cybersecurity terms

Cyber attacks can do severe damage to the reputation of your business, causing financial loss and eroding trust in your organisation. Unfortunately, cybercrime can affect even the most resilient business, and no firm –no matter how big or small –is immune.

Having a robust IT security strategy in place is essential if you want to improve your cybersecurity and protect your business. So how can you manage the risks at a time when cybercrime is so prevalent?

Understanding the kinds of threats you might face is the first step to building an appropriate security solution for your business. We’ve put together a list of cybersecurity terms to help you do just that.

Common cybersecurity terms you should know


DDoS (distributed denial of service) refers to an attack that tries to make a website or online server crash by flooding it with more data than it can handle. It is often carried out using botnets: a network of hacked computers or bots that are controlled remotely. 

Keystroke logger

Also known as a keylogger, this is a virus or software which secretly logs the keystrokes on a keyboard. It’s used to collect security details and other private data like passwords, credit card numbers and bank account information.


Malware is an umbrella cybersecurity term for malicious software that damages a computer. It covers everything from spyware to Trojans and viruses. Most businesses protect their devices using antivirus software, which is designed to block and remove infections.


This is where cybercriminals use emails or messages to trick people into divulging personal or sensitive data. The communications usually link to fake websites where your information is collected and used to hack into your bank account. A typical example is HMRC tax refund phishing emails.


This malware will stop you accessing files on your computer and threaten to erase everything unless you pay a ransom to recover them.

Threat actor

A threat actor is a person who is responsible for cyber attacks. For example, cybercriminals who operate phishing campaigns or hackers who target websites and damage the reputation of their owners are threat actors. 


A Trojan or Trojan horse is malware disguised as a regular file or legitimate software. It creates a back door in your security to let hackers access your computer or let other malware in.


Viruses attach themselves to clean files to damage a computer’s functionality or delete and corrupt files. It is called a virus because it can spread to other computers on the network. 


Worms are malware which replicate and infect networks of devices. They can attack both locally and across the internet, by using infected machines to infect more computers.

If you want to take a deeper dive into online safety and information security, you can visit the government’s Get Safe Online website.

Why understanding cybersecurity terms is important

Understanding common cybersecurity terms and potential threats to your firm makes good business sense. However, not all business owners and entrepreneurs have the time to get to grips with such a complex and ever-changing issue. 

If you run a business, you can save time and money by outsourcing your security to the experts. At City Business Solutions, we design and install effective security solutions to protect your sensitive data and ensure regulatory requirements are met. Let us help you protect your IT systems, while managing current and future risks, so you can focus on your clients.