A GLOSSARY OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGY TERMS
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TERMS
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): This refers to a type of intelligence that can significantly exceed human capabilities. AGI is as opposed to narrow (or weak) artificial intelligence; narrow artificial intelligence is limited to the mechanical performance of a limited number of specific tasks. AGI does not currently exist and experts disagree about whether it will ever be possible and what might be the time schedule for its development. Some commentators believe that once AGI has been achieved, computer-driven machines may develop self-awareness and be capable of learning at rapid rates.
Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI): This type of weak or applied intelligence, represents most of the current applications in self-driving cars, voice or facial recognition systems, virtual assistants, smart refrigerators, spotting unusual or potentially fraudulent financial transactions, etc. Artificial narrow intelligence is contrasted to artificial general intelligence – a system claiming to provide consciousness, self-awareness, or the ability to solve any problem. This type of intelligence focuses on the use of computer programming to perform certain specific skills that are limited in scope. This is the currently existing type of artificial intelligence.
Artificial Neural Network (ANN): This is an application of artificial intelligence designed to mimic the human brain and central nervous system. ANN focuses on pattern recognition that assists in interpreting and classifying large sets of data.
Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI): University of Oxford philosopher defines this term as “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills.” ASI is viewed as the stage that might follow the development of artificial general intelligence; once computers develop self-awareness, they might develop the capability of rapid self-improvement because of the learning that would take place at very fast computer speed. Some experts worry that if ASI is possible, it could result in the extermination of the human race, while others predict that ASI would promote creativity, general wisdom, compassion, and advanced social and problem-solving skills.
Augmented Reality (AR): Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality would be designed to improve the human ability in auditory, visual, or other sensory perception areas. Computer-generated simulations allow people to interact with a combination of actual and artificial situations so that reactions can be monitored and training can be provided in dealing with various situations.
Bayesian Decision Networks: This system is based on the Bayes’ theorem, named for its creator Thomas Bayes. Computer systems conducting Bayesian analysis attempt to use a mathematical formula to determine the probability of future events based on the prior knowledge of conditions related to that event.
Bias: A term used to identify the set of assumptions contained in a computer model for decision making. Machine learning systems perform better with low bias.
Big Data: This term refers to extremely large data sets containing billions of pieces of information that are statistically analyzed by computer systems designed to locate patterns. Artificial intelligence systems are sometimes used to identify trends or underlying relationships that are not apparent with human observational capabilities.
Chatbots: An artificial intelligence system using natural language processing to seemingly carry on conversations or to answer questions. Examples of chatbots are Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa. Chatbots are increasingly being used by organizations to handle routine interactions in retail operations, e-commerce, education, and in the health sector.
Cognitive computing: This is a computerized model designed to mimic and advance human intelligence in such areas of data mining, natural language processing, and pattern recognition. Cognitive computing is really just another name for artificial intelligence, but the term is designed to avoid the negative “science fiction” aura that is often associated with AI.
Data Mining: The examination of data by computer programs designed to improve performance in areas such as advertising, marketing, or delivery of medical care. Such programs are designed to identify consumer spending habits, health behaviors or political leanings so that organizations can more successfully address the wants and needs of potential customers, clients, or adherents.
Decision Tree: A computer model, similar to a flow chart, that identifies the ways that information can be used to make choices and identify the possible consequences of those choices.
Deep Blue: This refers to a chess supercomputer Deep Blue was a chess supercomputer developed first by Carnegie Mellon University and ultimately by IBM. It played world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1996, winning two games but losing four. After upgrades, it played Kasparov again in 1997, defeating him in a 6-game match by willing three matches and achieving a draw in another.
Deep Learning: This is another term for Artificial Neural Network (ANN) that refers to way that machine learning can mimic the human brain by learning from the way that data is structured. This technique is especially used in medical research and in automated vehicles.
Deepfakes: Digital or audio images that are artificially created, altered, or manipulated using artificial intelligence. Deepfakes can make it seem that an individual does or says something that they did not actually say. Advances in these techniques are making it difficult even for trained experts to determine the authenticity of pictorial images or audio files.
DeepMind: This is an AI company founded in 2010 by a British subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. and later acquired by Google. On its website the company claims that its AI “programs have learned to diagnose eye diseases as effectively as the world’s top doctors, to save 30% of the energy used to keep data centres cool, and to predict the complex 3D shapes of proteins, which could one day transform how drugs are invented.”
