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Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Z

P

P2P

Peer-to-peer

Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON)

A multinational Pacific cyber security network which the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is a member of. PaCSON promotes closer sharing of cyber security threat information, tools, techniques and ideas between Pacific nations.

PaCSON

Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network

Padlock (https://)

A padlock icon in a browser is intended to indicate a secure connection or website, although it may not always be a reliable indicator. Users should also look for ‘HTTPS’ at the beginning of the address and check the website’s SSL certificate.

Passive defence

Security measures that are applied within a network and require limited human interaction. Passive defence includes logging and monitoring mechanisms, and implementation of tools and processes to harden networks including firewalls, application hardening, patching procedures and antivirus software.

Passphrase

A sequence of words used for authentication.

Passphrase complexity

The use of at least three of the following character sets in passphrases: lower-case alphabetical characters (a-z), upper-case alphabetical characters (A-Z), numeric characters (0-9) or special characters.

Password

A sequence of characters used for authentication.

Password attack

An attempt to discover or bypass passwords used for authentication on systems and networks, and for different types of files.

Password manager

A type of software that offers greater security through the capability to generate unique, strong, easily-changed passwords for all online accounts and the secure encrypted storage of those passwords either through a local or cloud-based vault.

Password spray

An attack that attempts to access a large number of accounts with some commonly-used passwords.

Patch

A piece of software designed to remedy security vulnerabilities, or improve the usability or performance of software and ICT equipment.

Patch cable

A metallic (copper) or fibre-optic cable used for routing signals between two components in an enclosed container or rack.

Patch panel

A group of sockets or connectors that allow manual configuration changes, generally by means of connecting patch cables.

Patching

The action of updating, fixing, or improving a computer program.

PAW

Privileged Access Workstation

Payload

Part of digitally transmitted data that is the fundamental purpose of the transmission. In the cyber-security context, normally the part of a malware program that performs a malicious action.

PayPal

An electronic commerce company that facilitates payments between parties through online funds transfers.

PDF

Portable Document Format

Peer-to-peer file sharing network

A decentralised file sharing system. Files are stored on and served by the personal computers of the users.

Penetration test (pen test)

A test using real-world targeted cyber intrusion scenarios in an attempt to achieve a specific goal, such as compromising critical systems or information.

Penetration testing (pen test)

A method of evaluating the security of an ICT system by seeking to identify and exploit vulnerabilities to gain access to systems and data. Also called a ‘pen test’.

Perfect forward secrecy (PFS)

Additional security for security associations ensuring that if one security association is compromised, subsequent security associations will not be compromised.

Peripheral switch

A device used to share a set of peripherals between multiple computers. For example, a keyboard, video monitor and mouse.

Person-in-the-middle (PITM)

A form of malicious activity where the attacker secretly accesses, relays and possibly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are communicating directly with each other. Formerly known as man-in-the-middle (MITM).

Personal computer (PC)

A multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities and price make individual ownership and use feasible.

Personal data

Any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.

Personal identification number (PIN)

A number allocated to an individual and used to validate electronic transactions.

Personal information

Information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable: whether the information or opinion is true or not; and whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not.

Personally identifiable information (PII)

Information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context.

PFS

Perfect Forward Secrecy

Pharming

A way of harvesting personal information, where a hacker puts a malicious code on your computer that redirects you to a fake site.

Phishing

Untargeted, mass emails sent to many people asking for sensitive information (such as bank details), encouraging them to open a malicious attachment, or visit a fake website that will ask the user to provide sensitive information or download malicious content.

See also 'spear phishing' and 'whaling'.

PII

Personally identifiable information

PIN

Personal Identification Number

PITM

Person-in-the-middle

Pixel

A minute area of illumination on a display screen, one of many from which an image is composed.

PKI

Public Key Infrastructure

PlayStation

A video game console developed by Sony.

PLC

Programmable logic controllers

PMK

Pairwise Master Key

Polymorphic

Malware that can change parts of its code in order to avoid detection by security software.

Pop-up

A small window which suddenly appears (pops-up) in the foreground of the normal screen.

Portable devices

Any device that can easily be carried. It is a small form factor computing device that is designed to be held and used in the hand.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

A file format that has captured all the elements as of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print or forward to someone else.

Position of trust

A position that involves duties that require a higher level of assurance than that provided by normal employment screening. In some organisations additional screening may be required.

Positions of trust can include, but are not limited to, an organisation’s Chief Information Security Officer and their delegates, administrators or privileged users.

Potentially unwanted software

Applications that may appear to serve a useful purpose but often perform actions that may adversely affect a computer’s performance. Also known as potentially unwanted applications.

PowerShell

The shell framework developed by Microsoft for administrative tasks such as configuration management and automation of repetitive jobs.

PP

Protection Profile

Privacy

The ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively.

Privacy settings

Settings which control how a user's data is shared with other people or systems. Privacy settings apply to web browsers and social networking services.

Privileged Access Workstation

Provides a dedicated operating system for sensitive tasks and is protected from internet attacks and threat vectors.

Privileged user

A user who can alter or circumvent a system’s security measures. This can also apply to users who could have only limited privileges, such as software developers, who can still bypass security measures.

A privileged user can have the capability to modify system configurations, account privileges, audit logs, data files or applications.

Product

A generic term used to describe software or hardware.

Protect

Restrict access to or use of data.

PROTECTED area

An area that has been authorised to process, store or communicate PROTECTED information. Such areas are not necessarily tied to a specific level of security zone.

Protecting identity

The act of putting security measures in place in order to keep your identity safe.

Protecting your computer

Security measures and/or actions put in place in order to prevent a computer from being harmed by malware.

Protection Profile

A document that stipulates the security functionality that must be included in a Common Criteria evaluation to meet a range of defined threats.

Protection Profiles also define the activities to be taken to assess the security function of an evaluated product.

Protective marking

An administrative label assigned to information that not only shows the value of the information but also defines the level of protection to be provided.

PSC

Protective Security Circular

PSPF

The Australian Government's Protective Security Policy Framework

PSTN

Public Switched Telephone Network

PUA

Potentially Unwanted Applications

Public computers

A computer available in public areas. Some places where public computers may be available are libraries, schools or government facilities.

Public information

Information that has been formally authorised for release into the public domain.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

A set of roles, policies, hardware, software and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption.

Public network infrastructure

Network infrastructure that an organisation has no control over (e.g. the internet).

Public Switched Telephone Network

Public network infrastructure used for voice communications.

Public Wi-Fi

Any Wi-Fi service established and owned by a contributing group that is provided for use by its customers on a wireless device. 

Public Wi-Fi may be unsecured, password protected or have other secure authentication protocols established and managed by such contributing group.

See also unsecured networks.

PUS

Potentially unwanted software

Push-to-talk handsets

Handsets that have a button which is pressed by the user before audio can be communicated, thus providing off-hook audio protection.