2 Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication, 2FA
It’s like Cinderella’s slipper.
She can give her name and confirm where she was before midnight, but it’s only when the slipper fits that Prince Charming knows she’s for real. The Prince was an early adopter of 2FA.
Apparel
Character
Book
Related terms
Security Key
Phishing
One-Time Password
API
Application Programming Interface
It's like a harbor.
It's designed to move shipping containers of certain shapes and sizes in and out. It might be open to the public, or it might be for VIP use only. 
Transit
Infrastructure
-- None --
Related terms
Server
Back End
Hacking
Access Control List
ACL
It’s like turnstiles for software.
If you’re an authorized visitor, you’ll stroll straight through.
Transit
Infrastructure
Everyday
Related terms
Firewall
OAuth
Certificate
Ad Blocking
It’s like auto-skipping the ads on recorded TV.
The ads fund the programs, but if people can find a way to avoid watching them, they usually do.
Behavior
Television
Related terms
Anonymization
Deidentification
Metadata
Agile Software Development
It's like finishing a ship while at sea.
You first get the minimum you need to make it float: a hull and maybe a mast. Then, instead of finishing it before you launch, you go ahead and launch it and finish building it while it's at sea. This way you have to focus on the most important things. 
-- None --
-- None --
-- None --
Related terms
Hackathon
Programming Language
Wiki
Anonymization
It’s like pixelating someone’s face in a video.
You can still hear what they say, but you don’t know who they are.
Television
Related terms
Deidentification
Tor
Metadata
App
Webapp
It’s like a corkscrew.
A corkscrew does one job (an important job, in this case) really well. Meanwhile, a browser is like a Swiss Army Knife – an all-purpose tool that lets you do a lot of different things to a basic level.
Drink
Tool
Related terms
Front End
Hacking
Hackathon
Autocomplete
It’s like someone jumping in and finishing your sentences.
Fun and impressive if it’s your telepathic best friend, but annoying if it’s someone else who always gets it wrong.
Language
Related terms
App
Front End
Machine Learning
Back End
Backend
It’s like the ground beneath a city.
Above ground are all the familiar sights – HTML houses, CSS cathedrals, Javascript office blocks. Beneath the ground are the utilities that make the city function smoothly – a labyrinthine network of web servers, applications, and databases.
Geeky
Infrastructure
Related terms
Front End
Database
Server
Backdoor
It’s like a secret book on the library shelf
that opens a door when you lift it. Only the creator of the hidden door knows its location, but it’s theoretically possible for other people to have a look and get lucky.
Book
Related terms
Zero-day
Trojan
Hacking
Bandwidth
It’s like a water pipe
that serves the shower, washing machine and dishwasher in your apartment. If you run all three at the same time, you’ll notice a drop in pressure and whoever’s in the shower will get annoyed.
Household
Infrastructure
Everyday
Related terms
Internet Service Provider
WPA
Virtual Private Network
Big Data
It’s like mapping a new world.
At ground level, as you hack your way through the undergrowth and scramble across ravines, you might struggle to build up a clear picture. But with the right tool (a hot air balloon), you can see the whole landscape and identify patterns, like the contours of a mountain or meandering flow of a river.
Geography
Nature
Related terms
Database
Cloud Computing
Metadata
BitCoin
Bit Coin
It’s like digital gold.
There is a finite BitCoin supply that can be ‘mined’ every year (by using sophisticated software, not a pick and shovel). And, like gold, you can exchange it from one person to another without the need for a bank.
Money
Commerce
Related terms
Peer-To-Peer
BitTorrent
Cybercrime
BitTorrent
Bit Torrent
It’s like photocopying a book.
If you have one person and one photocopier, it’s a laborious process to copy each page. But if you have many photocopiers and willing helpers, you can tear the pages out, copy a few each, and assemble a new book pretty quickly.
Book
Electronics
Related terms
Peer-To-Peer
BitCoin
Ad Blocking
Black Hat
It’s like a bad cowboy.
The term comes from old Western movies, where the good guys generally wore white hats and the bad guys wore black. Simpler times.
