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24 Apr 2017

NB hyperlinked information security glossary

In the course of researching security awareness topics, I frequently stumble across new words (neologisms) and obscure terms of art. Often the meaning is reasonably obvious from the context and/or the derivation, but not always - "cybersecurity" being a classic example of a popular term that evidently means different things to different people. Technical authors who rudely fail to expand their acronyms are another bugbear of mine. 

For as long as I can remember, I have maintained a personal information security glossary as a memory aide. It is a living document, frequently updated to reflect new terms and interpretations as the language evolves. Earlier this week I quoted a stack of definitions from the NZ Information Security Manual for instance, adding to those quoted from the ISO27k standardsNIST Special Publications and other definitive reference sources, plus my own 'plain English' explanations.

About 20 years ago, I realized that most specialist terms are defined using or in relation to other specialist terms, which means following a trail from word to word in much the same way that one would use a thesaurus. Hyperlinks make the process much easier than alphabetical lookups, as with a conventional dictionary. For those of us who enjoy language, browsing the glossary is both fun and educational - so much so that sometimes I need to stop and get on with proper work!

The NoticeBored information security glossary, now published as a Kindle eBook on Amazon, explains about 2,000 terms. If printed out, it would take about 300 A4 pages ... but in electronic form it is cheaper (under $10), lighter, easier to search and saves trees.


[By the way, the Kindle version of the glossary is read-only and only gets updated occasionally. Every month as part of the security awareness module, the updated edition is delivered to NoticeBored subscribers as an editable MS Word document. Get in touch to subscribe.]


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