Part 1: Key Terms
Click on the term to go directly to further information.
Adware A type of program that installs advertisements directly on to your computer. For example, a popular form of adware will lock Internet Explorer's default web page to a certain company's URL, so that any time you browse the Internet you have to visit that company's site first.
Anti-Spyware/Adware Software software that detects and removes Spyware and Adware which is often missed by Antivirus software.
Antivirus Software Programs that protect against and remove viruses, Trojans, and worms from your computer. Popular antivirus software includes Norton Antivirus and McAfee Virus Scan
Bugs Mistakes in the way a program was made that cause your computer act in ways that weren't intended.
Email Viruses Any virus sent through email. Viruses are frequently spread as email attachments.
Firewall A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to your network. Firewalls come in both software and hardware forms and they check incoming and outgoing messages to and from a computer to insure that private information stays private.
ISP Internet Service Provider, simply the company that you pay for Internet service. Common ISPs are AOL, Comcast, MSN.
Network Two or more computers connected together to share files, software, hardware and/or Internet access. Computers on a network can be connected with wires or wirelessly and there are security concerns particular to both methods.
Phishing Con artists sending emails which are fraudulently made to look like official emails from reputable companies in an attempt to find out personal information such as street addresses, credit card numbers, and passwords.
Security Holes Computer programs are never perfectly written. There are always mistakes and situations the programmers didn't take into account. Security holes are problems with the programming that unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of to get into your computer and cause serious problems--even though they shouldn't be able to interfere with your system.
Spyware A type of program that sends information about your Internet activities and computer usage back to its creator.
Trojan Horse A type of malicious program that masquerades as a benign or even helpful application in order to trick you into installing it. For example, a program that claims to rid your computer of viruses but instead introduces viruses onto your computer. The term comes from the a Greek story of the Trojan War.
Updates Extra pieces of program which can usually be downloaded for free from the manufacturer's website. These pieces of program fix or "patch" the security holes and bugs discovered after the original release of the product.
URL Uniform Resource Locator, simply another name for a web address.
Virus Any program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge then runs against your wishes.
Worm A type of virus that replicates itself over a computer network and usually performs malicious actions, such as using up the computer's resources and possibly shutting the system down.