Dual-use technologies: Many technologies have both military and non-military applications and can be used either for good or ill. For example, the facial recognition programs that can be used to find missing or abducted children can also be used by the Chinese government to track the everyday movements of its citizens. The dual-use nature of many technologies makes it difficult to regulate or ban them.
Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI): This movement seeks to make AI more trustworthy by emphasizing transparency in its processes and methods. The absence of transparency causes many people to believe the worst about AI and to diminish trust in its applications. XAI emphasizes the need for developers to explain in relatively common language terms the way that the artificial intelligence system operates.
Facial Recognition: This computer application is designed to identify persons from digital camera images or from photographs by comparing those images to a facial image database. This software analyzes such factors as the distance between the eyes, and the relationship of the angles represented by a person’s eyes, nose, and mouth. While facial recognition offers numerous societal benefits in finding missing children or solving crimes, it also raises many questions about racial or gender bias as well as privacy concerns.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): This refers to the data privacy protection rules that have been adopted by the European Union. The preface to the 99 GDPR Articles is as follows: “The protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data is a fundamental right. Article 8(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the ‘Charter’) and Article 16(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provide that everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her. The principles of, and rules on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of their personal data should, whatever their nationality or residence, respect their fundamental rights and freedoms, in particular their right to the protection of personal data. This Regulation is intended to contribute to the accomplishment of an area of freedom, security and justice and of an economic union, to economic and social progress, to the strengthening and the convergence of the economies within the internal market, and to the well-being of natural persons.” While the GDPR does not currently govern privacy protection in the United States, it establishes standards that have been adopted by numerous public and private organizations around the world.
Human-in-the-Loop: This refers to an AI system, usually in the military context, where a human is required to supervise the machine’s use and targeting decisions where the human can intervene at any point. Human-out-of-the-Loop, on the other hand, refers to an AI system that is completely autonomous without human supervision or intervention.
Hyperwar: AI-based military solutions in which robots, sensors, and autonomous systems play important roles and make command decisions at speeds previously unknown in warfare. Because of the acceleration of the pace of warfare, national leaders would have to take special care to avoid escalation all the way up to complete annihilation.
Internet of Things (IoT): Artificial narrow intelligence is increasingly being built into everyday objects such as refrigerators, doorbells, washing machines, and even toasters. These devices are designed to identify anomalies such as being low on supplies, abnormal operation of motors, doors being left open too long, etc. There are also many not-so-everyday computerized objects such as mechanical heart implants, biometric scanners, flood alert sensors, bike helmet crash sensors, agricultural sprinkler systems, and wireless inventory trackers.
Machine Learning (ML): An emerging artificial intelligence system that allows computers to learn from data without reliance on human instruction or even rulesbased programming.
Metaverse: This term was introduced as a science fiction concept drawn from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 book, Snow Crash. It envisions a dystopian world where an alternative reality is created by a combination of the internet, virtualization, and digitization. In the novel, people can cross seamlessly between a physical world or a digital world created by their imagination.
Moore’s Law: Named for the cofounder of Intel, Gordon Moore, who predicted that computing power doubles every two years, or about 40% annually. The projection is based upon a recognition that miniaturization and improved printing of integrated circuit boards allows continual growth in the number of transistors that can be made available to computing devices. While Moore’s prediction proved remarkably accurate for several decades, the rate of acceleration has slowed in recent years to a growth rate of about 30% annually.
Natural Language Processing (NLP): This application of AI evaluates textual information to try to evaluate the meaning and intention of a writer. NLP software examines large data sets to evaluate the ways that words indicate positive or negative sentiments, show relationships, make associations, or create meaning. Medical applications of this technology can examine medical records to determine whether patients exhibitopen symptoms that can be related to specific illnesses.
OpenAI: This is a nonprofit artificial intelligence research organization founded in 2015 by Elon Musk and other partners. OpenAI declares as its mission “to ensure that artificial intelligence benefits all of humanity. An important part of this effort is training AI systems to do what humans want. OpenAI’s Alignment research focuses on training AI systems to be helpful, truthful, and safe. Our team is exploring and developing methods to learn from human feedback. Our long-term goal is to achieve scalable solutions that will align far more capable AI systems of the future – a critical part of our mission.”
Predictive analytics: By combining data mining and machine learning, this type of analytics is built to forecast what will happen within a given timeframe based on historical data and trends.
