Oh! What a Web we Weave ...
Internet Safety, Privacy, & Other Considerations

TSL | Technology as a Second Language

Let’s speak the same language ...
These are some key terms to understand. 

This list is
NOT all-inclusive.

Originally, the term hacker was used to describe a programmer and/or a person that had the requisite skill to manipulate computers, networks, etc.

When media outlets began using the term "hacker" to describe people that intentionally exploited and/or compromised vulnerabilities in computers, networks, etc., the computer industry coined the phrase "Criminal Hacker" - Cracker for short.

Ethical Hacker(ing):
This term is used to describe a person that is employed (or contracted) to perform security tests, and/or vulnerability assessments for companies/organizations (private, public, government).

White Hat (hacker):
See Ethical Hacker.

Black Hat (hacker):
See Cracker.

Gray Hat (hacker):
This term is used to describe a person that stays within the constraints of the law - for the most part.  However, this person may stray towards Black Hat hacking from time-to-time.

Attaches itself to a program or file, but will only infect your computer if you execute the infected program/file.

Similar to a virus, but requires no human intervention to self replicate.

Trojan (horse):
Basically, a Trojan is a program designed to look like a harmless file that a user will download/execute, in order to covertly install some kind of malicious payload. 

All-encompassing term used to describe any Malicious Software.

Social Engineering:
This is the process of "conning" other people into voluntarily or unknowingly allowing access to information of a sensitive nature.


Gregg, M., (2006). Exam prep: Certified ethical hacker. Indianapolis, IN:
Que Publishing.