Malware, short for "malicious software" is a program, file, or code created with the intent to inflict harm on a user's computer or network. "Malware" is term that comprises many other forms of malicious software including viruses, Trojans, adware, spyware, ransomware, etc., all named for their intent. For example, spyware "spies" on victims to steal personal information. Viruses spread by making copies of themselves. Adware is harmful software embedded in electronic advertisements.

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Encryption is a method of securing, scrambling, or obscuring a communication in such a way that only the sender and recipient can decipher the original message. In written communication, the original message is often referred to as "plaintext." Encryption is not new. In fact, evidence of encrypted messages dates back to 1900 BC when the Egyptians used alternative rather than standard symbols to relay secret messages.

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Data Breach

A data breach is an information security incident in which sensitive, proprietary, or confidential data is accessed, viewed, stolen, or in any way used by unauthorized parties or systems. The term generally refers to the breach of Internet- or network-connected data. A data breach can occur through an exploit of a weakness in a system (e.g., SQL injection) or person (e.g., social engineering).

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Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is the "trail" an Internet user leaves as a result of his or her online activity. A digital footprint is not the same as a digital identity, rather, its the metadata collected or stored when a user moves around the Internet. When enough data is pulled together, though, a digital footprint can strongly suggest a user's identity.

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CryptoWall is a form of ransomware that encrypts a user's files and demands that the user pay a fee, typically in digital currency such as Bitcoin. In return for the paid ransom, the user receives decrypt instructions and a key from the attacker that gives the user access to their files.

CryptoWall was first discovered in early 2014 and infects Windows-based system. This file-encrypting ransomware can spread through malicious attachments to Spam and phishing emails, browser exploit kits, malvertising, or other malware. According to the Cyber Threat Alliance, CryptoWall version 3 has resulted an "estimated US $325 million in damages" thus far.

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Containerization is an alternative approach to virtualization. In a traditional virtual machine environment, each VM "guest" runs a full copy of the operating system plus its relevant libraries and systems tools on top of a hypervisor. Each workload has its own physical server hardware, which, in turn, necessitates heavy system requirements.

Containerization, by comparison, eliminates the hypervisor, meaning that only the resources needed to run the container are in use when an instance is spun up. Each application deployed in a container environment runs on a single, shared instance on the OS kernel. One benefit is that, for rapid deployment of applications, containers eliminate the need for VMs altogether.

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In the constantly evolving world of information security, words and concepts are often introduced and quickly become the standard vernacular. Sometimes there is disagreement on the definition....or perhaps the definition was never clear to begin with.

As the leading provider of infosec training, education and networking, MISTI is pleased to introduce DeMISTIfying Infosec, a weekly newsletter that aims to define a weekly term from our marketplace. Plus we'll add in a few recommendations or context around the definition so it's easier to apply in your own organization. Click here to join the mailing list.

Is there a term or concept you'd like to see DeMISTIfied? Would you define a term differently? Tweet at us and let us know!

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