Apparel
Film
Related terms
White Hat
Hacking
Troll
Blockchain
It's like the minutes at a Town Hall meeting, written by two very accurate people.
Both writers take down exactly what happened when it happened in the meeting and they look over their notes to make sure the two are exactly the same. Checks and balances.
Politics
Everyday
Related terms
Bot
It’s like worker ants.
Each bot has a job assigned to it (taking the rubbish out, gathering food, building the nest) and will do it relentlessly for its entire life.
Insect
Nature
Profession
Related terms
Botnet
DDoS Attack
Spam
Botnet
Bot Net
It’s like a zombie army,
full of dead-eyed, half-crazed people obeying the instructions of a remote and unseen master, without realizing they are part of a destructive tribe.
Celebrity
Character
Related terms
DDoS Attack
Bot
Spam
Breach Notification
It’s like bumping into a parked car and leaving a note on the windshield.
The owner of the other vehicle may not be around and may have no idea you caused them any damage, but you have to let them know, either by law or because you’re a nice person.
Transit
Behavior
Related terms
Virus
Patch
Zero-day
Browser
It’s like a television set.
It takes in a broadcast from somewhere else. The TV turns that signal into a display so you can watch it. An older TV won’t be able to display some of the newer HD content properly.
Electronics
Everyday
Household
Related terms
Browser Hijacking
Browser Fingerprinting
Front End
Browser Fingerprinting
It’s like bootprints in the snow.
They don’t identify you personally, but they offer clues – the make of the boot, the size you wear, the length of your stride, and the route you were taking.
Apparel
Related terms
Browser
Deidentification
Ad Blocking
Browser Hijacking
It’s like a friend moving the furniture around in your room while you’re asleep.
So when you wake up, you walk into the bathroom and fall out of the window.
Household
Funny
Behavior
Related terms
Browser
Ransomware
Virus
Buffer Overflow Attack
It’s like an evil plot to send a letterbomb to a bank.
The bank’s mail room is bomb-proof and will contain any explosion. So the plotter starts by sending 1000 harmless parcels. The mail room becomes so full that they have to start stacking mail outside in the corridor. The next parcel to arrive contains the bomb.
Commerce
Numbers
Related terms
Zero-day
Backdoor
Bug
Bug
It’s like the Leaning Tower of Pisa,
which looked straight enough for the first five years but began to lean when a bug in the original design became clear. The foundations were only three meters deep in soil that was notoriously weak and unstable. Unfortunately, most software bugs don’t turn into lucrative tourist attractions.
Landmark
Infrastructure
Related terms
Patch
Zero-day
Sandboxing
Cache
It's like a personal journal
of everywhere you visit and everything you do online. It all gets recorded automatically in the background and, just like your journal in real life, you can always erase the entries. 
Household
Book
Everyday
Related terms
Server
Back End
Cloud Computing
Certificate
It’s like a passport –
issued by a central authority (the passport office / certificate authority), who independently establishes your identity and gives you a passport to prove it to others. Like a passport, a certificate will have in-built security and anti-fraud features.
Everyday
Transit
Related terms
HTTPS
Spoofing
Domain Name Servers
Cloud Computing
It’s like a library, not a book store.
A simple way to access every book on the planet without having to own them all.
Book
Commerce
Related terms
Server
API
Database
Cookie
It’s like a barista with a good memory.
So every morning when you come in for your decaf soy latte with an extra shot and cream, they nod wearily and say ‘The usual?’
Profession
Drink
Commerce
Related terms
OAuth
Deidentification
Access Control List
Cybercrime
It’s like putting a ghost on trial.
There is a view that cybercrime is an otherworldly activity that can’t be judged by ‘real world’ laws. You could attempt to prosecute a ghost for walking through a wall and invading your property. But the ghost might argue that this is OK in ghost world. Either way, it would make for an interesting trial.
Politics
Spiritual
Weird
Related terms
Zero-day
Dark Web
Breach Notification
DDoS Attack
Distributed Denial of Service
It’s like a high school prank,
where you post the details of your friend’s house party all over town, so instead of 20 people, 900 show up.
