Glossary

Item Description

Malware

It is short for malicious (or malevolent) software that is designed to  damage or disable a computer system with evil intent. This term contains various types of spiteful programs that will do harm to the computer agains users’will, such as Trojan horse, virus, spyware, worm and so forth. Such program  is usually used for criminal purposes and can be embedded in other executable software. The system may not be the only thing they target at because it can also collect personal information for illicit purposes.

Adware

Adware, means advertising-supported software, which can generate annoying  pop-up ads, advertising banners or any other forms of advertisements automatically in the program or on your screen. It can be downloaded or installed  as a piece of legitimate software since the developers may think advertising is a way to cover development costs or gain extra profit. Sometimes it is safe to use an adware, but in most cases, the adware are intrusive and it is hard to uninstall them.

Backdoor

A backdoor in a computer system is an unauthorized way to get access to the system or the data undetectably. It originally is supposed to be used by programmers of legitimate software to easily regain the access to the system or the software in case something goes wrong with the program and they need to fix the error. However, attackers now often take advantage of it to bypass the security facilities and compromise the computer for stealing or destroying important information.

Botnet

It is also known as “zombie army” which is a collection of compromised computers  infected with malware that allows an attacker to control them. The controler of the botnet can control the group remotely to send large quantities of spam or launch distributed denial-of-service attacks which will make a website crash and the server unavailable to users.

P2P

It is the abbreviation for peer to peer. In computer, “peer” is a computer system which is connected to the other via network. P2P is a decentralized communications model which each party has same properties and responsibilities. It is now often used for media sharing, file sharing and information transfer, but it also can be used to bypass firewalls and distribute malware.

Phishing

It is a fraudulent attempt that usually appears as an email from a trustworthy enterprise like an online bank, Facebook or Yahoo. Phishers are trying to use this tactic to trick users into surrendering their personal information such as credit card number, password and phone numbers so they can steal money on the Internet. Most of computer users are unable to figure out  if the website they visiting is real or not, so phishing has been increasingly threatening people.

Rootkit

It is a program (or a set of tools) that hides its presence or the presence of other unsafe program on the computer. It allows the attacker to intrude an unprotected computer and gain administrator privileges the computer without being noticed. Please note that rootkit can also be legitimate, however, it is commonly used by cyber criminals for commercial purposes in recent years.

Spyware

As the name suggests, it refers to any software that  collects users’ information and records users’ activities and then may send the info to other third party without users’ knowledge and consent. Usually, it monitors users’ movements on the Internet for the need of browsing preference, log-in information or even personal privacy from advertisers or other interested parties.

Trojan Horse

Unlike virus and worm, Trojan horse is a nonreplicating program which cannot spread by itself. It is mainly transmitted aroud the world through email, malicious website, unsafe link, shareware and unrecognized free download. It contains a series of malicious codes that will perform harmful actions on infected computers which typically are stealing data, damaging data, installing other malware and deleting files.

Virus

A computer virus is a malicious computer program that is able to reproduce itself and attach the copies to other programs, computer boot sector or other files. Such infection can hide in a URL link as an instant message and spread from computer to computer rapidly.  Some viruses will breach computer systems as soon as they are executed after gets inside a computer. Some other viruses will keep dormant until trigger conditions are meet to stimulate their codes to be executed.

Worm
Unlike a virus, a worm primarily can be diffused by exploiting system vulnerabilities, network connection and email without attaching to any program. It will not alter or infect other files but replicate itself to eat up your system resources or even shut the system down. Attackers may use it to threat and blackmail the victims or a compromised website.
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