Adbot– similar to spybots, adbots are computer programs that cache themselves in advertisements that display on a user’s computer when certain predefined links are clicked on and used.
Adware– adware is a type of free software program that users can utilize that is supported solely by advertising. Web browser toolbars, games, and utility programs are all common forms of adware. The programs are free to use but require users to watch advertisements that display somewhere on the page when the program is open. Because of the nature of the program, an Internet connection is usually required. Most adware programs are safe to use on your computer, but some of them also serve as spyware that collects information from your hard drive. If you are going to use adware make sure it is from a reputable company before downloading.
Anti-virus– a software program used to defend and protect a computer system against attacks from malicious software, viruses, Trojans, hijackers, dialers, key loggers and other computer code that will vandalize the contents of the computer. Most anti-virus software is run in the background of the computer at all times and should be kept updated in order to combat newer versions of malware.
Backdoor– a special feature of a computer program that has been added by the programmer to allow them to fix bugs. This feature is not accessible to most users of the program; however, it is accessible to a hacker who is aware the backdoor is there. Also called a trap door, backdoors are security risks in computer programs.
Back-up– an electronic copy of a file or computer directory that is stored on a separate device from the computer the original is stored on. Back-ups are used to restore systems that crash or are corrupted.
Browser hijacker– a type of spyware that ‘hijacks’ your computer browser so that hackers can spy on your browsing habits, reset your homepage, redirect your browser to other websites you commonly would not go to and deliver pop-up advertisements to appear and take over your computer screen.
Bug– a glitch in a computer program that causes the program to malfunction. Bugs typically are not caused by anything the user has done and are unintentional issues programmed into the software by the programmer. Most software is released after the bugs are fixed but occasionally some do get through when commercialized causing a patch to be issued later to fix the bug.
Crimeware– any type of malicious software that can be used to commit Internet crime including identity theft and fraud. Also known as malware, crimeware includes viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, deceptive scripts and other programs.
.exe– .exe is the extension on a computer file that means it’s an executable file, typically some type of program that runs on your computer. When you click on the file or enter the program name in the command prompt, the executable files are launched. These programs can be executed from other programs, script files, and batch files. Executable files are typically known to carry computer viruses.
Firewall– a computer program that acts as a barrier between your computer and the internet through which all information must pass through in order to prevent computer corruption from viruses and other malicious software. The firewall analyzes the information that is passing between the internet and computer and rejects anything that does not conform or meet set parameters.
Hack– hack can be defined in two different ways when it comes to computer terminology. A hack can be a small program that is used to solve a problem with a larger program because there is no pre-written software for it. Hack can also mean changing a computer program in a way that is not normally done. For instance, someone can hack a computer program that is limited until a registration key is input by using a trick key or patch to bypass the restriction.
Hacker– someone who is able to write computer code that allows them to illegally modify computer programs, administrative tasks and security related items whether for positive or negative results. Hackers usually create malware in order to hack into computer systems and commit crimes such as identity theft.
Hard drive– the physical piece of the computer that holds all of your data and other computer files. Most hard drives today are only slightly larger than your hand but can hold over 100 GB of information. The hard drive is mounted inside the computer case.
Identity theft– the unauthorized use of personal or private information belonging to another person – such as a social security number, PIN number, bank account number, credit card number, etc. – to commit fraudulent activities under the other person’s name. Identity theft is a criminal offense.
Keylogger– malicious programs that track and record all of a user’s keystrokes to gain access to personal information such as e-mails, passwords, credit card information, account numbers, and other private information.
Log– list of all requests made by a computer user for individual files that pertain to a website. A log can also be defined as a list of requests made by a user for specific computer programs or processes on a personal computer system.
Malicious software– software that has been developed solely for the purpose of doing harm to the computer user’s system. See also: malware.
Malware– generic terms used for any type of malicious software that includes computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, and any website content that has malicious content in it that can hurt your computer.
Phishing– a type of malicious and criminal computer activity where “phishers” attempt to acquire personal information through e-mails, social engineering and instant messaging. Phishers pretend they are reliable people or businesses in hopes of obtaining passwords, credit card details or other information usually through an e-mail that appears to be an official communication.
RAT– stands for Remote Administration Trojan. This type of Trojan infects a user’s machine and it is controlled interactively by the attacker. It works similar to the way a user requests website data with a web browser.
Registry– the settings that control all of the hardware and software installed on a computer. It can be edited directly by the user as only a last resort and it can be cleaned using a utility application that removes bits and pieces of old programs that are no longer on the computer. Registry entries can also be edited by viruses and malicious software.
Rootkit– a type of computer program that is installed on a computer system without the user’s knowledge or consent that provides an undetectable environment for the execution of malicious coding. Rootkits do not directly infect a computer like viruses do and they can provide an attacker with a method of accessing the computer system remotely to do damage.
Spybot– also known as surveillance or data mining bots, spybots collect user data including surfing habits, company information or website information. The spybot is designed to then pass along the information to marketing firms or rival companies.
Spyware– unwanted computer programs that infect computers by delivering unsolicited advertisements, monitor surfing habits for marketing purposes or route all browser requests to advertising websites. Additionally they can steal personal information such as credit card numbers to be used for malicious purposes.
Trojan/Trojan horse– taken from the wooden horse used by the Greeks to sneak into the city of Troy, a Trojan virus sneaks onto a computer disguised as an innocent program. Once the program is executed the Trojan will launch and infect the computer. Trojans do not replicate or spread like other viruses and there are numerous types of Trojans throughout the Internet.
Utility– a computer program or application that is used to support the computer environment and other software. These programs are small and limited in their abilities. Utility programs include file searches, content comparison, file management and diagnostic testing.
Virus– a computer program that attaches to disk drives or other files to infect the computer maliciously. Viruses replicate and are installed without the users knowledge or permission. Viruses can execute when a program is opened, files are modified or created. Viruses can cause your computer to display symptoms of infection or remain non-damaging and sit on the system until a certain command is executed.
Worm– a parasitic computer program that is considered a virus because it replicates but does not infect other computer files. The worm is spread to other computers through a network.