It seems that everything relies on computers and the internet now ? communication (email, cellphones), entertainment (digital cable, mp3s), transportation (car engine systems, airplane navigation), shopping (online stores, credit cards), medicine (equipment, medical records), and the list goes on. How much of your daily life relies on computers? How much of your personal information is stored either on your own computer or on someone else's system?
Cyber security involves protecting that information by preventing, detecting, and responding to attacks.
There are many risks, some more serious than others. Among these dangers are viruses erasing your entire system, someone breaking into your system and altering files, someone using your computer to attack others, or someone stealing your credit card information and making unauthorized purchases. Unfortunately, there's no 100% guarantee that even with the best precautions some of these things won't happen to you, but there are steps you can take to minimize the chances.
The first step in protecting yourself is to recognize the risks and become familiar with some of the terminology associated with them.
Hacker, attacker, or intruder
Malicious code - Malicious code, sometimes called malware, is a broad category that includes any code that could be used to attack your computer. Malicious code can have the following characteristics:
Viruses and worms are examples of malicious code.
Vulnerability - In most cases, vulnerabilities are caused by programming errors in software. Attackers might be able to take advantage of these errors to infect your computer, so it is important to apply updates or patches that address known vulnerabilities (see Understanding Patches for more information).
Produced by US-CERT