We have tried to put a collection of important terms related to cybercrime, in general. Browse through this list to see how much of these terms you are already familiar with. This may serve as a good background reading, before you take a plunge into the depths of cybercrime.
A B C D E F H I J L M N P R S T U V W
Adware: A program that displays advertising through pop-up or pop-under windows while you are browsing the net.
Algorithm: A procedure or formula that specifies how to solve a problem. In the world of computer programs, this term refers to a particular programming technique.
Anti-spyware software: A computer program that combats spyware.
Anti-virus software: A computer program that combats harmful viruses. Anti-virus software seeks and removes viruses from your computer.
ARPANet: Advanced Research Projects Agency or ARPA was a network that was setup to enable the military and different sections of the government to maintain communications with one another under all circumstances. It became the foundations of what is known today as the World Wide Web.
Attachment (with regard to emails): A file that is sent together with a particular email.
Auction fraud: See Internet auction fraud
Auction sites: Websites that host online auctions, through which potential buyers and merchants interact.
Backdoor: An undocumented way of gaining access to a program, a computer system or network. The backdoor is usually implemented by the creator of the program, and is usually only known to him. A backdoor is a potential security risk.
Bandwidth: The bandwidth refers to the rate at which information can be sent through a channel. The greater the bandwidth, the more the information that can be sent in a given amount of time.
Blue Box: A device used to hack into telephone systems.
Brute forcing: Brute forcing involves finding out a solution to a problem in a trial and error way, by trying out all the possible combinations until the correct solution is reached. Such a method is often used to ‘crack’ passwords. The perpetrator tries all the combinations of the alphabet until he obtains the correct password.
Con Artist: Con artists are basically fraudulent characters, who trick or cheat others out of their money or assets.
Copyright infringement: Violation of a person’s or an organization’s copyright through unauthorized copying or use of a work or other subject matter under copyright.
Cracker: Term used to describe a computer criminal who breaks into or harms computers.
Cracking: Cracking can be defined as modifying a program, to make it behave as you want it to behave and not behave as what its creator had wanted.
Cryptography: A process related to scrambling plaintext (ordinary text, or clear text) into ciphertext (a process called encryption), then back again (known as decryption). The aim here is to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access.
Cyberstalking: Stalking is a series of actions that puts a person in fear for their safety. A stalker may follow you, harass or black mail you. Cyberstalking is the act of stalking, but carried out with the aid of (or through) computers and the Internet.
Cyber punks: The stereotypical image of hackers, they are usually antisocial, socially inept, and burdened with angst directed towards the real world which was unfair to them.
Cyberterrorism: The act of carrying out terrorism using cyberspace, or in other words, the Internet. It is the hacking or attacking of networks and computers to obtain or modify information for political and/or social objectives or rather, a way to quickly and easily distribute propaganda and get a lot of attention drawn to it.
Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attack: Repeated attack of a particular network or server until it is too overwhelmed and is brought down.
Disassembler: A cracking utility used by the crackers to reveal the coding of a program.
Dumpster diving: Dumpster diving involves going through your trash bins and garbage to retrieve copies of your checks, credit card or bank statements, or other sensitive records that you have not properly disposed of, e.g. by shredding.
Email flooding: The act of sending huge volumes of emails to a single user at any one time.
Encryption: The process of p reventing an unauthorized person from reading or changing a particular data, by protecting the data.
Escrow service: Escrow services act as a trusted third-party during the transaction. They manage the payment process from start to finish, therefore protecting both buyer and seller.
Ethical hacking: Use of hacking knowledge to forcefully attempt to enter a network to find its weaknesses. It is also referred to as ‘legalized hacking’.
Firewall: An impassable boundary to most Internet traffic. It forms a wall around networks or individual computers protecting them from potential harm.
Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in unlawful gain.
Hacking: In the olden days, hacking referred to basically exploring and figuring out how the wired world works. Geeks who did this were called hackers.
However, today, the term is often used to describe computer criminals who break into or harm computers. Purists want those who break into computers to be called as “crackers” rather than “hackers”.
Hoax: Something intended to deceive.
Hobbyists: Hobbyists are people who take up cracking just for the pure sake of knowledge.
Identity theft:Identity theft occurs when an unscrupulous person obtains enough of your personal information to be able to impersonate you and use your identities to obtain financial gain.
Intrusion detection system (IDS): As its name implies, an IDS detects any intrusion into the system (i.e. an illegal entry attempt by a hacker). An IDS runs in the background and silently monitors the network for any suspicious activity.
