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IT Threat Glossary

Hackers take advantage of weaknesses in your cyber protection. From an advancement of technology, unforeseen holes in new programs, or an individual’s lack of IT knowledge, a hacker has your business in its sights.

Since new types of malware, ransomware, and viruses are created and upgraded daily, business owners must be on the lookout. The dedicated IT specialists at Blue Jean Networks want to help business owners understand and recognize the hidden dangers of cybersecurity. Here is an extensive glossary on the most common threats that your business could face.

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)

An APT is designed to remain undetected for a certain amount of time so that it can steal information from a specified individual or organization. This type of malware is crafty, stealthy, and can steal data without disrupting day-to-day operations.

Warning Signs of APT

  • An increase in log-ins. Log-ins usually occur late at night or when your employees normally wouldn’t be accessing your network.
  • The presence of widespread backdoor trojan viruses. Attackers use these trojans to help APT retain access to a user’s credentials, even after the user realizes that their credentials have been compromised and changes them.
  • Large unexpected movement of data.
  • Unexpected bundles of data pop up. APT attackers usually bundle data together to make moving large amounts outside the network easier without getting caught. You can tell the difference between a company’s regular bundles and APT bundles because they will be archived in formats your company typically doesn’t use.


Adware displays ads on software, usually internet browsers, to create revenue for its creator. This malware is not inherently dangerous and is usually bundled with free online software. However, the adware can become a nuisance and a potential security threat if not handled over time.


A botnet is a group of network devices controlled remotely by one hacker. Botnets are sent out to do repetitive tasks, such as sending spam messages and partaking in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

Warning Signs of Botnet:

  • Your computer’s fan kicks in when your computer is idle. This often indicates that a program is running without your knowledge and using your computer’s resources. Note that this could also occur when your computer is updating.
  • Your computer takes a while or refuses to shut down properly.
  • Your company’s Facebook page has a long list of outbound posts that you or your employees didn’t create. If this is the case, change your password immediately and run anti-malware protection.
  • Programs are running slowly. If your computer struggles to run a program, it could indicate that your computer’s resources are being used elsewhere.
  • Your operating system won’t update.
  • Anti-virus updates will not download or install.
  • Internet access slows down significantly.

Brute-Force Attacks

These are commonly used to break into online accounts. Brute-force attacks are caused when a hacker rapidly puts in as many passwords as possible, trying to find the right combination of letters and characters.

Command and Control Server

Also known as a C&C server, this is the central computer responsible for issuing commands to botnets and other malware. Botnets and malware constantly send information back to the C&C server, like sensitive data or account information, to give more power to its creator.

Dictionary Attack

This attack uses common words or phrases to attempt to break through passwords and usernames. This is often used alongside brute-force attacks.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

A DDoS attack is created by multiple systems from varied locations targeting a single system. The high levels of traffic on the system are meant to bring down the server, forcing it to go offline until the attack stops. Botnets often perform this.


An exploit is a tool designed to take advantage of a specified vulnerability within an IT system component. It is usually intended to steal data or install malicious software onto a computer or network.


Software or hardware that is designed to record a user’s keystrokes. Software versions of keyloggers are often tagged along with other viruses and malware packages to capture a user’s credentials for later use. Most individuals targeted by keyloggers have no idea they are being watched.

Warning Signs of Keylogging

  • Slow internet performance.
  • Interrupted keystrokes
  • Disappearing mouse cursor.
  • Browsing errors.


Malware is a term used to describe any intrusive cyber threat with malicious intent. This can include various online threats such as viruses, trojans, ransomware, and spyware.


Hackers use phishing tactics to try and get targets to hand over sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and social security information. They usually spam emails pretending to be a trusted entity dealing with pressing information.


This malware attempts to gain money or credentials from users by restricting access to local files on their computer or workstation. This is typically accomplished using encryption technology.

Social Engineering

This tactic aims to appeal to the weaknesses of the targeted users. Hackers are crafty and find ways to bypass common security protocol by pretending to be important officials or users within the company that is above the security protocol. This is a major cause of concern, as the hackers are no longer targeting weaknesses in the computer but the weaknesses of human nature.


Everyone has dealt with spam at some time in their life. Spam usually takes the form of annoying emails that take up time to delete. In reality, spam can be any unsolicited or unwanted message sent to your email address. Hackers will often use spam to trick users into clicking on malicious links or attachments that will send you a website that could leave you vulnerable to bots or adware.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a more focused version of phishing; the hacker imitates an authority figure requesting information from an individual user. An example would be a “bank” representative sending an email requesting credit card information or confirmation of your credentials.


Most commonly seen as email spoofing, this tactic makes the user think they are looking at something real when it is just a fabrication. The creator will try to act as one of your contacts, but a wrong email address will be a giveaway. Another spoofing tactic is using a link to take a user to a fake website rather than the desired domain name.


This type of malware masks itself in your computer so that it can gather important information and send it to its creator/hacker. Spyware is often hard to identify due to its unique ability to remain hidden.

Warning Signs of Spyware:

  • The internet browser is acting strange. If your internet browser takes you to a different homepage consistently or won’t let you change the settings, then odds are your computer has been infected with spyware.
  • You conduct a search on one browser, but another browser shows your results.
  • Your computer is sluggish, crashes frequently, or freezes. Spyware programs can take up disc space and use valuable resources that affect performance.
  • Pop-up ads appear even if you are not in a browser.
  • The send and receive light on the modem continuously flashes while surfing the web.
  • Mysterious files appear, or some of your files move or are deleted.
  • The CD drawer opens and closes by itself.


A malware program is designed to attempt to replicate itself when executed and spread to other computer components. They are dangerous and disruptive as they slow down your computer and delete critical data.


In computer terms, vulnerability refers to a bug or an issue within the code of the operating system or other software. This leaves networks open to potential threats and usually can only be resolved by patches and security updates issued by the software manufacturer.

The Shield of Blue Jean Networks

There may be many threats facing businesses, but hackers don’t stand a chance against the team at Blue Jean Networks. We can help you secure your company’s data, defend against malware attacks, and secure your network. Contact us today for more information and an estimate on our security services.