Knowledge Base

Knowledge Base - Online Terminology


Adware can do a number of different things to your system. It can monitor and profile your web usage and direct pop-up ads based on your surfing habits. There are many free-to-use programs that install Adware at the same time. When you install, make sure you read the terms and conditions of the licence agreement it may tell you that an Adware package is installed at the same time. Adware is not as dangerous as other infections, but it can be incredibly annoying.

Anti-spyware program

This is a program that protects your PC against spyware and helps to keep your computer and personal details secure.

Anti-virus software

This is software that is designed to detect viruses and prevent them from infecting your machine. Often these viruses are transmitted via email.


Browser software provides you with the means to view a web page. Without browser software, you would not be able to surf the Internet.

Computer viruses

A computer virus is a piece of code that is secretly introduced into a system in order to corrupt it or destroy data. Often viruses are hidden in other programs or documents and when opened, the virus is let loose.


This is a collection of information, usually including a username and the current date and time, stored on the local computer of a person using the Internet. It is used by websites to identify users who have previously registered or visited the site.


Encryption converts data into an encoded form before it is sent over the Internet. This prevents unauthorised access to the information.


Any of a number of security schemes that prevent unauthorised users from gaining access to a computer network or that monitors transfers of information to and from the network or personal computer.

Identity theft

This is the crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another person for the purpose of assuming that person's name to make transactions or purchases.

Internet Diallers

The purpose of a dialler is to disconnect you from your normal internet service provider and instruct your modem to dial out on an 0900 or international toll number. The dialler takes just a few seconds to download and may install itself as an icon on your desktop and/or in the start up menu on your computer. In many cases, the user has to actively click a link to download the software. Your internet browser may open a new window asking you to agree to commence the installation process. Often users simply click 'YES' without actually reading the disclaimer or realising what it is. Some internet diallers automatically install themselves, taking advantage of the computer user's inattention.

Keystroke logging

This involves the capturing of information that you type on the keyboard by installed hardware. This is often used by fraudsters to capture personal details including passwords.


Popups are a form of online advertising on the World Wide Web. It works when web sites open a new web browser window to display advertisements. Sometimes the popup adverts can have adult content that would not be suitable for children.

Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

This is a protocol that provides a high level of security for communication over the Internet.

Security Patches

A security patch is a software update that fixes a particular bug or security hole in another piece of software (usually an Operating System). Software manufacturers recommend that users install the patches when they are made available, to ensure their systems are as bug-free and secure as possible.


Unsolicited email, often of a commercial nature, sent indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists or individuals.


This is software that secretly gathers information about a user while he/she navigates the Internet. This information is normally used for advertising purposes. Spyware can also gather information about email addresses, credit card numbers and even passwords.

Trojan horse

This is a program that disguises itself as another program. Similar to a virus, these programs are hidden and cause an unwanted effect. They differ from viruses because they are normally not designed to replicate like a virus.


A computer virus is a piece of code that is secretly introduced into a system in order to corrupt it or destroy data. Often viruses are hidden in other programs or documents and when opened, the virus is let loose.


This is a special type of virus that spreads without any user interaction, typically by exploiting a flaw in popular software.