Internet Glossary

  • Adware – A form malicious code that displays unsolicited advertising on your computer. Typically, adware gets installed when you browse or download from a shareware or freeware application (Limewire and Bearshare are two sites that are notorious for this). These stealth downloads bring targeted advertisements to your computer that can seriously impact the performance of your computer. The advertisements create revenue for the company that placed the software on your computer. The most visible ways to discover you have Adware are the arrival of web-based ads in pop-up windows and annoying advertising banners on your computer.  Use a computer ‘cleaner’ product to remove these – there are several on the market. A free product I use is called Ad-Aware. (Note: I receive no funding from Ad-Aware. There are several for-pay options from Ad-Aware and the advantage of these is that they run automatically for you. If you use the free version YOU must remember to run it, and this should be done at least once a week).
  • Blog –A diary or personal journal kept on a Web site, usually updated frequently that may be private or may be intended for public viewing
  • Browser Helper Object (BHO) – A Browser Helper Object (BHO) may look like a useful browser toolbar available in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). However, malicious BHO’s may change your default home page to point to some other site, or they may you’re your web-browsing history and information about your online habits to third-parties for the purposes of targeted advertising. Running an anti-spyware or ‘cleaner’ tool should catch and remove these. If your IE homepage has been hijacked and changed, click here to learn how to fix the problem.

  • Chat room – An online site used for social interaction usually based on a topic or theme where people with shared interests can meet others.

  • Content filtering – Allows you to block certain types of content from displaying there are certain websites that you know you don’t want your children to see. Many software programs allow you to block out information that you find inappropriate or offensive. Some of the things you can screen for include coarse language, nudity, sex and violence. In addition, many Internet browser applications have parental controls to help protect your child from stumbling on to inappropriate sites. You can often choose separate levels of security for each child based on their ages and maturity levels.
  • Cookie (also referred to as a Tracking cookie, browser cookie, HTTP cookie) – Cookies are small pieces of text stored that a web browser places on a user’s computer. Cookies can be used to authenticate a user, track a session or remember specific information about a user, like their site preferences or the items in their electronic shopping cart so these are visible when they return to the site. Cookies are not executable files so they are neither spyware nor viruses, though some cookies are used by companies to track when the user visits various sites. Flash cookies – are an advanced type of cookie that can better trace your browsing patterns and store considerably more information about you than standard cookies. This can give you a much better user experience, but because your browser does not display these cookies, they are harder to delete.
  • Cyberbully, cyber bullies, cyberbullying – Bulling that occurs online. This type of bullying can be particularly damaging because it can occur 7×24. It may be bullying over a cell phone through a threatening call, or text message or a humiliating or threatening image. It may be a ‘fake’ blog that is created to embarrass the victim, or through other online posts, it could be through location tracking/ stalking tools, or through other online means. See my information on cyber bullying

  • Cyber crime –  Criminal activity that targets computers or information or leverages computers and online information to find real world victims
  • Cyber criminals – Those who commit cyber crimes
  • Cyber sex – Also called ‘computer sex’, ‘net sex’, ‘hot chat’, etc. refers to virtual sex encounters in which two or more persons stimulate themselves and each other by pretending to be having actual sex through describing their actions and responding to their partners descriptions. This is mostly done through text, though images, voice and video may also be involved and participants sometimes undress and masturbate.
  • Dialers – This is software that is installed on your PC that dials a phone number. some dialers connect to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and are designed to provide genuine assistance. However, malicious dialers can attempt to connect you to long-distance or toll numbers without your consent, resulting in expensive phone bills.

  • Download – Transfer material from a server or remote computer to your PC/mobile device/game console etc.

