Glossary

Here we have the Solarum Glossary. This isn’t quite your traditional dictionary, this is a custom dictionary where I will put words and phrases that I have run across that should help you understand what your geek friend/child/cousin/boss, whatever, is saying. If you have something you want defined that you don’t see here, or if you have something you want to add, let me know and I’ll do my best to take care of it.

  • ActiveX – The technology known as ActiveX is developed by Microsoft for their Internet Explorer browser. It allows developers to embed code or applications in the browser as plugins thereby linking desktop applications to the Web. For example, Word and Excel documents can be viewed directly in Web browsers that supports ActiveX. In the right environment ActiveX can be a great tool, but it also allows a very dangerous attack vector for malicous people.
  • Adware – Adware is free software that is supported by advertisements embedded within the application. Common adware programs are toolbars that sit on your desktop or work in conjunction with your Web browser. They offer features like advanced searching of the Web or your hard drive and better organization of your bookmarks and shortcuts, and even include simple things like getting the weather. Adware can also be more advanced programs such as games or utilities. They are free to use, but require you to watch advertisements as long as the programs are open. Since the ads often allow you to click to a Web site, adware typically requires an active Internet connection to run. Some Adware programs are safe to use, but others can serve as spyware, gathering information about you from your hard drive. This data can then be sent over the Internet to another computer waiting to receive and archive the data.
  • Binary Real Estate – This is a slang term that is used to refer to disk space, like space on your hard drive.  If a file is especially large, it takes up a lot of binary real estate.
  • Bittorrent – BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing protocol designed to reduce the bandwidth required to transfer files. It does this by distributing file transfers across multiple systems, thereby lessening the average bandwidth used by each computer. In order to use the BitTorrent protocol, you need a BitTorrent client, which is a software program that accesses the BitTorrent network. The client program allows you to search for files and begin downloading torrents, which are in-progress downloads.
  • Brickage (brick, a brick, make a brick) – This is the process of making a major mistake when changing settings on your computer rendering it inoperative and un-bootable, i.e. a brick. This can be from playing in the Windows registry when you shouldn’t be, or trying to install a second operating system, or corrupting the /etc/system file in Solaris for just a few examples.
  • ISP (Internet Service Provider) – These are the companies that provide you your Internet Access, like AOL, Earthlink, MSN and such.
  • Phishing – Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, bank and credit card information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites (YouTube, Facebook, MySpace), auction sites (eBay), online banks (Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase), online payment processors (PayPal), or IT Administrators (Yahoo, ISPs, corporate) are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost, if not identical to the legitimate site. This is a classic example of social engineering.
  • Spamazon – This term refers to the deluge of spam and phishing type email that purports to come from Amazon.  You know, something that says your order successfully went through and you were charged and all that.  The thing is, you didn’t order anything so you are all like “SAY WHAT!?” and then get clickity clickity on the email and next thing you know, some freakers got your information.  So, even if you did order something from Amazon, if you get an email that doesn’t look right (the total is there but no itemized list, or it’s to your email and not your name, etc), go to Amazon first and check your order, don’t click on any links in the email, that’s what the bad guys want you to do!
  • Spear Phishing – This is much like Phishing described above, but usually takes a more targeted approach.  Spear Phishing concentrates on a smaller focus but with more details or resources.

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