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10 Computer Security Terms

10 Common IT Security Terms

Whilst we are aware of the need to stay safe online, we may not know what all of the security terms are when IT support companies talk about computer security.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ten of the most common IT security terms that you may come across with a brief explanation as to their meaning.


This is the software installed on your computer that identifies a range of online threats by scanning files and applications on your computer. The better antivirus packages will quaranteen or stop any viruses from entering your computer and are essential for everybody who uses a computer.


Encryption turns plain text into indecipherable numbers and characters, and is used to protect sensitive data, such as messages, passwords, credit card information and online transactions. Simply put, encryption scrambles the data so that it becomes unreadable until unscrambled, ensuring only those who you want to read your data can do so.


A firewall analyses all the traffic that enters and exits your network and can prevent intruders from getting into your device. It acts like a physical wall, stopping malicious software from ever entering your systems.


Malware is malicious software that has been designed to cause damage to your computer. Other cybersecurity threats such as viruses, worms, trojans and spyware are all forms of malware but have different purposes and capabilities.


When a cybercriminal sends you a malicious email, message or calls and asks you to provide personal information, including logins and credit card information, this is known as phishing.


Ransomware is the term used for when a hacker gains access to your computer, then steals or encrypts your data, and threatens to delete or leak this data online unless a ransom fee is paid.


Spyware is software installed on your computer that enables criminals to collect sensitive data such as all the activities that you or a business conducts online, what websites you visit, credit card information and account logins.


Trojans masquerade as legitimate websites and applications that trick you into providing personal information such as logins and credit card numbers, and can gain remote access to infected computers, spying on you and sending messages.


A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is software that creates a secure, private network that enables you to browse the internet anonymously and keeps your data secure. 

Zero Day

This is a security flaw in a piece of software that has yet to be discovered and corrected by the manufacturer through a software update.

These 10 computer security terms cover some of the most usual words you will come across, but if there is something missing here that you would like clarification on then please get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer your query.