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Glossary

Anti-Virus Software

Computer programs which check emails and files that come onto the computer, to ensure that they are safe to be opened or run. Anti-virus software is effective, but MUST be kept up to date

Broadband

High speed access to the internet usually over specially configured telephone lines. Broadband connections allow information to be retrieved much faster than traditional telephone connections, and are always connected, even when you are using the telephone to talk to someone.

Filter

A filter is a piece of software which examines email or internet data and decides whether to send it on, discard it or quarantine it, by following a set of rules.

Firewall

A device which sits between your internet connection and the rest of your computers, a firewall acts as a gatekeeper, only allowing legitimate traffic to pass through and keeping out many kinds of unwanted internet activity.

Hacker

Any individual or group who access, or attempt to access computer systems which they are not authorised to access. Their intentions may be malicious or mere curiosity.

Modem

A modem is a small device that connects a single computer to a telephone line in order to allow data to be transferred. Different types of modem allow you to connect to different services: traditional FAX/Modems connect to a standard telephone line and allow you to send and receive faxes and connect to the internet at speed of up to 56Kb/s. Cable and ADSL modems allow connections to broadband services at speeds of up to 512Kb/s.

Proxy

Proxy servers are computers designed to speed up access to the internet and also to provide additional security. A proxy server speeds up web browsing by keeping local copies of frequently accessed pages and many can also be used to filter out unwanted content.

Router

A router is a device that connects one network of computers to another. Broadband routers, for example, allow a number of computers to simlutaneously use a broadband connection.

Spam

Unsolicited email, often with a pornographic content. Unscrupulous advertisers send out thousands of emails at a time using automated software in the hope of receiving just one or two replies.

Virus

Computer viruses are small programs that attach themselves to programs and documents, such as email. When the program is run, or the email read, the virus is activated. At this point the virus tries to replicate itself - for example by emailing a copy of itself to everyone in your email address book. Additionally viruses tend to have destructive capabilities, ranging from deleting files and folders to creating "back doors" - allowing someone else to control your computer.

Worm

A computer worm is similar to a computer virus: the main difference is that is self-contained and doesn't need a host such as an email to help itself spread. Worms use computer networks to spread themselves, finding vulnerable hosts and copying themselves to them. Worms tend to be less destructive than viruses but cause computers and networks to slow down due to the amount of resources they use.