What that cybercrime jargon really means

Cybercrime is all the more frightening for many internet users because they do not understand the cloak and dagger jargon.

Computer experts might as well speak in a foreign language when they talk about hackers and the tools of their trade.

To throw some light into the shadowy world of cybercrime, here are some of the most common terms explained.

What that cybercrime jargon really means

Back door

a secret way to access a network, computer or software left by the developer


identifying a technology user by fingerprints, voice or retina

Black hat

a hacker out to damage a network or steal information


a computer hijacked by a hacker. Bot is short for ‘robot’


a group of hijacked computers controlled by a hacker


any action that increases computer security


someone trying to break into software or a computer system


encoding information before sending across a network


decoding encrypted information into understandable text

Distributed denial of service (Ddos)

a network attack by a botnet aimed at stopping a web site from working

Digital signature

an electronic signature

Dumpster diving

looking through rubbish for network access codes or personal information


A software or hardware bug that lets hackers into computer


software designed to limit access from outside into a private network


taking over a live connection between two users so that the hacker can pose as a genuine user

IP spoofing

when a hacker generates a false IP address to gain access to a network

Keystroke monitoring

recording every character typed by a computer user to collect passwords and other data

Leapfrog attack

using a password or user ID from one hack to commit another attack

Letter bomb

malware wrapped in an email intended to disrupt the recipient’s computer

Malicious code or malware

any code intentionally included in software or hardware for an unauthorised purpose

One-time password

a password or access code that can be used once

Password sniffing

analysing data traffic to find passwords


sending out emails that look like that come from a financial institution but are designed to trick recipients into handing over their passwords and personal details


a program designed to capture information travelling across computer networks

Social engineering

the techniques virus writers and hackers use to trick computer users into revealing information or activating viruses


the process of disguising one computer user as another

Trojan horse

software that contains malicious code designed to secretly access data without the user’s knowledge


software designed to automatically send copies of the original malware program across a network without the help of the user

White hat

a hacker whose intentions are not criminal or malicious


a malicious computer program that copies itself across a network


a hijacked computer

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