Quantum Computing: Traditional computers use programming and data storage methods using the form or either a zero or a one. Quantum computers utilize a phenomenon in quantum mechanics known as superposition, based on the fact that electrons can be in multiple positions at the same time. While quantum computers are still in the development stage, researchers in the United States and China believe that dramatic increases in processing times and storage capacity are possible using these techniques. If they are correct, the quantum leap could move computer-based machines much closer to artificial general intelligence or even super intelligence. Quantum computing could also decode existing systems of computer encryption.
Singularity: This term, usually phrased as “the singularity,” describes a hypothetical point in the future when advances in artificial intelligence become uncontrollable and irreversible. At that point, machines are smarter than even the smartest humans and have become self-sustaining – continuing to learn and reproduce (in the sense that they create and program other machines). In such a dystopian world, computer-based machines may decide that there is no longer a need for human presence on Earth. Best-selling author, Ray Kurzweil, predicts that “the singularity” may be achieved in “our lifetime.”
Social Credit Systems: The ubiquity of video observation systems and online activity creates the potential for AI-based programs to track and rate human behavior. The conclusions reached by such programs can be used to determine creditworthiness, school enrollment, permission to travel, propensity for criminal behavior, and eligibility for government positions. The Chinese government has taken the step of overtly implementing these systems in order to track and regulate its citizens as well as visitors.
Techlash: The backlash against emerging technologies due to concerns among some people about risks of privacy invasions, mass surveillance, and widened income inequality.
Techno-Dystopia: This term describes a future in which the dangers of emerging technologies overwhelm any benefits. In this reality, people are subjected to mass surveillance, authoritarian rule, digital manipulation, and exploitation by a privileged few. Freedom disappears as technological advance results in dehumanization.
Techno-Utopia: This term describes a future in which technological advance benefits humanity. In this future, technology is programmed to respect ethical values and decisions are fair, unbiased, and transparent. This is a world where digital technology improves human potential.
Turing Test: This test, developed in the 1950s by Alan Turing, an English computer scientist, uses a panel of experts to evaluate the ability of computer-based machines to mimic human behavior as they carry on conversations and answer questions. The computer program’s objective is to convince a majority of the expert judges that they are interacting in such a way as to demonstrate intelligence and self-awareness. Turing proposed to answer the question, “can computers think?” The first program which appeared to pass the Turing test was a 1966 program developed by Joseph Weizenbaum that he called Elizah. Critics of the Turing test argue that Elizah (and other advanced chatbot programs) are simply following the conversation rules set in a complex program rather than a true indication that the computer “is thinking.”
Watson: This question-answering supercomputer is named after Thomas Watson, a former IBM CEO. Watson used cognitive computing and data analysis to win the first place prize versus skilled contestants on the Jeopardy television show. At present, Watson is being used to optimize business tasks such as utilization management in medical centers.
Amino acid: The building blocks that cells in the body use to build proteins. Each protein contains hundreds, even thousands of amino acids joined together in a specific sequence in chain-like formation.
Cell culture: Growth of a collection of cells, usually of just one genotype, under laboratory conditions.
Chimera: An individual (animal, plant, or lower multicellular organism) composed of cells of more than one genotype. Chimeras are produced, for example, by grafting an embryonic part of one species onto an embryo of either the same of a different species.
Chromosomes: The self-replicating genetic structure of cells containing the cellular DNA. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Cloning: Techniques carried out at the cellular level aimed at the generation of an organism with an identical genome to an existing organism.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA): The molecule that carries the genetic information for most living systems. The DNA molecule consists of four bases (adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine) and a sugar-phosphate backbone, arranged in two connected strands to form a double helix.
Enzyme: A protein catalyst that facilitates specific chemical or metabolic reactions necessary for cell growth and reproduction.
Gene splicing: The isolation of a gene from one organism and then the introduction of that gene into another organism using techniques of biotechnology.
Gene therapy: The replacement of a defective gene in an organism suffering from a genetic disease. Recombinant DNA techniques are used to isolate the functioning gene and insert it into cells. Over three hundred single gene genetic disorders have been identified in humans. A significant percentage of these may be amenable to gene therapy.
Genetic engineering: Also called genetic modification or genetic manipulation, genetic engineering involves the introduction, elimination or rearrangement of specific genes to change the genetic makeup of an organism.
Genetic engineering: The technique of removing, modifying or adding genes to a DNA molecule in order to change the information it contains. By changing this information, genetic engineering changes the type or amount of proteins an organism is capable of producing, thus enabling it to make new substances or perform new functions.
