ADWARE: Any software package which automatically renders advertisements in order to generate revenue for its author.

BANDWIDTH: A measure of the “speed” of an Internet connection.

BHO: (Browser Helper Objects) Programs given full access to many features of Internet Explorer which redirect users to fake websites to capture personal information and redirect searches to commercial sites.

BROADBAND: A number of different methods used for high speed Internet access such as DSL, cable modems, fiber optics, and mobile wireless, all of which are permanently connected to the Internet through different means.

BROWSER TOOLBARS: Programs in a web browser to extend the browsers functionality. They often contain software conflicts, viruses, and spyware.

BYTES: A measure of computer memory equal to 8 bits.

  • There are 1000 kilobyes in 1 megabyte
  • There are 1000 megabytes in 1 gigabyte
  • There are 1000 gigabytes in 1 terabyte

COOKIES: Small pieces of code used to improve navigation by storing browsing information on a computer. Tracking cookies are used to drive advertisements and are sometimes malicious.

CACHE: A form of computer memory that allows you to access stored information, such as web addresses you’ve recently typed into your browser, more quickly. Pronounced “cash.”

DOWNLOAD: To copy files from one computer to another over the internet.

DSL: Digital Subscriber Line: A type of high speed internet using standard phone lines and the local telephone network.

E-MAIL: The computer version of mail sent between one or more parties.

FILE EXTENSION: The suffix at the end of a filename that indicates what type of file it is.

  • Some examples are: .txt—this is a text document, .doc—this is a Microsoft
  • Word document, .jpeg—this is a photo document.

FIREWALL: Hardware or software that keeps hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. Firewalls watch for outside attempts to access your system and block communications to and from sources you don’t permit.

HACKER: Someone who uses computers and the Internet to access other people’s computers without permission.

HARDWARE: The mechanical parts of a computer system, including the central processing unit (CPU), monitor, keyboard, and mouse, as well as other equipment like printers and speakers.

INTERNET: Believe it or not, the Internet was created way back in 1969, during the Cold War, by the United States military. It was meant to be a “nuke-proof” communications network. Today, the Internet spreads across the globe and consists of countless networks and computers, allowing millions of people to share information. Data that travels long distances on the Internet is transferred on huge lines known collectively as the Internet backbone. The Internet is now maintained by the major Internet service providers such as MCI, Sprint, & GTE. Because these providers make huge amounts of revenue off the Internet, they are motivated to maintain consistent & fast connections which benefits everyday Internet users us.

LAN (Local Area Network): A network of connected computers that are generally located near each other, such as in an office or company.

OPERATING SYSTEM (OS): The main program that runs on a computer. An OS allows other software to run and prevents unauthorized users from accessing the system. Major OS’s include Windows & Mac OS.

PUP: (Potentially Unwanted Programs) you didn’t intend to install.

RAM: (Random Access Memory) The hardware inside your computer that retains memory on a short-term basis and stores info. while you work.

ROUTER: A device that connects two or more networks. A router finds the best path for forwarding information across the networks.

SOFTWARE: A computer program with instructions that enable the computer hardware to work.

  • System software — such as Windows or MacOS that operate the machine itself
  • Applications software — such as spreadsheet or word processing that provide specific functionality.

SPAM: Unsolicited commercial email; often sent in bulk quantities.

SPAMMER: Someone who sends unsolicited commercial email.

SPYWARE: Programs used to gather banking, credit, web browsing habits, purchasing, friend lists and other information for the use and benefit of the author of the spyware.

TROJAN (HORSE): Programs designed to breech system security and perform unwanted functions.

UPLOAD: To copy or send files or data from one computer to another.

VIRUS: Self-replicating piece of code that has a detrimental effect on the computer.

WORM: Standalone program that replicates itself and hijacks the user’s computer to send spam, hack servers & infect contact lists. MALWARE: Generic term to describe all of the above.

WORLD WIDE WEB (WWW): An Internet system which distributes graphical, hyperlinked information through a browser. One function of the Internet.


Many people think the Internet and the Web are the same thing–They’re not! The World Wide Web (www) is one of the many features of the “net”. E-mail and Instant Messaging are also part features of the Internet.