The BIG Technical Jargon Guide

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Internet Safety Technical Terms Explained

This page outlines essential Internet safety terms encouraging online safety. Explore more technical terms by choosing a different topic from our menu or enter a specific query into the search box to get started. Please note that our BIG terminology guide has hundreds of entries so if you use a common word in your search, you may have to scroll through several results to find what you're looking for.

Last modified: February 2024

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What is 2FA?

2FA authentication (which stands for two-factor authentication) is a security feature that helps protect your online accounts by adding an extra layer of verification to the login process.

Normally, when you log in to an online account (such as email, social media, or online banking), you need to provide a username and password to prove that you are the authorised user. With 2FA, you also need to provide a second piece of information, such as a code sent to your phone, a fingerprint, or a security token.

This means that even if someone manages to steal your username and password, they won't be able to access your account without also having the second piece of information that only you have. This makes it much harder for hackers or other unauthorised users to gain access to your accounts and steal your personal information.

2FA authentication is becoming increasingly popular as a way to improve online security and protect against identity theft and cyber-attacks. It's easy to set up and can be used on a wide range of devices and platforms, so it's a good idea to enable 2FA on any accounts that support it.

What is adware?

Adware is a type of software that displays unwanted advertisements on a user's computer or device. Adware can come bundled with other software or be installed without the user's knowledge and can be difficult to remove. Adware typically displays pop-up ads or banners within web browsers or other programs and can slow down the performance of a device. Some adware may also track a user's browsing activity and collect personal information to display targeted ads. Adware can be harmful as it can compromise a user's privacy and security and can be a nuisance as it can interfere with normal computer use.

What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software is a simple solution to help safeguard your MAC or PC from viruses, malware and other online security threats. Once installed, it can help automatically detect and block suspicious files and stop potential virus programs from self-installing on your machine. Choose a reputable brand like Norton, Total AV, McAfee, Kaspersky or ClamXAV for MAC.

What is password authentication?

Authentication is a security process used to identify a user. There are many types of authentication methods, from simple username and password credentials to multifactor authentication (MFA). This process is also known as two-factor authentication (2FA) or 2-step verification. MFA is a common process for online financial transactions.

What is Biometric security?

Biometric security is a way of using biological or physical characteristics that can be used to identify individuals. The most familiar use of biometrics is facial recognition, fingerprint mapping and retina scanning. Given the accuracy of using biometric data, it's now regularly used in premium electronic devices like laptops and mobile phones. Biometric security reduces the need for passwords and adds a convenient level of additional security.

What is a chat room?

A chat room is a virtual space on the internet where people can communicate with each other in real-time by typing messages. Users can join a chat room on a particular topic or theme, or simply to socialise with others. Chat rooms can be either public or private, with some requiring registration or membership to participate. In a chat room, users can send messages that are visible to all participants in the room and can also respond to messages from others.

What is Chatroulette?

Chatroulette is a website where people can have video chats with random strangers from all over the world. However, using Chatroulette can be risky as there are potential security dangers. For example, users can be exposed to inappropriate content or behaviour from other users. Moreover, some users may try to gather personal information or even attempt to scam or deceive others. Additionally, there is always a risk that someone could record or take screenshots of the conversation without the other person's consent. Therefore, users should be cautious and use Chatroulette at their own risk, and always be mindful of their privacy and safety online.

What is clickbait?

Clickbait refers to online content, such as articles or videos, that use sensational or misleading headlines or thumbnails to attract viewers and encourage them to click on a link. Clickbait is often designed to provoke strong emotions or curiosity and is usually not an accurate representation of the actual content. The goal of clickbait is to generate traffic and engagement for a website or social media page, often at the expense of accuracy or quality. Clickbait can be found on various platforms, including news websites, social media and advertising. However, it can be problematic as it can spread false information or mislead users.

What is a content filter?

A content filter is a tool used to screen and block or allow certain types of digital content such as text, images, videos and websites. It's commonly used by schools, libraries and businesses to restrict access to content that may be considered inappropriate or harmful. The filter works by using predefined criteria or rules to analyse the content and then either block or allow it based on those rules. This helps to ensure that users only have access to content that is deemed acceptable and safe.

