Terms You Should Know


Adware/Spyware: A “Trojan” usually embedded in a pop-up advertisement that installs onto your computer automatically sends sensitive information to advertisers and would-be hackers.  Some allow the originator to take control of your computer or scan your file system.


Bug:  An error or design flaw in computer software.


Crack: To break a security code, password or other device designed to protect systems or data.


Critical Update: A patch that contains highly recommended bug fixes.  These usually pertain to patching security holes.


Drive-by Download: The unwanted installation of spyware or adware on your PC, usually precipitated by pop-up advertisements.


Firewall: A hardware/software device positioned between your network (or PC) and the internet designed to protect you from would-be intruders.


Hacker: An individual who attempts to break into your computer system, usually to steal information or do damage.


Key-Logger: A Trojan designed to covertly log keyboard input and periodically email it to its originator.


Patch: A software correction released to fix one or a small group of software errors.


Service/Support Pack: A large compilation of patches and updates.


Security Hole: A bug that allows hackers access to files or data.


Trojan: A program that neither replicates or copies itself, but does damage or compromises the security of the computer; typically propagated via email.


Virus: A program or code that replicates itself by infecting another program, boot sector, partition sector or document. Viruses are often malicious, deleting system files, erasing hard drives, etc.


Worm: A program that makes copies of itself, for example from one disk drive to another, or by copying itself using email or some other transport mechanism. It may do damage and compromise the security of the computer