Occasion
Numbers
Related terms
Botnet
Bot
Cache
Dark Web
It’s like the dark side of the moon.
The bright side (the internet) is visible to everyone – all you have to do is look up. To access the dark side, you need specialist software (a rocket).
Outer-Space
Related terms
Tor
Cybercrime
Peer-To-Peer
Database
It’s like your filing cabinet, not your junk drawer.
The data is organized into folders, rather than just thrown in at random.
Office
Household
Related terms
Big Data
Back End
Cloud Computing
Deidentification
De-identification
It’s like journalistic sources.
Journalists often ‘deidentify’ their sources by using phrases like ‘A high-ranking official’ or ‘A source close to the President’. This retains some useful information (the seniority of the source may affect the credibility of the story), but protects the individual involved (as long as the phrase is chosen carefully enough).
Profession
Language
Related terms
Cookie
Browser Fingerprinting
Anonymization
Domain Name Servers
DNS
It's like a contact list in your mobile phone.
You know your correspondents by their names but the contact list has telephone numbers and postal addresses. When you want to go to a particular web site, you look up the site's name (such as www.google.com) in the Domain Name lookup service and get back from that the Internet Protocol address of the destination Web Site.
Celebrity
Related terms
IP Address
Certificate
Internet Service Provider
Doxing
It’s like vigilantism –
a way for people to take the law into their own hands to ‘out’ someone. But, like vigilantism, it can have unintended consequences if the wrong person is outed or the effects go too far.
Behavior
Related terms
Troll
Phishing
Black Hat
Encryption
It’s like sending a sealed letter instead of a postcard.
To ban encryption would be like requiring all mail to be sent as postcards, including bank statements, medical letters and holiday photos. Your postman, neighbors and postal service would soon know you pretty well.
Everyday
Related terms
Secure Socket Layer
HTTPS
Virtual Private Network
Firewall
It’s like a nightclub bouncer who decides who’s going in and out.
From time to time, the approved guest list may change, but the bouncer is always the one who enforces it.
Profession
Related terms
Access Control List
Sandboxing
Spam
Front End
It’s like walking around a city.
You interact with the front end – the sidewalks, roads, shops, parks, and office blocks. What you don’t see is the back end that keeps the city ticking – the power lines, gas pipes, sewers, and building foundations hidden underground.
Infrastructure
Related terms
Back End
App
Autocomplete
HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
It’s like living in a glass house.
With HTTP, you have to bear in mind everything is unencrypted and theoretically open for others to see. That’s fine for some activities, but gets awkward with others. With HTTPS, you can draw the curtains and close the shutters.
Household
Related terms
Secure Socket Layer
HTTPS
Net Neutrality
HTTPS
Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol
It’s like wearing good headphones.
So the music is channelled directly to your ears and no one else gets to hear your favorite Nickelback CD.
Electronics
Music
Related terms
Secure Socket Layer
HTTP
Spoofing
Hackathon
It’s like a regatta for geeks.
Everyone meets up for a series of races, using code instead of yachts. Some take it more seriously than others.
Sports
Occasion
Related terms
Agile Software Development
Open Source
App
Hacking
It’s like going into someone’s house without permission.
You may be up to no good or you may be letting them know there are flames coming out of the roof.
Behavior
Weird
Related terms
White Hat
Black Hat
Programming Language
Honeypot
It’s like flypaper.
Strips of the fragrant but sticky paper are hung around the internet to attract the internet pests.
Insect
Related terms
White Hat
Metadata
Server
IP Address
Internet Protocol Address
It's like a postal address for the internet.
This is a numeric address that identifies where a destination computer is attached to the Internet, similar to a postal address for a destination residence or business.
Related terms
Peer-To-Peer
Domain Name Servers
Router
Internet Service Provider
ISP
It’s like a gym.
You pay a monthly fee and some get more out of it than others. Hardcore users may sweat the broadband connection hard, uploading and downloading their bodyweight in files every month. Others may pop in now and again for some light social media action. You buy different packages depending on your lifestyle.
Sports
Everyday
Related terms
Net Neutrality
Bandwidth
Router
Machine Learning
It’s like reading tea leaves.