Genetically modified organism (GMO): Often the label GMO and the term “transgenic” are used to refer to organisms that have acquired novel genes from other organisms by laboratory “gene transfer” methods.
Germline cell: A reproductive cell (egg or sperm cell) that contains half the set amount of chromosomes.
Human Genome Project (HGP): International research effort officially launched in 1990 and completed in 2003 to determine all three billion bases of DNA within the entire human genome and its genes.
Recombinant DNA (rDNA): Also known as gene cloning or splicing, recombinant DNA is a technique that produces identical copies (clones) of a gene. The procedure involves joining together DNA segments in a cell-free system (e.g. in a test tube outside living cells or organisms). The recombinant DNA molecule is then introduced into a cell where it will replicate itself, either as an independent entity (autonomously) or as an integral part of a cellular chromosome.
Stem Cell: A cell that has the potential to differentiate into a variety of different cell types depending on the environmental stimuli it receives.
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT): this describes the most capable offensive cyber actors, often nation-states, that are able to maintain sustained campaigns against even the most hardened targets.
Adware: These pop-up advertisements or banners show up when visiting certain internet sites. Sometimes they are based on the past viewing/purchasing habits of the user, but often they are automatically installed when a user chooses to download “free” software – a package of other software is also installed and can be activated for a price. While there are many harmless instances of adware, it also offers a vector for visiting unsafe websites and the installation of malicious software. Spyware can also be installed in this process. Even in the best of circumstances, the accumulation of adware can create instability in the operating system and slow down computer speeds.
Air Gap: This refers to one of the most extreme measures taken to protect against cyberattacks – it means that a host computer is physically disconnected from the internet or from other computers within the same To physically separate or isolate a system from other systems or networks (verb). The physical separation or isolation of a system from other systems or networks (noun).
Antivirus software: This is a software program that monitors computer traffic such as email enclosures, opened files, or website clicks in order to check for (and hopefully block) attempts to install malware. Most antivirus programs are designed to quarantine and/or remove any questionable programs. They are attempting to identify and block online dangers such as ransomware, rootkits, trojan horses, phishing attacks, or botnets. Most antivirus software operates by scanning for a list of known viruses, but problems can still arise from viruses never before observed. Other antivirus programs utilize either a blacklist or a whitelist approach. A blacklist system automatically blocks access to websites known to have created problems in the past. A whitelist approach does the opposite, allowing access only to those websites that have been approved because they have never been known to spread viruses. Some antivirus programs also specialize in identifying and/or removing adware or spyware programs.
Authentication: This refers to the process of identifying the integrity of a user or a remote device attempting to gain access to a computer. The traditional form of authentication involves the use of a particular username and password, though advanced system now require two or three-factor authentication.
Backdoor: Many computer operations contain a “backdoor” means of gaining access to a computer network or particular program. The typical purpose of a backdoor is to save time by allowing a frequent user – someone who is engaged in writing computer code or doing routine maintenance work on a network – from having to login each time that a work session begins. Unfortunately, malevolent hackers often probe networks or programs in an effort to locate and utilize backdoors so that they can bypass the authentication procedures that would normally provide protection.
Blackhat Hacker: This refers to skilled computer users who, with malicious intent, undermine the security of a network, individual computer, or program for personal or organizational gain. Blackhat hackers specialize in developing and delivering malware, span or denial-of-service attacks. Favorite targets for these types of hackers involve the use or sale to the highest bidder of credit card, bank account information, email accounts and passwords, and sensitive company data.
Bot: Software programs designed to perform repetitive operations under the remote command and control of a remote administrator. Some bots perform relatively harmless functions in computer games or the delivery of targeted ads. Others are designed to maliciously target users that click on popular websites.
Brute Force Attack: This refers to a technique of using modern computer speed to use every possible keyword or password in a trial-and-error effort to gain access to a network computer or program. Users that set strong passwords are obviously better protected against brute force attacks. Another method of limiting the success of brute force attacks is to limit the number of permitted attempts to enter a correct password.
Catfishing: This involves the creation of a fake online profile in order to trick other people into believing they are dealing with someone else. The impersonator will then try to convince a victim that they are dealing with someone well-known to them – perhaps a co-worker, relative, or even a supervisor. The impersonator will tell a story, perhaps indicating that they are in need of emergency assistance because they are stranded in travel, have had their wallet stolen, etc. At that point, the impersonator will ask for a large favor, usually involving wiring money to an account or clicking a link to provide assistance. If that favor is granted, the impersonator will typically keep finding reasons to ask for more assistance in order to extract as much money as possible from the victim.
