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Three pieces of terminology you need to understand to protect your network

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways of attacking your computer. While it’s impossible to keep up with all of their latest tricks, here are three pieces of terminology you should know about to protect your network:

Trojan horse

A trojan horse is one of the most common ways in which your network can be breached. Just like the old tale from which this trick gets its name, the malware enters your system disguised as something else. Often it can be disguised as a free download of a much-wanted piece of software, like a video editor or a word processor. They can even be hidden as a completely different file, like a copy of a popular Hollywood film to download and watch as a movie file. Unfortunately, once you’ve clicked on the file and realized it’s not actually the thing you wanted, it’s too late and the malware has already had enough time to infect your computer. To prevent this from happening, always download software from a reputable website. Also install a virus scanner to check any files you download before you open them.

Shadow IT

Shadow IT is something that might start off not being malicious at all but could have severe consequences for any office network. The term describes the action of somebody installing a piece of software without the knowledge or permission of the IT administrator of the network. The likelihood is that this software has been installed to help a hard-working employee complete a day to day task. The sad reality is that hard-working employee could have caused a big cybersecurity risk without even knowing about it.

If you install a piece of software, especially on a cloud network, you could be creating an opportunity for a cybercriminal to manipulate that software to allow them access to the network. Once they’ve gained access, they could stop the network from functioning correctly or even steal sensitive data from the organization. If you work for a big business, it could be almost impossible to know what is installed on what account unless you went around and literally looked over everybody’s shoulder regularly. Luckily there are tools you can use to try and reduce the problem. A cloud access security broker, like the ones designed by Proofpoint, allow administrators to keep track of any shadow IT usage on the cloud.


Ransomware unfortunately does exactly what it suggests. It installs malware which then holds you to ransom. It threatens to delete files or even share personal documents every few minutes until you enter your credit card details and hand over a lot of money. While it might be tempting to pay the money to solve the problem, you should never pay the ransom. Instead try and isolate the computer from any others across the network and inform the authorities immediately. This software has been known to cause problems for some of the biggest organizations, and even the UK’s National Health Service. This delayed hundreds of procedures and operations across the country.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.