List of Terms

Terms and Definitions

Third Generation cellular service. Enhanced wide-area wireless networking at speeds of up to 14 Megabits/second.

Fourth Generation cellular service or WIMAX. An emerging wide-area networking technology that promises a range of 10 miles and speeds of up to 100 Megabits/second.

Anti-virus and anti-malware.
Helpful software applications that scan your computer for certain patterns of infection. The patterns they scan for are the signatures, or definitions, of known forms of malware. Since Bad Guys are creating new forms of malware continuously, it is important that you keep your anti-virus and anti-malware definitions updated. See the “Patches and Updates” definitions below.

A software tool built into Windows (“Microsoft Update”) and OS X (“Auto Update”) and many other applications which can download and install important security updates and patches for software installed on your computer automatically

Black Tuesday a.k.a. Patch Tuesday
On the second Tuesday of each month Microsoft releases security patches for Windows, Internet Explorer, Office and its other software products. You can have these installed automatically using Microsoft Update.

Hackers who use their skills for explicitly criminal or other malicious ends, such as writing malware (malicious software) to steal credit card numbers and banking data or by phishing; a.k.a. the Bad Guys.

Botnets consist of large numbers of hijacked computers that are under the remote control of a criminal or a criminal organization. The hijacked computers —a.k.a. “zombies” or “bots” (short for “robots”) —are recruited using viruses spread by email or drive-by downloads. Worms are used to find and recruit additional computers. The biggest botnets consist of thousands and even millions of computers, most often unprotected home computers.

Broad bandwidth networking. High-speed Internet connections, like DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), Cable Internet, and 3G (Third Generation) cellular services.

Cable or Cable Internet
The other most common way to bring Internet to homes over cable TV lines at speeds ranging from 1.5 to 50 Megabits/second (millions of bits per second).


Carding crimes are offenses in which the Internet is used to traffic in and exploit the stolen credit card, bank account, and other personal identification information of hundreds of thousands of victims globally.

Carding Forums

Carding forums” are websites used by criminals engaged in carding (“carders”) to facilitate their criminal activity. Carders use carding forums to, among other things, exchange information related to carding, such as information concerning hacking methods or computer-security vulnerabilities that could be used to obtain personal identification information; and to buy and sell goods and services related to carding—for example, stolen credit or debit card account numbers, hardware for creating counterfeit credit or debit cards, or goods bought with compromised credit card or debit card accounts. Carding forums often permit users to post public messages—postings that can be viewed by all users of the site—sometimes referred to as threads. For example, a user who has stolen credit card numbers may post a public thread offering to sell the numbers. Carding forums also often permit users to communicate one-to-one through so-called private messages. Because carding forums are, in essence, marketplaces for illegal activities, access is typically restricted to avoid law enforcement surveillance. Typically, a prospective user seeking to join a carding forum can only do so if other, already established users vouch for him or her, or if he or she pays a sum of money to the operators of the carding forum. User accounts are typically identified by a username and access is restricted by password. Users of carding forums typically identify themselves on such forums using aliases or online nicknames (“nics”).”

Digital Subscriber Line. One of the most common ways to bring Internet to homes and small businesses over a telephone line at up to 12 Megabits/second (millions of bits per second).

Drive-by Download
A kind of malware that installs itself automatically when you visit a booby-trapped website. Symptoms of a drive-by download include: your homepage has been changed, unwanted toolbars have been added, and unfamiliar bookmarks appear in your browser.

An older kind of wide-area wireless networking-like a whole city–based on first and second generation cellphone technology with speeds ranging from 300 to 400 kilobits/second (thousands of bits per second).

A way of connecting computers to networks using a cable at speeds ranging from 10 to 10,000 Megabits/second. (millions of bits per second)

Fake Anti-Virus
Fake anti-virus software purports to be a helpful program than can find and remove malware, but in fact it is malware–the very thing that it’s supposed to eliminate. After taking over your computer, it pretends to do security scans, tells you it has found malware, and then asks you to pay to have the non-existent malware removed. Whether or not you pay, fake anti-virus is likely to install more malware.

Fiber-Optic Service. An emerging technology that provides Internet to homes and offices over fiber-optic cables at speeds from 15 to 50 Megabits/second (millions of bits per second).

Software or hardware that prevents outsiders from accessing a computer or network.

Hackers and Crackers
Individuals who break into systems with malicious intent, destroy data, steal copyrighted software or confidential information, and perform other destructive or illegal acts with computers and networks.

Home Computer
Usually a personal computer, either a desktop version or a laptop. Most home computers are of low to medium processing power due to light workload expected of them.

Home Computer Network
Connects (with physical cabling) more than one computer, printer, or storage device with the objective of sharing one or more of the resources between multiple computers, most popular is sharing of a printer.

Home Computer Solutions
Usually a combination of hardware and software is applied to solve a problem by automating a process or work task.

Home Computer Security
A combination of security best practices are applied to secure a computer against failure caused by disaster, hacking, viruses and unauthorized use. Some of which are password protection, data and software backup and recovery, anti-virus software, firewalls, and physical security.