Cookie: This term describes the use of small files stored on a user’s computer by a third party website for the purpose of storing information about the user. Some cookies perform useful functions such as recognizing the user when they next log into the same website, thus saving time and eliminating the need to re-enter a username and password. They can also be helpful by storing the types of products/ purchases that have been sought in the past so that the website is targeted to the particular needs and interests of the user. The downside is that some cookies can track and store a record of all the websites visited by a user, thus affecting privacy. The accumulation of cookies can also slow down the operation of a user’s computer.
Critical Infrastructure: This term refers to the physical or virtual systems that are viewed as vital to an organization or to entire country. If these vital systems are compromised, the result for an organization or for a country would be catastrophic. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identifies 16 sectors as U.S. critical infrastructures: chemical, communications, dams, emergency services, financial services, government facilities, information technology, transportation, commercial facilities, critical manufacturing, defense industrial base, energy, food and agriculture, healthcare and public health, nuclear reactors, and water/wastewater systems. The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) has called for the addition of space as a critical infrastructure for the United States.
Cyber Domain: This is an all-inclusive term that includes cybersecurity, cybercrime, cyberwar, cyber-terrorism, digital communication, social media, and e-commerce. The growth of the cyber domain and its importance in everyday life has raised many policy, legal, and regulatory questions.
Cyber Command: This is the name for a particular military command within the U.S. Department of Defense that has been given the task of planning, managing, and coordinating the U.S. military’s offensive and defensive cyber operations. The Cyber Command was originally created in 2009 and now includes personnel from all branches of the U.S. armed forces.
Cyberattack: Any type of offensive action used by an individual, organized group, or national military that targets computer networks or information technology infrastructures for the purpose of deploying malicious code, stealing information, or strategically altering information. Most cyberattacks are deployed by tricking a user into opening an attachment that software designed to infect the systems used by a target.
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): This is a unit within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designed to assist private organizations or state governments with their cybersecurity preparations.
Cyberwarfare: This refers to virtual warfare directed at commercial or government organizations for the purpose of damaging computer systems or stealing proprietary information. Argument exists about whether, and under what circumstances, the resort to cyberwarfare may trigger a conventional (or even nuclear) response.
Dark Web: This is the name given to the parts of the internet that are inaccessible to normal search engines and web browsers, usually because of the encryption systems that are in use. This portion of the internet is notoriously home to pedophiles, human traffickers, and cybercriminals who share information with one another in ways designed to be protected from detection by law enforcement agencies. Malware, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and many similar types of potentially harmful information are available for purchase on the dark web.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): This type of cyberattack happens when an array of computer systems (sometimes involving remote takeover) is used to launch a flooding attack on a particular website or group of websites. The targeted sites are unable to process the onslaught of attempts to access such sites, depriving normal users of access. A prolonged DDoS attack can result in the shutdown of the targeted websites.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA): This U.S. government agency describes its mission as follows: “The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that, from that time forward, it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also such icons of modern civilian society such as the Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and Global Positioning System receivers small enough to embed in myriad consumer devices.” DARPA is widely viewed as the organization most responsible for the original creation of the internet.
Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE): The U.S. Congressional Research Service offers the following explanation of this term: “Most voting systems used in U.S. elections rely on computers in some way. The most computerized is the direct recording electronic voting machine, or DRE. In this system, votes are recorded directly onto computer memory devices. While DREs have been in use since the early 1990s, questions about their security and reliability were previously a relatively minor issue, even following the November 2000 presidential election and the subsequent congressional deliberations leading to the enactment of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.” But the election of 2020 brought to the fore concerns about the security of electronic voting machines.
Doxxing: This is the name used for a type of malicious activity, illegal in some states, that involves the use of cyber tools to discover and release information about an individual for the purpose of embarrassing that individual.
Encryption: The use of digital programming tools to convert a textual message to a series of seemingly incomprehensible symbols that can be read only by persons in possession of a decryption key. Most modern computer email programs and personal devices automatically utilize encryption systems in order to keep personal information private.
Exploit: This term is used to describe ways that hackers can take advantage of weaknesses that they have discovered in computer networks or in programming code.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF): This is an international organization designed to combat money laundering. The FATF website describes itself as “the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. The inter-governmental body sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society. As a policy-making body, the FATF works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas. With more than 200 countries and jurisdictions committed to implementing them. The FATF has developed the FATF Recommendations, or FATF Standards, which ensure a coordinated global response to prevent organised crime, corruption and terrorism. They help authorities go after the money of criminals dealing in illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes. The FATF also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.”
