The Devil's Infosec Dictionary
Originally posted at

adj. The window of time in which systems are most vulnerable to attack

Access Control List (ACL)
The operating system file that gives users access to files and programs they have no good reason to access

Analyst, security
A mercenary paid vast sums of money to tell you that your systems can't be secured

Back door
A hacker's front door

A process you don't need until you don't do it

BC/DR (Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Planning)
An alternate spelling for "CISO"

Strong authentication mechanism that streamlines insider attacks

See "Zombie"

Business case
A creative writing project, the quality of which is directly proportional to your security budget

Two types of easily hacked computers

Clean desk policy
What document users admit to ignoring during your intellectual property theft investigation

Confidentiality, integrity and availability
The three great myths of the Internet Age


The science of applying a complex set of mathematical algorithms to sensitive data with the aim of making Bruce Schneier exceedingly rich


Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
See "Bot"

Refers to computer systems' natural state; the opposite of anticipated downtime

A historical fad from the late '90s meant to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in new profits; the inciting factor that generated hundreds of billions of dollars being spent on security products

Speed bumps

Self-righteous crackers

Help desk
A place where rude people read instruction manuals to confused people over the phone, for a fee

Identity theft
The transfer of your personally identifying information from corporations that want to exploit it to hackers who want to exploit it

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)
Log file generators

JOOTT ("jute")
adj. Acronym for Just One Of Those Things; the primary explanation for most information security problems

A computer designed to allow employees to easily store vast amounts of customer data in the backseat of a taxicab

The practice of filling shelves with printouts

Logical security
A goal; also, an oxymoron

Mission critical
adj. Term used to help hackers identify their targets

The opposite of repudiation; repudiation, only not

O.S. hardening
An attempt to secure your operating system against the next hack by closing the hole used by the previous one

Authentication tool that, when properly implemented, drives growth at the help desk

A mandatory fool's errand

Pharming and phishing
Ways to obtain phood

PKI (Public-Key Infrastructure)
A system designed to transfer all of the complexities of strong authentication onto end users

Regression testing
The process by which you learn how the patches that fixed your system also broke your system

Road warriors
Traveling employees responsible for delivering malicious code back to headquarters

Scope creep
Stage three of the standard software development model

Security administrator

Security officer
Fall guy

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
In security, an incalculable number always equal to or greater than the budget

The process by which you introduce new vulnerabilities into software

Sort of like a worm, but not exactly

Similar to a virus, but different

See "Distributed Denial of Service"