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A subject's ability to view, modify, or communicate with an object. Access enables the flow of information between the subject and the object.


access control

Mechanisms, controls, and methods of limiting access to resources to authorized subjects only.


access control list (ACL)

A list of subjects that are authorized to access a particular object. Typically, the types of access are read, write, execute, append, modify, delete, and create.


access control mechanism

Administrative, physical, or technical control that is designed to detect and prevent unauthorized access to a resource or environment.



A security principle indicating that individuals must be identifiable and must be held responsible for their actions



A computer system or network that has received official authorization and approval to process sensitive data in a specific operational environment. There must be a security evaluation of the system's hardware, software, configurations, and controls by technical personnel.


add-on security

Security protection mechanisms that are hardware or software retrofitted to a system to increase that system's protection level.


administrative controls

Security mechanisms that are management's responsibility and referred to as "soft" controls. These controls include the development and publication of policies, standards, procedures, and guidelines; the screening of personnel; security-awareness training; the monitoring of system activity; and change control procedures.



The act of combining information from separate sources of a lower classification level that results in the creation of information of a higher classification level, which the subject does not have the necessary rights to access.


AIC triad

The three security principles: availability, integrity, and confidentiality. Sometimes also presented as CIA: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.


annualized loss expectancy (ALE)

A dollar amount that estimates the loss potential from a risk in a span of a year.
single loss expectancy (SLE) × annualized rate of occurrence (ARO) = ALE



Software whose principal functions include the identification and mitigation of malware; also known as antivirus, although this term could be specific to only one type of malware.


annualized rate of occurrence (ARO)

The value that represents the estimated possibility of a specific threat taking place within a one-year timeframe.



A measurement of confidence in the level of protection that a specific security control delivers and the degree to which it enforces the security policy.



An attempt to bypass security controls in a system with the mission of using that system or compromising it. An attack is usually accomplished by exploiting a current vulnerability.


attribute-based access control (ABAC)

An access control model in which access decisions are based on attributes of any component of or action on the system.



A systematic assessment of significant importance to the organization that determines whether the system or process being audited satisfies some external standards.


audit trail

A chronological set of logs and records used to provide evidence of a system's performance or activity that took place on the system. These logs and records can be used to attempt to reconstruct past events and track the activities that took place, and possibly detect and identify intruders.



To verify the identity of a subject requesting the use of a system and/or access to network resources. The steps to giving a subject access to an object should be identification, authentication, and authorization.



Granting access to an object after the subject has been properly identified and authenticated.



The reliability and accessibility of data and resources to authorized individuals in a timely manner.


back door

An undocumented way of gaining access to a computer system. After a system is compromised, an attacker may load a program that listens on a port (back door) so that the attacker can enter the system at any time. A back door is also referred to as a trapdoor.


back up

Copy and move data to a medium so that it may be restored if the original data is corrupted or destroyed. A full backup copies all the data from the system to the backup medium. An incremental backup copies only the files that have been modified since the previous backup. A differential backup backs up all files since the last full backup.



The minimum level of security necessary to support and enforce a security policy.


Bell-LaPadula model

The model uses a formal state transition model that describes its access controls and how they should perform. When the system must transition from one state to another, the security of the system should never be lowered or compromised. See also multilevel security, simple security property, and star property (*-property).


Biba model

A formal state transition system of computer security policy that describes a set of access control rules designed to ensure data integrity.



When used within computer security, identifies individuals by physiological characteristics, such as a fingerprint, hand geometry, or pattern in the iris.



A set of known-bad resources such as IP addresses, domain names, or applications.



Searching through storage media looking for specific information without necessarily knowing what format the information is in. A browsing attack is one in which the attacker looks around a computer system either to see what looks interesting or to find specific information.


brute-force attack

An attack that continually tries different inputs to achieve a predefined goal, which can be used to obtain credentials for unauthorized access.