Glossary of Security Related phrases that are commonly used and what they actually mean in layman’s terms.
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Adware: software that contains advertisements embedded in the software, generating revenue for the software publisher. Adware may also be used by the publisher to track user’s habits so that ads can be targeted accordingly. (Also known as advertising-supported software).
Anti-virus virus: a virus created to specifically hinder the performance of anti-virus software.
Anti-virus software: software installed on a computer to provide a layer of defence from potentially harmful viruses.
Bloat ware: inefficiently designed software that takes up valuable system resources (hard drive space, CPU and memory utilization, etc.) and causes slower computer performance and/or hinders PC functionality.
Bundled-software: software that comes pre-installed on a tablet or PC by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or software that automatically installs with another application most commonly via downloading from a download distributor.
Browser hijacking: when one’s web browser has been changed or modified by a scammer sometimes as a way to generate advertising revenue or drive traffic to their own site. This also includes web page redirection, search provider modifications as well as any web browser extension that is designed to inject or modify the HTML source of the current web page in order to load advertisements and or track the user.
Cookies: text files saved on a computer by a web browser in order to identify the user, typically harmless and commonly used.
Crapware: unwanted or unnecessary software installed on one’s computer by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or by bundled software, offering little to no value… only taking up prime real estate. OEMs often receive lucrative incentives from third party software vendors to bundle and preinstall crapware prior to shipping. Software bundlers also receive high pay-outs per install (PPI) for bundling such software.
Crime ware: malicious software designed to deceive users, typically to capture personal information (bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc.) which is either then sold to third parties or used by the creator to commit or abet in identity theft
Grayware: software that is not classified as being malware, but may contain some possible security risks and/or hamper the performance of a PC or tablet. This often includes software such as web browser toolbars that have legitimate EULAs but offer little value to the user.
Malware: a general term used to define any type of software that is designed to interfere with the functionality of a PC or tablet. Common types of malware include but are not limited to; adware, spyware, Trojans, ransomware, viruses, worms, rootkits and rogue security software.
Malvertising: takes place when a web site publisher unwittingly puts a corrupted ad on their site. Such ads are deceptively camouflage what appears to be a legitimate ad for a well-known company or product. When a reader clicks on the corrupted ad, their system can either be immediately compromised or they are redirected to a malicious site. The practice of malvertising is relatively new to the malware scene and will be, and will most likely become a more persistent problem in time.
Ransomware: a type of malware that puts a user’s system on lockdown or encrypts files until a ransom fee is paid typically via bitcoin, credit card or wire transfer to the ransomware author. Ransomware can be extremely difficult to remove, especially for novice PC users.
Rogue security software: bogus security software, offered via scareware, scamware or ransomware (see definitions) tactics, that is designed to trick the user into believing they need to purchase for so called detected virus or similar malware.
Rootkits: software designed to provide a consistent, undetectable presence (concealment) on a user’s PC and establishes command and control capabilities that allows it to be manipulated.
Scamware: an application designed to trick a user into purchasing unneeded and or potentially hazardous software. Scamware is often times cleverly and well-disguised to look like security software when in fact it is that it does nothing more than fleece the unsuspecting user. (Synonyms: fraudware, scareware)
Trialware: software that is offered to a user for a free and limited about of time, commonly a 30-day trial period so that program can be sampled by the user. Should the user want to continue the use of the program an opportunity to purchase is typically offered at the end of the trial term. (Synonyms: demoware, shareware)
Trojans or Trojan horses: a type of malware program that is hidden in what appears to be a legitimate file such as an email attachment or download, that once activated can cause significant system damage and/or relinquish personal data based on its designed intent.