Firewall: Most computer operating systems employ a firewall designed to prevent unauthorized access. Incoming and outgoing messages are allowed only if they meet a certain set of rules.
GRU: This is the name for the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The GRU traces its history back to 1918, when it was formed as the Registration Directorate (Registrupravlenie). The GRU is now responsible for Russian military intelligence and special operations. This organization is believed to be responsible for ongoing hacking and disinformation campaigns targeting the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as elections throughout Western Europe.
Honeypot: This refers to the traps or decoys that are set up by advanced defensive cyber operators in an effort to attract malicious hackers. The honeypot is designed so that when the attack occurs, the target system looks like it is authentic and contains valuable information. But in actuality, the honeypot contains only fake data and is physically separated from the remainder of the organization’s computer network. Once the attack occurs, the hackers methods are carefully examined in order to identify the tools used and the seeming purpose for the intrusion. That information is then used to increase the strength of the cyber protections built into the organization’s actual network.
IDS (Intrusion Detection System): A security tool that attempts to detect the presence of intruders or the occurrence of security violations in order to notify administrators, enable more detailed or focused logging or even trigger a response such as disconnecting a session or blocking an IP address. An IDS is considered a more passive security tool as it detects compromises after they are already occurring rather than preventing them from becoming successful.
Keystroke Logger: This is a type of virus installing software that allows a remote attacker to keep a record of each key that is struck on a computer keyboard. This quite obviously allows an attacker to capture the usernames and passwords used to access sensitive data locations all without the knowledge of the victim.
Machine Learning (ML): This is an example of a cross-over application between artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Software programs can be designed to “learn” by experience which particular emails are likely to be spam, or which web addresses are likely to be dangerous.
Malware: Software that causes computers or networks an to behave in an unintended manner. Examples of malware include ransomware, Trojans, viruses, keyloggers, and worms. The following terms represent different types of malware: virus, worm, Trojan horse, logic bomb, backdoor, Remote Access Trojan (RAT), rootkit, ransomware and spyware/adware.
Multifactor Authentication (MFA): This refers to a process for allowing access that goes beyond the mere use of a username and password. In fact, MFA may include at least three tests for authenticating prospective users: (1) Something you know; (2) Something you have; and (3) Something you are. The first test determines whether you “know” a username and password. The second test asks whether you have a device (smart phone, traditional phone, or email address) to which an authentication query can be sent. The third item tests who you “are” by measuring some biometric part of your body (a fingerprint, an eye scan, or facial recognition). As cyberattacks become a greater threat, the likelihood that organizations will turn to multifactor authentication increases.
Passive attack: This is a type of attack during which cyber criminals try to gain unauthorized access to confidential information. It’s called passive because the attacker only extracts information without changing the data, so it’s more difficult to detect as a result.
Phishing: Phishing is a method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive emails and websites. Phishing attacks are often successful because they mimic legitimate communications from trusted entities or groups such as false emails from a bank or a retail website.
Ransomware: This is a type of malware (malicious software) which encrypts all the data on a PC or mobile device, blocking the data owner’s access to it. After the infection happens, the victim receives a message that tells him/her that a certain amount of money must be paid (usually in Bitcoins) in order to get the decryption key.
Resilience: The ability to adapt to changing conditions and prepare for, withstand, and rapidly recover from disruption.
Rootkit: This is a collection of software tools or a program that gives a hacker remote access to, and control over, a computer or network. A rootkit is typically installed through a stolen password, or by exploiting system vulnerabilities without the victim’s knowledge.
Spyware: Software that is secretly or surreptitiously installed into an information system without the knowledge of the system user or owner.
Stuxnet: The popular name of software allegedly designed and utilized by the United States and Israel to destroy certain physical objects, specifically nuclear enrichment centrifuges at Natanz, Iran.
Trojan horse: 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.
White Hat/Black Hat Hackers: These are terms to describe the “good guys” and “bad guys” in the world of cybercrime. Blackhats are hackers with criminal intentions. White-hats are hackers who use their skills and talents for good and work to keep data safe from other hackers by finding system vulnerabilities that can be fixed.
Worm: A worm is a computer program that can run independently, can propagate a complete working version of itself onto other hosts on a network, and may consume computer resources destructively.
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