Because it’s about recognizing patterns in data in order to predict what comes next. Except it works.
Spiritual
Related terms
Programming Language
Autocomplete
Wiki
Metadata
It’s like what’s on the envelope.
Theoretically, metadata isn’t about the content of your messages, just the external details. But even that can tell you a lot – where it’s from, who it’s addressed to, how heavy it is. From that, you can start to identify the content – if it’s from a bank, it probably isn’t a love letter. Most digital metadata contains extra nuggets – the software you use, the top line of content, the IP address that can be matched with other online activity. So it can be a fairly transparent envelope.
Everyday
Related terms
Anonymization
Big Data
Honeypot
Net Neutrality
It’s like highways without toll booths.
You can choose to make every road open to everyone equally. Or you can introduce toll booths for more direct routes. Unfortunately, you can’t create those fast direct routes without creating slow routes too. And some worry that slower roads will soon have speed bumps built in to make the premium ones more attractive.
Transit
Politics
Infrastructure
Related terms
Internet Service Provider
Bandwidth
HTTP
OAuth
It’s like hiring a gardener for your second home in Spain.
You already employ a trusted housekeeper who has a key and looks after the place while you’re away. Rather than give the gardener another key, you instruct the housekeeper to let them in and give them access to the shed. Now your house and garden are in great shape for your next visit – you have a good life.
Profession
Household
Geography
Related terms
Access Control List
Sandboxing
Cookie
One-Time Password
OTP
It’s like an infinite lottery ball machine.
Each number only comes out once, it’s impossible to predict, and you have a limited time to claim your winnings.
Numbers
Money
Related terms
2 Factor Authentication
Security Key
Phishing
Open Source
It’s like baking a cake for a friend, then giving them the recipe.
The cake is the software, except tastier, and sharing the recipe is the open source part. Not only does your friend get to enjoy the cake, but they can also bake themselves another, or make it for another friend’s birthday, maybe using peanut butter this time instead of buttercream, because your friend is a genius.
Food
Related terms
Programming Language
Wiki
Hackathon
Patch
It’s like a patch on your jeans.
An update to an existing product that corrects a weak point in the knee area, and can sometimes be considered an aesthetic improvement.
Apparel
Related terms
White Hat
Bug
Agile Software Development
Peer-To-Peer
Peer to Peer
It’s like a potluck picnic
where each guest brings a different dish and everyone shares directly with each other. As opposed to a restaurant, where everyone places an order and waits for the kitchen to deliver food to the table.
Food
Occasion
Related terms
Tor
BitTorrent
BitCoin
Phishing
It’s like a fake ATM
that prints out an error message when you try to use it, but in the meantime has taken your credit card details and pin number.
Money
Numbers
Related terms
2 Factor Authentication
Security Key
Doxing
Programming Language
It’s like a dialect.
Some argue this a better analogy than ‘language’, because it’s a version of a language you already know, with its own peculiar acronyms and quirks.
Language
Related terms
Hacking
Open Source
Machine Learning
Proxy
It’s like a celebrity’s agent
who filters all fan mail and deals with the most routine requests. The agent is authorized by the celebrity to speak on their behalf and controls direct access to the celebrity.
Celebrity
Profession
Related terms
Router
Cache
Tor
Ransomware
It’s like someone breaking into your house and changing the locks.
In fact, ransomware often arrives in the form of a trojan, so the intruder may not even have forced entry – unwittingly, you’ve allowed them in.
Behavior
Household
Related terms
Virus
Cybercrime
Browser Hijacking
Router
It’s like a receptionist,
who handles all outgoing and incoming requests to your office. When a guest arrives, the receptionist knows who made the appointment and sends the guest to the right floor.
Office
Profession
Related terms
Proxy
IP Address
Peer-To-Peer
Sandboxing
It’s like cages in a pet store.
You could let the pets roam around the store, but the dog might hassle the hamster, or the sickly iguana might infect the parrot. Better to keep them separate – no one wants a dead parrot in a pet shop.
