Security & Privacy
Security & Privacy


Close up of hands using laptop
  • Cookie: A file placed on your computer by a website to enable the website to remember your details and track your visits.
  • Cyber Attack: The use of electronic means to interrupt, manipulate, destroy, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system, network, or device.
  • Cyberbullying: Bullying or harassment that takes place online; includes posting embarrassing pictures or unkind comments on a person’s profile or sending them via instant message or email. This often takes the form of threats and intimidation against the victim.
  • Identity Theft: The crime of impersonating someone and using their private information, usually for financial gain.
  • Malware: Malicious software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system, without the owner’s consent.  Common forms of malware include computer viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, and adware.
  • Phishing: An attempt by a third party to solicit confidential information from an individual, group, or organization by mimicking or spoofing, a specific, usually well-known brand, usually for financial gain.  Phishers attempt to trick users into disclosing personal data, such as credit card numbers, online banking credentials, and other sensitive information, which they may then use to commit fraudulent acts.
  • Ransomware: A type of malware that denies a user’s access to a system or data until a sum of money is paid.
  • Smishing: Fraudulent SMS messages designed to induce users to reveal personal or financial information via the mobile phone
  • Spear Phishing: The use of spoofed emails to persuade people within an organization to reveal their usernames or passwords. Unlike phishing, which involves mass mailing, spear phishing is small-scale and well targeted.
  • Spyware: Software that enables advertisers or hackers to gather information without the user’s permission.  Spyware programs are not viruses, since they do not spread to other computers, but they can have undesirable effects.  Once installed, spyware tracks the infected computer’s activity and reports it to others.  Spyware also consumes memory and processing capacity, which may slow or crash the infected computer.
  • Virus: A computer program that can spread by making copies of itself. Computer viruses spread from one computer to another, usually without the knowledge of the user.  Viruses can have harmful effects, ranging from displaying irritating messages to stealing data or giving other users control over the infected computer.

Glossary ©2018 Canadian Centre for Cyber Security All rights reserved in favour of Federal Government of Canada.