The area of Network Management, Security & Productivity is full of terminology and language that can often be confusing. We have put together a short glossary of terms to help you.

3G Failover – intelligent switching solutions that allow our customers’ networks to automatically switch over to 3G wireless connectivity, maintaining and ensuring the continuity of your connectivity.

Access Control – Refers to mechanisms and policies which restrict access to computer resources. An access control list (ACL), for example, specifies what operations different users can perform on specific files and directories.

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) – a type of DSL broadband communications technology used for connecting to the Internet. ADSL allows more data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines (POTS), when compared to traditional modem lines.

Application Gateway Firewall – application gateways look at data at the application layer of the protocol stack and serve as proxies for outside users, intercepting packets and forwarding them to the application. Thus, outside users never have a direct connection to anything beyond the firewall.

Authentication – The process of determining the identity of a user that is attempting to access a network. Authentication occurs through challenge/response, time-based code sequences or other techniques.

Authentication Header (AH) – The Authentication Header is a mechanism for providing strong integrity and authentication for IP datagrams. It might also provide non-repudiation, depending on which cryptographic algorithm is used and how keying is performed. For example, use of an asymmetric digital signature algorithm, such as RSA, could provide non- repudiation.

Authorisation – The process of determining what types of activities or access is permitted on a network. Usually used in the context of authentication: once you have authenticated a user, they may be authorised to have access to a specific service.

Challenge-Response – a common authentication technique whereby an individual is prompted (the challenge) to provide some private information (the response). Most security systems that rely on smart cards are based on challenge-response. A user is given a code (the challenge) which he or she enters into the smart card. The smart card then displays a new code (the response) that the user can present to log in.

Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) – an authentication technique where after a link is established, a server sends a challenge to the requestor. The requestor responds with a value obtained by using a one-way hash function. The server checks the response by comparing it its own calculation of the expected hash value. If the values match, the authentication is acknowledged otherwise the connection is usually terminated.

Cloud Based – refers to applications, services or resources made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider’s servers. Companies typically utilise cloud-based computing as a way to increase capacity, enhance functionality or add additional services on demand without having to commit to potentially expensive infrastructure costs or increase / train existing in-house support staff.

Content blocking – the ability to block network traffic based on actual packet content.

Content Filtering – the ability to block the actual information that an end user can access  when using a specific Internet application. For example blocking access to social media websites such as facebook during business hours which may distract staff from their work activities.

Cookie – a message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file called cookie.txt. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.

Class of Service (CoS) –  is a way of managing traffic in a network by grouping similar types of traffic (for example, e-mail, streaming video, voice, large document file transfer) together and treating each type as a class with its own level of service priority.

Cyberslacking – a term used to describe the increased use of the internet on company computers by employees for their personal use or entertainment. The practice, which accelerated with the advent of broadband internet connections, is estimated to cost employers millions a year in lost productivity, added security costs, and staff replacement.

Data driven attack – form of intrusion in which the attack is encoded in seemingly innocuous data, and it is subsequently executed by a user or other software to actually implement the attack.

Denial of service attack – a user or program takes up all the system resources by launching a multitude of requests, leaving no resources and thereby “denying” service to other users. Typically, denial-of-service attacks are aimed at bandwidth control.

Digital Certificate – a digital certificate is an electronic  certificate that establishes your credentials when doing business or other transactions on the Web. It is issued by a certification authority (CA). It contains your name, a serial number, expiration dates, a copy of the certificate holder’s public key (used for encrypting and decrypting messages and digital signatures), and the digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority so that a recipient can verify that the certificate is real.

Digital Signature – an electronic rather than a written signature that can be used by someone to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message or of the signer of a document. It can also be used to ensure that the original content of the message or document that has been conveyed is unchanged. Additional benefits to the use of a digital signature are that it is easily transportable, cannot be easily repudiated, cannot be imitated by someone else, and can be automatically time-stamped.

DNS spoofing – breaching the trust relationship by assuming the DNS name of another system. This is usually accomplished by either corrupting the name service cache of a victim system or by compromising a domain name server for a valid domain.

