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Glossary


Adware: a legitimate, non-replicating program designed to display ads to the end user, often based on monitoring of browsing habits.
           
Anti-antivirus virus: Anti-antivirus viruses attack, disable, or infect specific anti-virus software.
 
Anti-virus software: Anti-virus software scans a computer's memory and disk drives for viruses. If it finds a virus, the application informs the user and may clean, delete, or quarantine any files, directories, or disks affected by the malicious code.
 
Armored virus: An armored virus tries to prevent analysts from examining its code. The virus may use various methods to make tracing, disassembling, and reverse engineering its code more difficult.    
 
Background scanning: a feature in some anti-virus software to automatically scan files and documents as they are created, opened, closed, or executed.    
 
Backup: A backup is a duplicate copy of data made for archiving purposes or for protection against damage and loss.
 
Blended Threat: Combine the characteristics of viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, and malicious code with server and Internet vulnerabilities to initiate, transmit, and spread an attack.
 
Bot: Derived from the word "robot," a bot is a software program that performs repetitive functions, such as indexing information on the Internet.
 
Bot network: a network of hijacked zombie computers controlled remotely by a hacker. The hacker uses the network to send spam and launch Denial of Service attacks, and may rent the network out to other cyber criminals.
 
Bug: an unintentional fault in a program that causes actions that neither the user nor the program author intended.
 
Cache: When you download a web page, the data is "cached," meaning it is temporarily stored on your computer. The next time you want that page, instead of requesting the file from the web server, your web browser just accesses it from the cache, so the page loads quickly.
 
Cookie: blocks of text placed in a file on your computer's hard disk. Web sites use cookies to identify users who revisit their site.
           
Crimeware: malicious software such as viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, deceptive scripts, and other programs used to commit crimes on the Internet including identity theft and fraud.
 
Cyber criminals: hackers, crackers, and other malicious users that use the Internet to commit crimes such as identity theft, PC hijacking, illegal spamming, phishing and pharming, and other types of fraud.
 
Defragmentation: When you use the same file over and over again, writing, rewriting, saving, and deleting parts of it on the same disk, the file becomes fragmented. That means that although you can't tell, your operating system is storing all the data from that file as separate packages of information, distributed on different parts of the disk. Defragmentation collects all those parts into one stream of data again, speeding up your system.
 
Denial of service (DoS): an attack specifically designed to prevent the normal functioning of a system and thereby to prevent lawful access to the system by authorized users. Hackers can cause Denial of Service attacks by destroying or modifying data or by overloading the system’s servers until service to authorized users is delayed or prevented.
 
Domain Spoofing: the use of someone else's domain name when sending a message and is part of the larger problem of spoofing.
 
Encryption: the scrambling of data so that it becomes difficult to unscramble and interpret.
           
Firewall: prevents computers on a network from communicating directly with external computer systems. A firewall typically consists of a computer that acts as a barrier through which all information passing between the networks and the external systems must travel.
 
FTP: acronym for 'File Transfer Protocol'. A method used to transfer files between computers on a network, such as the Internet.
 
Hijacking: an attack whereby an active, established session is intercepted and used by the attacker.
           
Identity theft: occurs when an attacker impersonates or pretends to be you. They acquire key pieces of information such as your Social Security Number, birth date, drivers license number or other personal information.
 
Keylogger: malicious programs that record the key strokes a user types on their PC, including instant message and email text, email addresses, web sites visited, passwords, credit card and account numbers and other private data.
 
Malware: a generic term used to describe malicious software such as viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, and malicious active content.           
 
Mutating virus: a virus that changes, or mutates, as it progresses through its host files making disinfection more difficult.
 
Partition: in computer terms, a partition is a defined storage area on a hard drive. With most operating systems, users can divide a hard drive into multiple partitions. In essence, the original physical drive becomes multiple smaller logical drives. A common use of partitions is to organize data in a more efficient manner.
 
Pharming: the exploitation of a vulnerability in DNS server software that allows a hacker to redirect a legitimate web site's traffic to a counterfeit web site. The spoofed site is designed to steal personal information such as usernames, passwords, and account information.
           
Phishing: a form of criminal activity using social engineering techniques through email or instant messaging. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire other people’s personal information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an apparently official electronic communication.           
 
Redirect: an action used by some viruses to point a command to a different location. Often this different location is the address of the virus and not the original file or application.
           
Registry: The Windows Registry stores system configuration details so that Windows looks and behaves just as you want it to. The Registry stores user profile information such as wallpaper, color schemes, and desktop arrangements in a file called user.dat. And it stores hardware- and software-specific details, such as device management and file extension associations, in a file called system.dat.
 
Rootkit: a component that uses stealth to maintain a persistent and undetectable presence on the machine. Actions performed by a rootkit, such as installation and any form of code execution, are done without end user consent or knowledge.
 
Scanner: a virus detection program that searches for viruses.
 
Sniffer: a software program that monitors network traffic. Hackers use sniffers to capture data transmitted over a network.            
 
SONAR: acronym for 'Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response'. SONAR is a security software from Symantec that analyzes the behavior of programs running on a computer in order to decide whether or not they are malicious. The more common method to achieve this is to compare a program's code to a database of known malware (signature-based method).
 
Spam: unsolicited or undesired bulk electronic messages.
 
Spim: spam for instant messaging.
 
SPIT: spam over internet telephony
 
Spyware: a wide range of unwanted programs that exploit infected computers for commercial gain.
 
ThreatCon: stands for 'Threat Condition'. A global security alerting system from Symantec. ThreatCon is a free interactive tool that alerts users to the current state of global Internet security, providing them with up-to-date information so they can protect themselves against a wide range of online threats.
 
Trojan horse: a malicious program that pretends to be a benign application. It purposefully does something the user does not expect. Trojans are not viruses since they do not replicate, but they can be just as destructive.    
 
URL Spoofing: A phony Web site that poses as a legitimate site. URL spoofing is an attempt to masquerade or closely mimic the Web address displayed in a Web browser’s address bar.
 
Virus: a computer program file capable of attaching to disks or other files and replicating itself repeatedly, typically without user knowledge or permission.
 
Wardriving: The unauthorized act of seeking out and mapping wireless access points (APs) that are available for free network access, such as those at a coffee house or an airport--or an office AP with a leaky signal.
 
Warchalking: The unauthorized act of physically marking the locations of wireless access points (APs) that are available for free network access, such as those at a coffee house or an airport--or an office AP with a leaky signal. The word chalking derives from the informal system of markings used by vagabonds to indicate places where one might get a meal or a place to sleep.
 
Worm: parasitic computer programs that replicate, but unlike viruses, do not infect other computer program files. Worms can create copies on the same computer, or can send the copies to other computers via a network.