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The following system and security glossary of terms may help with general definitions of common words in the context of system security and system registry in this site.

Term. General Brief Definition.
AdWare  AdWare ('Advertising Software') is a term generally used to describe an application that provides unwanted advertisements on a computer. There are some overlaps with SpyWare, but generally AdWare is considered to be less harmful. The signs of AdWare, delivery methods and repairs are often the same as SpyWare.
'Bad' Sites Often we refer to the term 'Bad' Site or 'Bad' Websites.  These are generally sites that are not considered safe to visit or interact with for a variety of reasons including distributing MalWare or capturing personal details for nefarious purposes.
Cloud Computing Computing where users access their applications and/or data which is located on the internet.  As such the applications and data can be accessed from different locations via a web connection.
Dialer A malicious Dialer is a program that attempts to dial numbers from a phone line connected to your computer.  Often the numbers dialed are expensive and billed to your account.
Drive By Download Refers to software (generally unwanted malware) that may be downloaded (without user's knowledge) as a website is visited.  This may also apply to messages such as Emails.
False Positive False Positives can occur when a scan identifies a potential threat/problem, but is actually identifying something that may be harmless.  This may happen, for example, if malware tries to disguise itself as a legitimate product.  However, the product may be quite legitimate and harmless.
Firewall A FireWall acts as a security barrier between computer networks. It's more common usage in relation to the internet is that it acts as a barrier between your computer and the internet.

Hacking is generally accessing someone's account / computer / network / website etc without their permission.

Heuristic Attempts to detect Malware not necessarily in database, based on characteristics.


A system of computers connected (networked) across the globe.


An application designed to log your keystrokes, trapping valuable information such as passwords etc.


The term 'MalWare' has evolved as a 'catch-all' phrase that can encompass any manner of viruses, spyware, adware or worms etc. The term can be derived from the phrase 'Malicious Software' and can be used to describe a wide range of problems.

What is MalWare in 60 Seconds Video
What is MalWare in 60 Seconds Video


Pronounced Fishing.   A method by which information is sought from someone, under the guise of a legitimate request.  Such information could include credit card info, personal details etc.

What is Phishing in 60 Seconds Video
What is Phishing in 60 Seconds Video

Registry In brief, the System Registry contains information regarding software and hardware on your PC. The settings within the computer registry affects the way in which your PC operates and interacts. It is important for smooth system operation that the system registry remains stable.

A Rootkit is a type of malware that generally attempts to control and change your system.  They are difficult to detect since they try to hide.

SPAM The term 'SPAM' is generally used to describe unsolicited and unwanted messages. A spammer generally sends such messages in mass quantities. SPAM is usually associated with EMail.


SpyWare ('Spying Software') generally refers to applications that monitor and/or record PC activity. This may include spying on keyboard entry (including passwords) via keyloggers, websites visited and other prying into privacy. SpyWare can overlap with AdWare hence the signs, delivery methods and repairs are often the same.

What is Spyware in 60 Seconds Video
What is Spyware in 60 Seconds video

Trojan A form of MalWare that is disguised as something else.  For example a browser toolbar may have a nice new cool tool, but it could really be recording everything you do.
Viruses A computer virus is a form of MalWare that replicates and spreads across multiple computers. It can take the form of a trojan, worm (network virus), keylogger or other form of pest.
Web Browser Software to access and view documents on the World Wide Web.
World Wide Web A system of documents accessed via the Internet.
Worm A type of virus that replicates across computer networks (including email systems).
Zero Day  Zero Day refers to exploits, vulnerabilities or other risks that potentially exist, but haven't been complete addressed yet.  Example: A security hole in an Operating System that hasn't yet been patched.


Click term (where available) for more information.
Click video (where available) for video information.

   System Security Glossary
Last checked: December 12, 2010
This Security and System Glossary may be updated over time so please visit again.
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This Information is provided for your consideration and we accept no responsibility for it's accuracy and timeliness nor appropriateness for your circumstances.

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