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Glossary terms and definitions last updated: February 26, 2024

This Glossary includes terminology from the final version of NIST's cybersecurity and privacy publicationsFederal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), NIST Special Publications (SPs), and NIST Internal/Interagency Reports (IRs)—and from Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) Instruction CNSSI-4009. It may be expanded to include relevant terminology from external or supplemental U.S. Government sources, such as applicable laws, regulations, or policy.

  • Cite the source publication, not this website. As our documents are published and withdrawn, the terminology on these web pages will change. When citing terms and definitions, we encourage you to cite the source publication for the authoritative terminology and to understand it in its proper context. Many terms on this website have different definitions, from multiple publications.
  • Inclusive language. Some existing NIST publications may contain potentially biased or confusing terminology. As we develop and revise publications, we follow NIST's inclusive language guidance.
  • Public input. We invite public comments—including terminology suggestions—on our draft publications and welcome your contributions.
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