Home Computer Setup
The act of unpacking and connecting the computer, display, printer and other home devices with supplied cables; and then loading the software needed to operate the computer to solve home computing objectives.

Home Internet (includes home broadband)
Describes the use of the Internet through a connection in the home. This home connection can be dial-up using existing telephone service, cable modem using the home’s cable service, or using a faster telephone service using fiber optic networks and specialized connections.

Home Computer Usage
The act of using the computer as a tool to accomplish objectives such as being more productive by automating home based tasks, working from home, playing games, using the Internet for researching and gathering information.

Home Laptop Computers
A laptop computer used at home. Laptop computers are smaller, lighter, more mobile computers than desktop computers. There are currently several models: full sized laptops, slightly smaller notebooks, and very compact Netbooks.

Home Office Computing
Using computers in the home to support a home-based business. Software solutions usually include financial , word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, and customer management and sales.

Home Wireless Networking (same as home wifi, home wlan)
Same as a wired home computer network above, but uses radio frequency to connect the various computers and resources. The advantage of wireless networking is the flexibility of mobility and distance from “networked” resources.

Identity Theft
Cybercriminals steal identities by overhearing conversations on cellphones, intercepting faxes and emails, hacking into computers, employing telephone and email scams, and phishing the users of online services.

IP Address
Internet Protocol Address. Every computer on the Internet is identified by a unique set of numbers known as an Internet Protocol address–usually four numbers separated by dots, for example: These numerical addresses are normally invisible to users and are translated into familiar Web addresses, like Google

Spyware that monitors your keystrokes surreptitiously and sends the information to a “Bad Guy.”

An attack in which a criminal hacker intercepts information sent between your computer and the website of your financial institution and then uses that information to impersonate you in cyberspace. The hacker is able to defeat even very sophisticated security measures and gain access to your account.

The practice of sending out fake email messages that look as if they come from a trusted person or institution——usually a bank— in order to trick people into handing over confidential information. The emails often direct you to a website that looks like that of the real financial institution. But it is a fake and has been rigged to collect your personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers and bank account numbers, and transmit them to the Bad Guys.

Operating systems, like Windows and OS X, and software applications, such as Internet Explorer and Firefox, may be found to contain security flaws or holes that make your computer vulnerable to attack. Their makers release patches to plug the holes. The fastest and surest way to get these installed quickly is to use auto-updating via the Internet. Some software applications require manual updating.

Personal firewall
Software that monitors incoming and outgoing traffic on your computer and checks for suspicious patterns indicating the presence of malware or other malicious activity. A personal firewall alerts you to these threats and attempts to block them. Like anti-virus and anti-malware software, personal firewalls require frequent updates to provide effective protection.

A widespread form of Internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit card and social security numbers and usernames and passwords, by sending you misleading emails designed to lure you into visiting phony or rigged websites.

A cyber-extortion scheme in which thieves use malware–like phony security programs–to take control of your computer and demand that you pay a ransom to regain control.

A device that finds the best route for sending information between networks.


See Ransomware.

Security suite
A set of software applications designed to protect your computer that consists of anti-virus, anti-malware and a personal firewall.

Listening in on a network in order to capture and steal sensitive information.

Social Engineering
Deceptions by criminals posing as someone you trust in order to get you to divulge sensitive information.

An attack in which a person or program you shouldn’t trust masquerades as a person or program you do trust. For example, an attacker forges an email address in order to make you believe it’s from someone you know and trust.

Spyware and Adware
Spyware is a malicious program that installs itself on your computer surreptitiously and monitors and reports your activities and personal information to third parties. Adware is a kind of spyware that generates annoying popup ads.

Trojan Horse
A malicious program that may appear harmless-or even useful-but can also conceal and download other malware that compromises the security and functioning of your computer.

Security software relies on frequent updates in order to be able to counteract previously undetected forms of malware. Consequently, your computer may suffer a ““window of vulnerability” between the time a new form of malware is identified and the time when your security software can block it or remove the infection. Set your security software to update automatically.

A self-replicating program designed to cause damage or mischief that inserts itself into a software program on your computer. Viruses spread from computer to computer, most often through infected emails or websites.

Vulnerabilities and Exploits
Your computer is vulnerable when a hardware or software flaw makes it possible to compromise its security and smooth operation. An exploit is a software application or program that takes advantage of a vulnerability to attack your system.

Hackers who use their skills for positive ends, and often for thwarting blackhats. Many whitehats are security professionals who spend their time identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in software that blackhats seek to exploit for criminal or other malicious purposes.

Wireless Fidelity. The most common kind of short-range wireless networking–about 300 feet–at speeds of up to 108 Megabits/second.

Wireless Security
The use of passwords and encryption of the data to protect an unauthorized person from using your wireless LAN.

Similar to a virus, but worms are self-contained, spread via networks, and do not need to become part of another program in order to spread. Worms infect your operating system and act like a program.


A trojan malware that is injected onto a computer, usually by a victim visiting a website designed to do so, and then steals your online banking credentials and account information and proceeds to transfer your funds from your bank to one owned by a criminal organization.