Glossary of Terms
Antivirus software - Software that detects and removes computer viruses.
Backdoor - A hidden method for bypassing normal computer authentication or access systems.
Botnet - A jargon term for a collection of software robots, or bots, which run autonomously and automatically. The run on groups of zombie computers controlled remotely. This can also refer to the network of computers using distributed computing software.
Check scams - These scams take many forms, such as work form home schemes and Internet auction over payment scams. The common thread however is that an unsuspecting victim deposits a check or money order into their bank account then wires a portion of the money to a criminal. By the time the check is confirmed as counterfeit the money has already been wired and picked up by the criminal, leaving the victim without recourse for retrieving the funds they wired.
Encryption - A way to make data unreadable to everyone except the recipient of a message. Encryption is often used to make the transmission of credit card numbers secure for those who are shopping on the Internet.
Firewall - A firewall is hardware or software that enforces security on your computer or system. It is like a locked door, preventing dangerous material from getting into the room.
Fraud - An act that occurs when someone uses your account to make unauthorized purchases. This happens after your card, card number, online credentials or other account details have been stolen.
Hacker - A computer criminal who tries to get access to a computer system without authorization.
Identity Theft (ID Theft) - A criminal activity where a thief appropriates vital information such as your name, date of birth, Social Security number, or credit card number to open credit cards, mortgages and other accounts without your knowledge.
Keystroke logger - Hardware device or software program that records each key being struck on a keyboard. Marketed as a way for parents to monitor their children's activities on a computer, keystroke loggers are often downloaded unwittingly by users and operate in a covert manner so that they person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored. The keystroke logger then records the keystrokes and periodically uploads the information over the Internet. See also Spyware, Trojan horse.
Malware - Malicious software designed to covertly infiltrate or damage a computer system. This includes viruses, worms, trojans and spyware. Malware may be distributed through a variety of means. A few examples are email attachments, links in email or on social networking sites, and downloads from file sharing sites.
Opt in - Giving permission for an organization to use information in a specific way.
Opt out - Withdrawing permission for an organization to use information in a specific way.
Patch - A software update meant to fix problems with a computer program. This can range from fixing bugs, to replacing graphics, to improving the usability or performance of a previous version.
Phishing - An online identity theft scan. Typically, criminals send emails that look like they are from legitimate sources, but are not. The fake messages generally include a link to a phony, or spoofed, websites, where victims are asked to provide sensitive personal information. The information goes to criminals, rather than the legitimate business. See also Spoofing.
Pop-up ads (pop-ups) - Unsolicited advertising that appears as a "pop-up" window on a computer screen. Sometimes these can be created to look like a financial institution's request for personal information.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) - SSL technology secretly encodes information that is sent over the Internet between your computer and the bank, helping to ensure that the information remains confidential.
Service pack - A software program that corrects known bugs or problems, or adds new features to a software program already installed on your computer.
Skimming - Captures the track data from the magnetic stripe on a credit card, Debit card or ATM card via a device that is illegally added to the ATM card reader.
SMShing - SMA text Phishing. A text message that appears to be sent from a legitimate source, such as a bank or credit card company, the goal of which is to gain personal details. The message will typically be an urgent appeal to call a phone number or follow a link in the message. The phone number or website will then ask for sensitive account or personal information.
Spam - Unsolicited "junk" email sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services.
Spoofing - An online identity theft scam. Typically, criminals send emails that look like they are from legitimate sources, but are not (phishing). The fake messages generally include a link to a phony, or spoofed, websites, where victims are asked to provide sensitive personal information. The information goes to criminals, rather than the legitimate business. See also Phishing.
Spyware - A program that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge. These programs gather information from your computer and send it to an unknown source. These programs are especially dangerous when capturing financial information that can be used to commit fraud.
Trojan horse - An apparently legitimate software that carries an unwanted payload that is typically used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to your computer. See also Spyware.
Vishing - Voice Over Internet Protocol Phishing - A phone call that appears to be coming from a legitimate source, such as a bank or credit card company, the goal of which is to gain personal details. The caller id on the victim's phone will show a legitimate business name and number, while a criminal is really on the other end of the line. The criminal will pose as a representative of the company and ask the victim to confirm account details and other sensitive information.
VOIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol is a way to make and receive phone calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a traditional phone line.
Worm - Typically, a malicious program that reproduces itself over a network and uses up computer resources or shuts down they system.