  • Email Signatures – this is a block of text added at the end of emails – usually automatically. It often contains your full name, possibly your Job description, location, phone number, an inspirational thought etc.
  • File sharing – Refers to the ability to store files either in a central place that can be shared with as few as one other person, or publicly. Files could be stored on the internet, or on any computer that provides access to others. File sharing allows others who have permission to access the shared file to modify or down load it.
  • Freeware – This is software that is owned and copyrighted, but that the owner is giving away for free. This may be entirely benevolent or it may be intentionally created and distributed to mask the malicious code bundled with it to spread on computers.  DON”T use freeware or any other software if you don’t know for sure the reputation of the company and the safety of the product.
  • Game console – A machine that is specifically designed for playing video games – (though they may also play movies etc) often these are hooked up to a TV or computer screen for viewing. Not all game consoles are capable of internet connections, or are connected to the internet, but if they are connected they allow users to play games with others remotely.
  • Grooming – in this context, it means the systematic way that sexual predators manipulate their victims into trusting them, depending on them, and ultimately meeting them in order to sexually offend them.  This usually involves sympathy, subtle ways to alienate the victim from others and flattery. It may also involve money, gifts or promises of work- especially “modeling jobs”. Predators are very skilled at tuning into whatever tactics will work with a particular child given their specific vulnerabilities and adapt their strategies accordingly. This may occur over only a few days, or may happen over an extended period of time, often between 1-6 months of slow “seduction”. Often older youth are so mentally manipulated that they actually come to believe it is a “love” relationship and may willingly participate in their own abuse. It may take years for them to realize the exploitive nature of the abuse.

  • Identity theft – Stealing someone’s identity in order to impersonate them. Though identity theft is usually associated with financial gain (bank fraud) it may also be in abusing identity for other purposes – to ‘give’ your identity to someone else like an illegal alien, to steal your photos and reuse them for other purposes, to abuse your reputation, etc.
  • Key stroke logging- can be a legitimate way for software developers to understand what is happening as they write code. It can also be used to track all the activities a user does online for other purposes – either monitoring or spying (depending on your point of view) on what people type and where they go online. These may be downloaded by the parent to watch their children, by children to watch their parents, by one adult to watch another adult, or downloaded onto your PC in stealth by malicious cyber criminals who then have the information collected from your online activities sent to them so that they learn your passwords and banking information for example.
  • Layered Service Provider (LSP) – LSPs refers to code that is inserted between your computer and the Internet application connecting to your computer – for example your Internet Browser. Malicious LSPs are used to steal information that you submit through the Internet.
  • Malware – stands for Malicious softWare and is an umbrella term that includes any type of harmful code – “trojans”, “worms”, “spyware”, “adware”, etc that infiltrate a computer without consent of the computer user and are designed to damage the computer, collect information, or allow your computer to be subverted and used remotely to send spam etc.

  • Peer-to-peer – refers to the ability to share files over the internet directly from one internet enable device to another (computer, mobile phone, etc). Often this has been done with music files for example and this may violate copyright laws if the people involved are making copies of material without permission to do so.
  • Persona – in this context, a persona is the person a user chooses to appear to be – rather than the person they are – for example: a 56 yr old man may assume the persona of a 12 year old girl who wants to meet other 12 year old girls
  • Posting information – Means to upload information to the web
  • Predator – Anyone who preys on others. Often this is narrowly associated with sexual predators, but any online predator trying to exploit computers, or users, financially, physically or emotionally is a predator/cybercriminal.

  • Scam – to con, cheat, trick, swindle, sting, rip-off others

  • Shareware – Shareware is method of product advertising that lets you ‘try before you buy’. This type of software can be downloaded from the Internet or may be distributed as a CD and can be used free of charge. The idea is that you will like the program enough to buy it. This may come in the form of the full version of a product with a limited time free use offer, or it may be that it only has some of the features and to get the rest of the features you need to purchase the full product, or to get updates and help you have to buy the full product. This is a great way to try out programs, BUT you need to be sure that you are dealing with reputable companies that will not stealthily download other programs (malware) onto your computer at the same time.
  • Social networking– Refers to a category of Internet applications to help connect friends, business partners, or other individuals together using a variety of tools
  • Spam – Unsolicited e-mail attempting to sell you something. Also known as junk mail.
  • Spyware – is stealthy software that leverages your Internet connection to collect information about you without your knowledge or consent and sends it back to whomever wrote the spyware program. Like adware it is often installed when you download ‘freeware’ or ‘shareware’ programs. Spyware may be looking for your banking information, personal information, etc. It is illegal and pervasive.
  • Text messaging – Is a method of sending short messages (also called SMSestxts, or texting) between mobile phones, other computing devices and even some landline phones.
  • URL – (Uniform Resource Locator) refers to a unique internet address of a file or destination. To find a particular site or document you type the URL into the browser window and the browser will bring up that particular address.
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