Glossary

adware
From the words ‘advertising’ + ‘software’. This is a free software application that contains advertising banners.

attachment
File sent together with an e-mail.

antispyware
Program that ensures that other programs are not spying on your activity or transmitting personal data.

antivirus
Program that verifies, detects, and prevents the presence of viruses in your computer.

authentication
Process through which a computer, a software or a user verifies the identity of another computer, software or user that wants to establish a connection.

backdoor
Backdoors allow partial or full access to the security procedures activated in a computer system. A backdoor is a privileged access provided by the software manufacturer to perform tests or maintenance operations, but they can also be created by malware (Trojan horses) to provide access to hackers.

bugs
A bug is an error in a computer program that causes a program to malfunction, crash or freeze. Bugs can be serious and even make your computer vulnerable to cyber attacks.

cache
A cache (which means “hidden” in French) is a set of data stored temporarily that can be retrieved quickly upon request.

Trojan horse
Programs that hide inside other apparently benign executable programs or files with the purpose to execute a code. These usually gather information or open a hidden door to access the computer.

digital certificate
An electronic document that binds the identity of a person with a public key issued by a recognised certification authority according to international standards. These certificates ensure a person’s identity or a website’s protection.

cookie
Cookies are small text files used by websites to store some information on the user’s computer. Cookies are installed to keep track of sessions and are stored on the computer. When you visit the website again, the cookies are sent to the website again for automatic logins or to return the stored information. The information inside a cookie is often encoded and incomprehensible.

DHCP
Communication protocol that allows a computer to obtain the configuration required to establish a connection (IP address, DNS, default gateway, etc.) automatically.

DNS
Domain Name System, a system used to  resolve host names to their IP addresses and vice-versa.

e-mail
Electronic Mail, a service through which every user connected to the Internet can send and receive messages.

executable file
A file that contains an executable machine-language program ready to be used.

temporary files
The Temporary Internet Files (or cache) folder contains web page content stored in your hard disk. This cache allows you to download the content that has changed since you last viewed a web page instead of downloading the entire page every time you view it.

firewall
Hardware or software component that filters the incoming and outgoing network or computer traffic according to the security policies that protect it.

gateway

Generic term that identifies a service that forwards data traffic to the Internet. The hardware that carries out this task is called router.

hoax
False information spread across the Internet.

https
Protocol designed to prevent the content tranferred over the Internet to be viewed. HTTPS integrates the HTTP transfer protocol with an asymmetric encryption mechanism.

identification
Process that allows a person’s identity to be verified by entering relevant information, such as a password, an e-mail address, etc.

IP address
A number that uniquely identifies a computer network and the devices connected to it.

Internet Service Provider
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company or organisation that provides users (private individuals or businesses) access to the Internet and related services.

keylogger

A hardware or software tool that can record every keystroke a user makes.

malware
Malware is any program created with the sole purpose of cause more or less serious damage to computers, users, or information systems to which the computer is connected. The term comes from the words “malicious” and “software”.

patch
A program or part of a program that corrects or updates software.

peer to peer
Data transfer from one computer to another without a client-server network.

pharming
A technique that aims at the unlawful acquisition of sensitive data by redirecting the user to a bogus website.

plug-in
A program that interacts with another program to extend its functions

program
A sequence of commands, instructions, and operations that can be executed by a computer.

SSL protocol
The Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol used  to encrypt communication over the Internet. Its application in a website is identified by a padlock that appears in the browser and the prefix ‘https//’ in the address bar.

provider
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company or organisation that provides users (private individuals or businesses) access to the Internet and related services.

system registry
The database where all the options and settings of an operating system are stored.

scan/scanner

Activity carried out by an antivirus or an antispyware when it verifies all the files in a computer in search of malware

operating system
The program that controls and manages a computer and the peripheral devices connected to it, as well as its basic operations.

website
A website is a set of pages ie, a hypertext structure of documents that can be accessed through a web browser.

social engineering
Art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information.

spam
Sending of unwanted emails (generally commercial). Phishing also uses this technique.

spyware
Software that gathers information on the users’ online activity without their consent.

SSL
The Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol used  to encrypt communication over the Internet. Its application in a website is identified by a padlock that appears in the browser and the prefix ‘https//’ in the address bar.

Trojan horse
Programs that hide inside other apparently benign executable programs or files with the purpose to gather information or open a hidden door to access the computer.

URL
Uniform Resource Locator: a sequence of characters that uniquely identifies the address of an Internet resource, such as a document or an image.

usenet
A worldwide network formed by thousands of discussion groups that share common interests.

virus
Software that, once run, self-replicates and infects the files in the computer.

Wi-Fi
The technology that enables wireless connectivity between a device and a local area network. The term Wi-Fi comes from ‘Wireless Fidelity’ and is the trademark term for wireless local area networks.

worm
A worm is malware that can self-replicate. It is similar to a virus, but does not need to attach itself to an existing program to propagate.