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Common Security Terms Dictionary: I to K

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 7/22/2010

If you’re new the computing world, all of the acronyms, nomenclature, and strange terms can become a little intimidating. It’s my hope that this dictionary series will help you absorb this information and shed some light on the world of “techno babble.”

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    I - K


    Identity Theft

    Although self-explanatory, this term refers to type of attack that has become more prevalent in our society due to the increased use of technology to store confidential or sensitive personal information. Much of this information is stored electronically making it a target for internet predators and hackers.


    When speaking in terms of computer technology, integrity usually speaks to one of two things: the accuracy or completeness of data OR the perceived reliability of a hardware device.


    Internet Protocol is the protocol used to send packets of information from one host to another over the internet. This is where the term IP Address is derived. Consequently, an IP address is a unique identifier that can be statically or dynamically assigned to a host.

    IP Flood

    An IP flood is a type of denial of service (DoS) attack where a host receives so many information requests (ping requests for example) that the bandwidth of that port is maxed out. This essentially prevents genuine users from gaining access through that port, causing a service interruption (DoS).

    IP Spoofing

    This term refers to a hacking technique where an IP packet’s true contents are masked or “disguised” by using a valid IP address for the packet header.



    JavaScript, as its name implies, is a scripting language used along with HTML to enhance the functionality of web pages. The language is based on the Java programming language. In the past JavaScript scripts have been notorious for hijacking your browser by subsequently installing spyware and/or adware onto your computer. This ability of a script to bypass local security policies was one of the major security flaws. Since the inception of this scripting language, security continues to improve.



    A security authentication protocol developed at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Kerberos uses a combination of an authentication service and data encryption to grant a user a “ticket” for access to other system services. This ticket is then referenced each time access to a new service is requested.


    A keylogger is a computer program that tracks a user’s keyboard input (keystrokes). The goal of such a program is to covertly collect user names, passwords, and other personal information from a user.