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Word Notes

Author: CyberWire, Inc.

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A fun and informative cybersecurity audio glossary from the CyberWire.

19 Episodes
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A reflection or amplification distributed denial-of-service attack in which hackers query Internet network time protocol servers, NTP servers for short, for the correct time, but spoof the destination address of their target victims.
From the intrusion kill-chain model, the delivery of a “lure” via a text message to a potential victim by pretending to be some trustworthy person or organization in order to trick the victim into revealing sensitive information. Smishing is a portmanteau word made of two other words, the acronym “SMS” and the cyber coinage “Phishing“. It’s a text-message-centric variation of the email-based phishing scams that have been around since the 1990s. The term “Smishing” arose in the late 2000s.
port mirroring (noun)

port mirroring (noun)

2020-09-2904:07

A network switch configuration setting that forwards a copy of each incoming and outgoing packet to a third switch port. Also known as SPAN or Switched Port Analyzer, RAP or Roving Analysis Port, and TAP or Test Access Point. When network managers and security investigators want to capture packets for analysis, they need some sort of generic TAP or Test Access Point. You can buy specialized equipment for this operation but most modern switches have this capability built in.
NDR tools provide anomaly detection and potential attack prevention by collecting telemetry across the entire intrusion kill chain on transactions across the network, between servers, hosts, and cloud-workloads, and running machine learning algorithms against this compiled and very large data set. NDR is an extension of the EDR, or endpoint detection and response idea that emerged in 2013.
shadow IT (noun)

shadow IT (noun)

2020-09-1504:24

Technology, software and hardware deployed without explicit organizational approval. In the early days of the computer era from the 1980s through the 2000s security and information system practitioners considered shadow IT as completely negative. Those unauthorized systems were nothing more than a hindrance that created more technical debt in organizations that were already swimming in it with the known and authorized systems.
From the intrusion kill chain model, a program that provides command and control services for an attack campaign. While the first ever deployed RAT is unknown, one early example is Back Orifice made famous by the notorious hacktivist group called “The Cult of the Dead Cow,” or cDc, Back Orifice was written by the hacker, Sir Dystic AKA Josh Bookbinder and released to the public at DEFCON in 1998.
A social engineering scam where fraudsters spoof an email message from a trusted company officer that directs a staff member to transfer funds to an account controlled by the criminal.
man trap (noun)

man trap (noun)

2020-08-2504:12

A physical security access control device consisting of an enclosed hallway with interlocking doors on each end where both doors can’t be open at the same time. A person presents credentials to the entry doorway. If authorized, the entry door opens and the person walks into the mantrap. The man trap exit door will not open until the entry door closes. The person presents credentials to the exit door. If authorized, the exit door will open. If not, the person is captured in the man trap until security arrives to handle the situation. Physical security leadership installs man traps to separate unrestricted areas from restricted areas, to prevent tailgating by uncleared personnel, and to impede access by unauthorized persons.
anagram (noun)

anagram (noun)

2020-08-1803:04

A word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by rearranging its letters. For example, cracking a columnar transposition cipher by hand involves looking for anagrams.
1. A wireless access point installed by employees in an office or data center environment as a convenience to connectivity without the consent or the knowledge of the network manager. 2. A wireless access point, sometimes called an Evil Twin, installed by a cyber adversary in or near an office or data center environment designed to bypass security controls, gain access, and/or surveil the network traffic of the victim’s network. Both kinds, the employee installed and the adversary installed rogue access points, increase the attack surface of the organization. The employee installed device, because of its electronic footprint range, might make it easier for hackers and mischief makers outside of the organization’s network to bypass the corporate security controls and gain access without permission. The adversary installed device is designed specifically to bypass the security controls of the target network.
darknet (noun)

darknet (noun)