Firewall – a program that protects the resources of one network from users from other networks. Typically, an enterprise with an intranet that allows its workers access to the wider Internet will want a firewall to prevent outsiders from accessing its own private data resources.

Firewall denial-of service – the firewall is specifically subjected to a denial-of-service attack.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) – the simplest way to exchange files between computers on the Internet. Like the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which transfers displayable Web pages and related files, and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which transfers e-mail, FTP is an application protocol that uses the Internet’s TCP/IP protocols.

Gateway – a network point that acts as an entrance to another network. In a company network, a proxy server acts as a gateway between the internal network and the Internet. A gateway may also be any machine or service that passes packets from one network to another network in their trip across the Internet.

Insider attack – an attack originating from inside a protected network.

Intrusion detection – detection of break-ins or break-in attempts by reviewing logs or other information available on a network.

IP hijacking – an attack where an active, established session is intercepted and taken over by the attacker. May take place after authentication has occurred which allows the attacker to assume the role of an already authorized user.

IP spoofing – an attack where the attacker impersonates a trusted system by using its IP network address.

Malicious Code – any code added, changed, or removed from a software system in order to intentionally cause harm or subvert the intended function of the system. Traditional examples of malicious code include viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, and attack scripts, while more modern examples include Java attack applets and dangerous ActiveX controls.

Managed Network – designed to mitigate difficulties by combining physical network, routers, switches, management, maintenance and monitoring into an all-in-one service. This enables a client to concentrate on the applications that deliver value to their business rather than on the performance of the applications and the networks on which they reside.

Network Operating Centre (NOC) -one or more locations from which control is exercised over a network. Organizations may operate multiple NOCs, either to manage different networks or to provide geographic redundancy in the event of one site being unavailable or offline.

Packet – the unit of data that is routed between an origin and a destination on the Internet or any other packet-switched network. When any file (e-mail message, HTML file, GIF file, URL request, and so forth) is sent from one place to another on the Internet, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) layer of TCP/IP divides the file into “chunks” of an efficient size for routing. Each of these packets is separately numbered and includes the Internet address of the destination. The individual packets for a given file may travel different routes through the Internet. When they have all arrived, they are reassembled into the original file (by the TCP layer at the receiving end).

Packet Sniffing – intercepting packets of information (including such things for example as a credit card number) that are traveling between locations on the Internet.

Password Authentication Procedure (PAP) – a procedure used to validate a connection request. After the link is established, the requestor sends a password and an ID to the server. The server validates the request and sends back an acknowledgement, terminates the connection, or offers the requestor another chance.

Password-based attacks – an attack where repetitive attempts are made to duplicate a valid log-in and/or password sequence.

Polymorphic virus – polymorphic viruses encrypt the body of the virus in an attempt to hide its signature from anti-virus programs.

Quality of Service (QoS) – on the Internet and in other networks, QoS is the idea that transmission rates, error rates, and other characteristics can be measured, improved, and, to some extent, guaranteed in advance.

Screening router – a router configured to permit or deny traffic based on a set of permission rules installed by the administrator.

Signatures – viruses employ signatures by which they identify themselves to themselves and thereby avoid corrupting their own code. Standard viruses, including most macro viruses, use character-based signatures. More complex viruses, such as polymorphic viruses, use algorithmic signatures.

Social engineering – An attack based on tricking or deceiving users or administrators into revealing passwords or other information that compromises a target system’s security. Social engineering attacks are typically carried out by telephoning users or operators and pretending to be an authorized user.

Stealth Virus– Stealth viruses hide the modifications they make to your files or boot records, attempting to defeat anti-virus programs.

Virtual Private Networking (VPN) – is a technology that overlays communications networks with a management and security layer. Though VPN technology, network managers can set up secure relationships while still enjoying the low cost of a public network such as the Internet.

Worm – a type of virus that disables a computer by creating a large number of copies of itself within the computer’s memory, forcing out other programs. Worm viruses are generally constructed to also copy themselves to other linked computers.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) – a standards-based, interoperable security specification that utilises Temporal Key Integrity Protocol to provide improved over-the-air encryption of wireless data.

xDSL – offers much higher speeds – up to 32 Mbps for upstream traffic, and from 32 Kbps to over 1 Mbps for downstream traffic.

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