Animals
Commerce
Related terms
Bug
Buffer Overflow Attack
Firewall
Secure Socket Layer
SSL
It’s like an elaborate fist-bump between a client and the server.
It begins with a standard knuckle-bump to establish contact, followed by some intricate palm-to-palm action to convey mutual trust, then some tight algorithmic finger-clasping as you exchange keys. The client then talks to the server in a weird street language no one else can understand.
Behavior
Language
Related terms
HTTPS
WPA
Encryption
Security Key
It’s like a wizard’s wand.
Without it, the wizard recites his secret spells and there’s always a chance someone can overhear him and learn the same spells. With the wand, only the wizard can wave it while reciting the spell. It’s a form of physical authentication.
Character
Tool
Related terms
2 Factor Authentication
Phishing
One-Time Password
Server
It’s like a reservoir –
a store of data for multiple users to download, via a browser rather than a tap. Like a reservoir, a server needs to be kept clean and healthy.
Infrastructure
Related terms
API
Back End
Cloud Computing
Spam
Junk Mail
It’s like an infinite number of monkeys
locked in a room with an infinite number of typewriters and eventually producing the complete works of Shakespeare. Spam is sent out in ever vaster quantities as a way of playing the odds. Millions of people filter, delete or ignore it, but it only takes one response to make the exercise worthwhile.
Animals
Theater
Weird
Related terms
Ad Blocking
Access Control List
Firewall
Spoofing
It’s like impersonating a police officer.
IP spoofing involves masquerading as a trusted host in order to gain sensitive information. It’s wrong and can get you into trouble.
Profession
Related terms
Certificate
Phishing
HTTPS
Spyware
It’s like hidden microphones.
Once installed, some spyware monitors every keystroke you make, picking up passwords, bank details, and the lyrics to that song you’ve been working on.
Electronics
Related terms
Virus
Trojan
Ransomware
Tor
It’s like an onion.
Tor stands for The Onion Router because it uses layer upon layer of protection to maximize anonymity. And trying to hack into it makes you cry.
Food
Nature
Related terms
Peer-To-Peer
Router
Dark Web
Trojan
It’s like a poisoned chalice.
Shakespeare was the first to introduce the idea of a poisoned chalice in Macbeth – a gift or honor that looks flattering at first, but ultimately proves destructive. Act 1, scene 7.
Book
Drink
Theater
Related terms
Virus
Spyware
Backdoor
Troll
It’s like road rage.
Given the relative anonymity of being encased in a machine, whether it’s a car or a computer, people shout and get aggressive in ways that would never occur to them if you were talking face to face.
Behavior
Language
Transit
Related terms
Doxing
DDoS Attack
Black Hat
Virtual Private Network
VPN
It’s like a tunnel, not an open road.
If you’re working remotely, it’s like having a secure tunnel to your office, carrying the information back and forth, safe from prying eyes.
Infrastructure
Transit
Related terms
Encryption
Router
HTTPS
Virus
It's like crabgrass.
The weed infects your beautiful lawn, along with other weeds, growing everywhere. It's ruining your garden, driveway and patio. Trojan is a type of virus and the only way to remove it is with some weedkiller.
Related terms
Trojan
Spyware
Ransomware
WPA
Wi-Fi Protected Access
It’s like the President’s motorcade,
complete with bulletproof car and motorcycle outriders. It escorts you safely from your device to your internet connection. But you still need extra security once you’re at the venue.
Politics
Transit
Related terms
Secure Socket Layer
Encryption
HTTPS
White Hat
It’s like a good cowboy.
The term comes from old Western movies (see black hat), where the good guys and bad guys had a conveniently monochrome dress code.
Apparel
Film
Related terms
Hacking
Honeypot
Black Hat
Wiki
It’s like a hotel visitor book.
As opposed to a hotel brochure. The content is made up entirely of public contributions.
Book
Related terms
Open Source
Big Data
Agile Software Development
Zero-day
Zero Day, 0 Day
It’s like medics discovering a new virus.
No cure exists because no one was aware of the problem before. The race begins to develop a vaccine before the virus spreads.
Medical
Scientific
Related terms
Breach Notification
Hacking
Buffer Overflow Attack
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