IP address: Internet Protocol address, or IP address is a unique number which is assigned to every computer connected to the Internet.
ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company that provides Internet access.
Junk email: Unwanted email messages that are forcibly sent to you
Loophole: Flaw or weakness
Mainframes: Large and expensive computers historically associated with centralized rather than distributed computing. These computers are capable of supporting hundreds, or even thousands, of users simultaneously.
Malware: Malware or malicious programs are written with the intention of causing various types of damages and nuisances to a computer and the information on the computer.
Multimedia: A generic term to r efer to audio, video, graphics, and images.
Network: The term “network” refers to an interconnected system of computers.
Network attack: An attempt to bring down a network in order that it becomes almost totally unusable.
Network intrusion: Network intrusion is unauthorized entry into a network (an interconnected system of computers).
Nigerian letter scam: Another manifestation of the cyber fraud, which tries to rob innocent people of their money. Also known as the "Advance Fee Fraud" or "4-1-9" scheme (named after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code that it violates).
Password crackers: Password crackers concern themselves with cryptography and how to break current encryption techniques.
Pedophile: A person who is sexually attracted to children
Peer-to-Peer (P2P): File swapping systems that allow its users to share files and computing resources.
Phishing: The act of sending faked e-mails to a user that falsely appears to come from a legitimate (and often well-known) business enterprise. This is an attempt to lure unsuspecting email users to divulge their personal data such as account usernames, passwords and credit card numbers on a bogus website.
Phreaker: The perpetrator of phreaking.
Phreaking: The act of breaking into phone networks to make free phone calls.
Piracy: Piracy involves the illegal reproduction and distribution of software applications, games, movies and audio CDs.
Pirates: People who carry out piracy.
Pop-up window: A new internet browser window that appears suddenly, unrequested (by you) on your screen. Commonly used for advertisements.
Protocol: When data is being transmitted between two or more devices, something needs to ensure that these data remain intact. Hence a protocol is implemented, which is basically a set of rules determining the format and transmission of data.
Pyramid schemes: Email messages or messages on the Internet which tell you how, for a relatively small investment, you can make huge amounts of money. The concept and motive is always the same, which is to fool naïve or financially desperate people.
Reverse engineering: The process of disassembling a piece of hardware or software to find out how it works.
Scam: A fraudulent business scheme aimed to hoodwink an individual or corporation. The perpetrator typically promises his victims a large financial return with little or no risk involved.
Script Kiddies: These are people (usually teenagers) who want to be recognized as dangerous hackers but lack miserably in the required determination and skills. They use ready-made cracking programs (made by others), intending to cause damage to and corrupt systems.
Server: A computer that is dedicated to a particular purpose and which stores all information and does the important functions for that purpose.
Shoulder surfing: Refers to keeping a watch on you as you enter your personal information, such as your password or credit card number or eavesdropping on your personal conversation.
Social engineering: Term used among crackers for exploiting potential weaknesses in people to their advantage, for e.g. hoodwinking someone into giving out sensitive information such as passwords and usernames.
Spamming: Spamming is the act of sending unsolicited messages to many users at a time, possibly up to the thousands, with the usual intention of advertising products to potential customers.
Spyware: A program that gathers information about a person or an organization and sends this information to a third party, often without their permission or knowledge.
Steganography (also called Stego): Steganography is basically hiding information in plain sight. Steganography, is used to hide information in computer files. Information can be generally hidden in various file formats, such as: images, audio files, text files and Word documents.
Superuser: The computer user (account) with the most privilege. The superuser has complete access privileges to all files on the computer.
Trojan horse: Trojan horses (or simply Trojans) are computer programs that that disguise themselves to be useful software, but instead they compromise your security and privacy. Trojans can allow hackers to take control of your computer or capture your keystrokes.
URL: Abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator, which refers to the address of a particular website.
Usenet Newsgroups: A system of special interest groups to which readers can post messages. These messages are sent out to other computers on the network.
Virus: A virus is a piece of computer code that that hides within other programs or documents so it can spread from computer to computer, infecting as it travels. Viruses can damage your software, your hardware, and your files. Viruses are often written with the intention of replicating themselves.
Warez: Refers to commercial software, movies and games that has been modified by a cracker and made freely available to the public on the Internet.
Website Defacement: The act of damaging the appearance of a website.
White Collar Crime:Crimes of theft and deception committed by qualified professionals.
Worm: A worm is a computer program which is programmed to spread from one computer to another maliciously, without any user interaction. Worms do not need to travel through a "host" program or file. They can travel alone and replicate themselves in great volume and slow down computer networks.