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Security Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J  K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Adware
A type of software that often comes with free downloads.  Some adware displays ads on your computer, while some monitors your computer use, including websites visited, and displays targeted ads based on your use.

AntiVirus Software
A computer software program that detects and responds to viruses and worms, blocking access to infected files and performing frequent updates.

B

Bandwidth
A measure of the "speed" of an Internet connection.

Bookmark
A web browser feature that allows you to save the addresses of interesting or frequently used websites, so that you can readily revisit them.

Browser
A computer software program that is used to view and interact with Internet material on the World Wide Web. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, and FireFox (or Mozilla) are three of the most popular browsers.

Browser Hijacker
A common spyware program that changes your web browser's home page automatically, even if you change it back.

C

Cache (pronounced "cash")
A form of computer memory that allows you to access stored information, such as web addresses you've recently typed into your browser, more quickly. 

CAN-SPAM Act
A law that prohibits senders of unsolicted commercial email from using false or misleading header information or deceptive subjust lines, and requires they identify each email as an advertiesement, among other provisions.

Cookies
A small text file that a website can place on your computer's hard drive to collect information about your activities or to allow other capabilities on the site.

Cyberspace
Used to distinguish the physical world from the digital, or computer-based world.

D

Download
To copy files from one computer to another; to view a website or other web material with a browser.

Dumpster Diving
Thieves rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper that includes your personal information.

E

Encryption
A process in which data is scrambled before it is transferred so that it cannot be read by unauthorized parties.

Enhanced Security Login

Provides security at login, no matter what computer you sign in from, using additional end user authentication that helps to protect against online fraud. Also referred to as Multifactor Authentication.

Exposure
When sensitive data is released to someone without authorization.

F

Filter
Software that screens information on the Internet, classifies its content, and allows the user to block certain kinds of content.

Firewall
A gateway supported by hardware or software that limits access between computer networks. Firewalls can protect your home ocmputer from hackers and your family from web sites that may contain offensive material.

H

Hacker
A person who tries to gain unauthorized access to a computer system. Hackers are known to modify computer programs and security systems that protect home and office computers.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
A coding language used to create documents on the Internet and control how web pages appear.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
The standard language that computers connected to the World Wide Web use to communicate with each other.

I

IP Address
A computer's "address".  It consists of a series of numbers separated by periods.

K

Keystroke Capture
A spyware program or device that records what users type on their computer. Also referred to as Keystroke Logger.

L

LAN (Local Area Network)
A network of connected computers that are generally located near each other, such as in an office or company.

M

Malware
Also known as "malicious software", malware is designed to harm, attack or take unauthorized control over a computer system. See Virus, Trojan and Worm.

Monitoring Software
Programs that allow a parent or caregiver to monitor the websites a child visits or email messages he or she reads, without blocking access.

N

Network
A group of two or more computers that are able to communicate with one another.

O

Online Profiling
Compiling information about consumers' preferences and interests by tracking their online movements and actions in order to create targeted ads.

Operating System
The main program that runs on a computer.  An operating system allows other software to runa nd prevents unauthorized users from accessing the system.  Major operating systems include UNIX, Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Opt-In
Permission granted to a business or organization to use your email address for promotional or marketing purposes, or to rent your email address to another organization.

Opt-Out
The opposite of Opt-In. Not granting permission for a business or organization to use your email address for promotional or marketing purposes, or to rent your email address to another organization.

P

P2P, Peer-to-Peer
An informal network that allows users to share music, games, software, or other files with other users online.

Patch
A new software release created to update a computer software program. Updates may include security, performance, or usability enhancements.

Parental Controls
Tools that allow parents to prevent their children from accessing certain Internet content that they might find inappropriate.

Pharming
Pharming takes place when users type in a valid URL and you are illegally redirected to a web site that is not legitimate in order to capture personal inforamtion through the internet such as credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number and other sensitive information.

Phishing
The process of seeking to obtain personal information illegally through email or pop-up messages in order to deceive you into disclosing your credit card umbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information.

Pop-Up Ads
A form of web advertising that appears as a "pop-up" on a computer scree. They are intended to increase web traffic or capture email addresses. However, sometimes pop-up ads are designed with malicious intent like when they appear as a request for personal inforamtion from a financial institution.

Privacy Policy
A standard policy included on most corporate websites that explains how persoal information collected about visitors to a company's site is handled.

S

Service Pack
A software program that updates, fixes and/or enhances a softwar program found on your computer, typically delivered in the form of a single, installable package.

Skimming
When an unauthorized second copy of a credit or debit card is taken by an emloyee at a store by using a storage device that copies the details held within the card's magnetic strip.

Spam
Unsolicited bulk electronic "junk" messages sent to huge numbers of people vis email, instant messaging, Usenet newsgroups, and more.

Spam Zombies
Home computers that have been taken over by spammers who then use them to send spam in a way that hides the true origin.

Spoofing
A form of phishing. A way for cyber criminals to send emails that look legitimate, but are not, to falsely represent a legitimate company or organization. The false email from phishing will include a phony link to what closely resembles a legitimate website address. Once click upon, the victim is asked to provide personal informaiton which is then forwarded to criminals.

Spyware
Loaded onto your computer unbeknownst to you, spyware is a type of program that watches what users do and forwards information to hackers over the Internet.

T

Trojan Horse (Trojans)
A malicious program that is disguised or embedded within a legitimate software program that, when activated, unwittingly allows hackers to gain unauthorized access to the computer.

U

Upload
To copy or send files or data from one computer to another.

V

Virus
A self-replicating computer program, loaded on to your computer without your knowledge that spreads by making copies of itself and clogging up your computer's memory.

W

Wireless Network
A method of connecting a computer to other computers or the Internet without linking them by cables.

World Wide Web
An Internet system which distributes graphical, hyperlinked information through a browser.

Worm
Similar to a computer virus, a worm attaches itself to, and becomes part of, another executable program. Able to self-propagate, worms generally harm the network and consume bandwidth.

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