Internet and PC Security Glossary

Internet and PC security involve maintaining information privacy and the security of a computer system while using the Internet. Since we store sensitive information on our computers, it is imperative to safeguard this information to deter any nefarious activity. There are several actions users can take to protect their privacy and ensure a safe browsing experience. By learning common security terms and what they entail, you can help protect yourself from unauthorized access and keep both your PC and identity safe.

Adware: Some websites display advertisements in the form of banners. Clicking on an ad banner may install adware on a computer. Adware can track Internet activity and gather user information. Adware may also detect passwords, utilize system resources, and create security vulnerabilities.

Backdoor Program: A backdoor program usually sits undetected on a computer system. Once installed, a backdoor program can allow a hacker access to a computer. This program might make a computer unusable, it might erase information, or it could use the computer to attack other computers.

Backup: A computer backup copies data contained in computer drives. Backups might be physical, which involves copying the data to another storage location separate from the computer. Backups can also be logical, which involves backing up database objects.

Blacklist: Responding to phishing emails makes it possible for hackers to utilize an email address to send additional phishing emails. Once this occurs, the email address from which the phishing emails originate could be blacklisted. Once blacklisted, some Internet service providers may block emails coming from this email address.

Blended Threat: A blended threat is a type of computer virus with the ability to invade a system and exploit numerous vulnerabilities simultaneously. Blended threats usually create multiple issues within a computer system.

Botnets: A botnet is a network of bots controlled by a botmaster. These infected bots use malware to infect other vulnerable computer systems for illegal activities.

Cache: A cache is a folder of temporary Internet files stored on a computer. While using the Internet, browsers often download temporary files to hasten loading times.

Certificate Authority: A certificate authority provides a digital certificate that validates a public key of the person recorded on the certificate.

Cloud: Cloud storage is a method of storing data digitally. Cloud storage enables access to data from any location, which differs from physical storage.

Computer Security: Computer security involves protecting a computer from unauthorized access. Computer security safeguards information by keeping software updated and practicing vigilance in online activity.

Cookies: Websites may leave tiny files behind on a computer, called cookies. Cookies can contain login information or tracking code that enables a website to track Internet activity.

Data Breach: A data breach involves the theft or viewing of sensitive information. A data breach may occur as a result of a phishing email or from the unintended download of malware.

Denial of Service Attack: A denial of service attack occurs when an unauthorized user exhausts the resources of a computer system, which prevents authorized users from using it. The system overload results in a block of service.

Digital Certificate: A digital certificate is an electronic file that identifies individuals or resources over the Internet. A digital certificate indicates a secure, encrypted website.

Domain Spoofing: Domain spoofing occurs when a DNS server misreads a connection with a trusted host server. Generally the false trusted host will send a directive to change the IP address in the database. Once this occurs, traffic will be redirected to a hacker's IP address.

Encryption: Ecrypted data is scrambled and unreadable. Encryption prevents data theft because only an authorized person can unscramble the information.

File Scanning: When running or saving a file on the Internet, it's important to perform file scanning first. File scanning checks the file for possible malware, which could infect a system. If a file scan identifies threats, the user can abort the download.

Firewall: A firewall is either hardware or software installed on a computer system, designed to eliminate unauthorized access to the system.

Hacker: A computer hacker is an individual with extensive computer knowledge who uses the knowledge nefariously to gain access to computer systems for personal gain.

Heuristics: With the rapid and ever-changing threat of malware, experts utilize heuristics to detect and resolve computer threats.

Keylogger: A keylogger is a type of malware that installs undetected on a computer system. Once present, the keylogger can record and transfer typed information, such as login credentials, banking information, and passwords.

Malware: Malware is a broad term to describe any type of malicious software that could infect a computer system.

Network: Two or more computers that connect to the Internet or a local area network form a network.

?Passive Attack: A passive attack on a computer system gains access to the system to use the information, but it does not make any changes to the system.

Phishing: Phishing emails are emails that attempt to mislead, trick, or entice recipients into clicking links contained therein.

Pharming: Pharming involves a hacker accessing a website's domain name and redirecting it to a different website.

Recovery: When a computer hard drive crashes, data recovery involves extracting lost data from the computer and making it accessible again.

Rootkit: A rootkit is a program that intrudes into a computer system and gains root access to sensitive areas of a computer.

Secure Connection: A secure connection will provide access to the Internet without allowing intrusions from outside sources. Firewalls can create secure connections.

Security Software: Security software installs on a computer system and protects the system from intrusions and hacking.

Social Engineering: Social engineering involves using the Internet to exploit an individual, not a computer system. This type of attack involves manipulating a person to divulge sensitive information, such as bank account numbers, user names, passwords, or personal contact information.

Spam: Spam is unsolicited and unwanted email that promotes a product or a service. Spam senders usually send a high volume of these emails.

Spyware: Programs that download onto a computer via websites are spyware. Spyware typically monitors Internet activity, and it may record keystrokes entered into the computer. Spyware can also enable further downloads of other malware.

Trojan Horse: A Trojan horse will conceal itself in a computer program, often installing malware onto the system. Many Trojan horses hide inside helpful programs such as anti-virus software.

URL Spoofing: URL spoofing involves a harmful website assuming the identity of another website, controlling the original website's traffic.

Virus: A virus includes various types of malware that can infect a computer, including adware, spyware, Trojan horses, and worms.

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi stands for "wireless fidelity." Wi-Fi offers wireless connectivity to the Internet for computers and other devices.

Wi-Fi Hotspot: A Wi-Fi hotspot provides Internet access for devices located within the range of service.

Worm: A worm is a program that replicates itself on a computer system. Once a worm has infiltrated a computer, it can destroy files and impair security.

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