In 2019 we put together our original Jargon Buster. Three years on, whilst the jargon is still current, we’re adding some more detail here for areas that we feel warrant further explanation and understanding. 


Phishing is the main term used for mail, social media and instant messaging attacks where a cybercriminal sends a message pretending to be from a known source, with the intention of tricking the recipient into giving away information that can ultimately be used for monetary gain. 

We can now add Smishing, Spear Phishing and Whaling / Whale Phishing as subheadings. 


Smishing refers to an attack implemented though text messages sent to a mobile phone. Its name comes from SMS, hence SMiShing. It’s highly likely that you will have received unexpected messages coming into your phone – a common example is a message telling you that XYZ has been unable to deliver your parcel (for which you have no recollection of ordering). 

Spear Phishing 

Spear Phishing is a more targeted phishing attack. A specific person or group is targeted using content that is known to be of interest to the recipient.  

Whaling / Whale Phishing 

This takes spear phishing to the next level by targeting high ranking officials, such as the CEO, within an organisation. These attacks often involve sending emails to lower ranking staff members, seemingly from the main boss, asking them to do something urgently, such as pay an invoice. These attacks rely on staff members not wanting to be seen to be questioning a request – it’s therefore vital that business leaders encourage team members to do just that! 


The Darknet is also known as the Dark Web or the Silk Road, and represents an area of the internet where users are anonymous. It is not illegal to go onto the Darknet, or use it, but much activity that takes place on there is illegal. For example, cybercriminals use the Darknet to sell stolen passwords, credit card details and intellectual property. They may also organise cyberattacks and share tips with other criminals. 

Unfortunately, many of us will unknowingly have our data available for purchase on the Darknet. If you want to know what data cybercriminals are selling of yours ask us for a FREE Dark Web Report.  

Cyber Resilience 

Cyber Resilience is a relatively new term in common use surrounding cyber security. It’s now widely accepted that simply having layers of phenomenal cyber security in place is not enough. We need to be prepared for an attack. Cyber Resilience is the degree to which we are able to cope with an attack when it occurs. Having staff well trained, together with well-established procedures, are essential coping mechanisms and point towards Cyber Resilience. 

Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) 

Multi Factor Authentication involves using two or more credentials to verify a users identity. Most of us will be familiar with MFA, for example when we access online banking. We’ll understand that we often need to give a combination of username, password, memorable information, plus also using a separate card reader or having a code sent to our phone. Whilst MFA can seem like a pain, we’d recommend that you turn it on and use it wherever it is offered. Those extra few seconds spent confirming that you are you could make the difference between remaining safe and being the victim of a cyberattack. 

Virtual Private Network (VPN) 

A Virtual Private Network is the provision of a private network via a public network. Anything you access via a VPN will be more secure. Individuals use VPNs to protect their anonymity and provide greater browsing flexibility. The same is true for Business VPN but they are generally used to create a more secure business environment in which to work. VPNs are particularly useful now that many businesses operate hybrid working arrangements, where staff will be accessing company servers from many different locations. 

Confused by jargon? 

If you need more information on any of the above, or have been presented with jargon that you’re baffled by, please do ask. The more you understand the jargon, the greater chance you will have of conquering the cybercriminals.