of the user, and then spread or propagate to another computer.
Related Term(s): macro virus
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: a hacking technique of defrauding target's over the phone, enticing them to divulge sensitive information
Related Term(s): Phishing
Acronym Expansion: Virtual Tunnel Interface
Definition: A characteristic or specific weakness that renders an organization or asset (such as information or an information system) open to exploitation by a given threat or susceptible to a given hazard.
Extended Definition: Characteristic of location or security posture or of design, security procedures, internal controls, or the implementation of any of these that permit a threat or hazard to occur. Vulnerability (expressing degree of vulnerability): qualitative or quantitative expression of the level of susceptibility to harm when a threat or hazard is realized.
Related Term(s): weakness
From: DHS Risk Lexicon, CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-53 Rev 4
vulnerability assessment and management
Definition: In the NICE Framework, cybersecurity work where a person: Conducts assessments of threats and vulnerabilities, determines deviations from acceptable configurations, enterprise or local policy, assesses the level of risk, and develops and/or recommends appropriate mitigation countermeasures in operational and non-operational situations.
From: NICE Framework

Letter: W

Definition: attackers searching for wireless networks with vulnerabilities while moving around an area in a moving vehicle
Definition: an interactive technique that immerses potential cyber incident responders in a simulated cyber scenario
Definition: A shortcoming or imperfection in software code, design, architecture, or deployment that, under proper conditions, could become a vulnerability or contribute to the introduction of vulnerabilities.
Related Term(s): vulnerability
From: ITU-T X.1520 CWE, FY 2013 CIO FISMA Reporting Metrics
Definition: an attacker creates malware or malicious payloads to use against the target by designing new forms of malware. Modifying existing programs to better match the vulnerabilities they're trying to exploit
Definition: to develop an exploit against a vulnerability into an attack tool that can be deployed against a target
white team
Definition: A group responsible for refereeing an engagement between a Red Team of mock attackers and a Blue Team of actual defenders of information systems.
Related Term(s): Blue Team, Red Team
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: a form of testing that is performed with knowledge of a target system's internals
Related Term(s): Blackbox
Acronym Expansion: Women in CyberSecurity
work factor
Definition: An estimate of the effort or time needed by a potential adversary, with specified expertise and resources, to overcome a protective measure.
From: CNSSI 4009
Definition: A self-replicating, self-propagating, self-contained program that uses networking mechanisms to spread itself.
From: CNSSI 4009

Letter: X

Acronym Expansion: Anything as a service
Definition: a general category of services related to cloud computing and remote access