2020-08-1104:17

A subset of the internet where communications between two parties or client-server transactions are obscured from search engines and surveillance systems by layers of encryption. The U.S. Navy designed the original Darknet by developing The Onion Router network, or TOR, back in the 1990s. Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson deployed the first alpha implementation in 2002 with some initial funding by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF.) The TOR Project became a non-profit in 2006 and is funded by the U.S, Sweden, different NGOs, and individual sponsors.
phishing (verb)

phishing (verb)

2020-08-1103:47

From the intrusion kill chain model, the delivery of a “lure” to a potential victim by pretending to be some trustworthy person or organization in order to trick the victim into revealing sensitive information. According to Knowbe4, the word “phishing” first appeared in a Usenet newsgroup called AOHell in 1996 and some of the very first phishing attacks used AOL Instant Messenger to deliver fake messages purportedly from AOL employees in the early 2000s. The word is part of l33tspeak that started in the early days of the internet (1980s) as a shorthand to let readers know the author was part of the hacker community. In this case, the letters “ph” replace the letter “f” in the word fishing, as in “I fish, with an ‘f,’ for bass in the lake.” In hacking, “I Phish, with a ‘ph,’ for login credentials from key employees at my target’s organization.
From the intrusion kill chain model, the first part of an exploitation technique where the hacker tricks their victims into revealing their login credentials. In the second part of the technique, hackers legitimately log into the targeted system and gain access to the underlying network with the same permissions as the victim. Hackers use this method 80% of the time compared to other ways to gain access to a system like developing zero day exploits for known software packages. The most common way hackers steal credentials is with some version of a phishing attack.
The Bombe (noun)

The Bombe (noun)

2020-08-1103:45

An electro-mechanical device used to break Enigma-enciphered messages about enemy military operations during the Second World War. The first bombe–named Victory and designed by Alan Turning and Gordon Welchman– started code-breaking at Bletchley Park on 14 March 1940, a year after WWII began. By the end of the war, five years later, almost 2000, mostly women, sailors and airmen operated 211 bombe machines in the effort. The allies essentially knew what the German forces were going to do before the German commanders in the field knew. Historians speculate that the effort at Bletchley Park shortened the war by years and estimate the number of lives saved to be between 14 and 21 million.
From the intrusion kill chain model, a malicious code delivery technique that allows hackers to send code of their choosing to their victim’s browser. XSS takes advantage of the fact that roughly 90% of web developers use the JavaScript scripting language to create dynamic content on their websites. Through various methods, hackers store their own malicious javascript code on unprotected websites. When the victim browses the site, the web server delivers that malicious code to the victim’s computer and the victim’s browser runs the code.
The process of evaluating the security of a system or network by simulating an attack on it. Sometimes called "ethical hacking" or white hat hacking. The phrase started to appear in U.S. military circles in the mid 1960s as time sharing computers became more necessary for daily operations. Computer security experts from Rand Corporation began describing computer compromises as “penetrations.” By the early 1970s, government leaders formed tiger teams of penetration testers to probe for weaknesses in various government systems.
The art of convincing a person or persons to take an action that may or may not be in their best interests. Social engineering in some form or the other has been around since the beginning of time. The biblical story of Esau and Jacob might be considered one of the earliest written social engineering stories. As applied to cybersecurity, it usually involves hackers obtaining information illegitimately by deceiving or manipulating people who have legitimate access to that information. Common tactics involve phishing attacks and watering hole attacks.
zero-day (adjective)

zero-day (adjective)

2020-08-1103:27

A class of software-security-weakness-issues where independent researchers discover a software flaw before the owners of the code discover it. Zero-day, or 0-day in hacker slang, refers to the moment the race starts, on day zero, between network defenders who are trying to fix the flaw before hackers leverage it to cause damage. It is a race because on day zero, there is no known fix to the issue.
NMAP (noun)

NMAP (noun)

2020-08-1103:23

A network mapping tool that pings IP addresses looking for a response and can discover host names, open communications ports, operating system names and versions. Written and maintained by Gordon Lyon, a.k.a. Fyodor, it is a free and open source software application used by both system admins and hackers alike and has been a staple in the security community for well over two decades.
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