What is a website cookie?

A website cookie (also known simply as a 'cookie') is a small text file that a website stores on your computer or mobile device.

There are several different types of cookies, including session cookies, which are temporary files that are deleted when you close your web browser, and persistent cookies, which are stored on your device for a longer period of time.

Cookies can be used for various purposes, such as keeping you logged in to a website, tracking your browsing behaviour for analytics purposes, and displaying personalised content or advertising based on your interests.

It's worth noting that cookies are not inherently harmful, but they can potentially be used for tracking and advertising purposes, which has led to concerns about privacy and security. As a result, most web browsers allow you to control whether or not they accept cookies. Many websites provide information about their use of cookies in their privacy policies. Blocking all cookies may affect the ability to use some functions on a website.

What is cyber flashing?

Cyber flashing refers to the act of sending unsolicited sexually explicit images or videos to someone's smartphone or another digital device. This is done via BlueTooth, Wi-Fi, or messaging apps such as AirDrop or social media platforms. Cyber flashing can be a form of harassment or sexual misconduct and can be traumatising for the victim. Cyber flashing is often carried out by strangers in public places but can also happen in private spaces such as work or school environments.

What is cyber security?

Cyber security refers to the practice of protecting digital devices, networks and sensitive information from unauthorised access, theft, damage or disruption. It involves implementing measures such as firewalls, encryption and access controls to safeguard against cyber threats like malware, phishing and hacking.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the act of using technology, such as social media or messaging apps, to intentionally harm, harass, or embarrass someone. This can include sending hurtful messages or comments, sharing embarrassing photos or videos, spreading rumours or lies about someone, or creating fake accounts to impersonate or mock them. Cyberbullying can have serious consequences for the victim, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and even suicide in extreme cases. It's important to be aware of the impact of cyberbullying and to treat others with kindness and respect online, just as you should in person. If you or someone you know is experiencing cyberbullying, it's important to tell someone you trust and perhaps seek advice and support from a dedicated organisation. The National Bullying Helpline website has a helpful list of uk resources.

What is cyberstalking?

Although there is no legal definition of cyberstalking, it is a criminal offence under 'The Protection from Harassment Act 1997'. A non-legal definition of cyberstalking is someone using the internet to intimidate, harass or track someone's location. Social media platforms are often used to facilitate cyberstalking. For further support, contact The National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or visit:

What is the Dark Web?

The dark web is a part of the internet that can only be accessed using special software or configurations that provide anonymity to its users. It is different from the regular internet, which is indexed by search engines and accessible to everyone. The dark web is often associated with illegal activities such as the sale of drugs, weapons, and stolen information. It's also used by people who want to communicate anonymously, such as whistleblowers or journalists in countries with restricted press freedom. The dark web can be dangerous as there are no regulations or laws that govern it, making it a haven for criminal activity. It's important to be aware of the risks associated with accessing the dark web and to take precautions to protect yourself if you choose to do so.

Use our data breach search facility to check if your email address has been listed in a data breach.

What is data (personal data)?

Data refers to any information that can be stored or processed by a computer. It can include text, numbers, images, videos and more. Personal data is a specific type of data that relates to an identified or identifiable person. This can include things like a person's name, address, date of birth, phone number, email address and other personal details. It can also include more sensitive information like financial information, medical records and passport numbers. Use our data breach search tool to check if your email address has been compromised.

What is a data breach?

A data breach is a security incident where personal or sensitive information is accessed or disclosed without authorisation. This can happen when a hacker gains access to a computer system or network or an employee accidentally shares sensitive information. Data breaches can result in the theft of personal information, such as names, addresses and banking details, which can then be used for identity theft or other fraudulent activities. They can also lead to reputational damage and legal consequences for the organisation that experiences the breach. Check whether your email address has been affected by a data breach by entering it into our. Enter your email address into our data breach checker to see if it has been included in any data breaches.

What is downloading?

Downloading refers to the process of copying digital content, such as files or software, from the internet onto your computer or another device. When you download something, you're essentially transferring the data from a remote server onto your own device. This can include downloading music, videos, images, documents and more. The downloaded content is typically stored on your device, which allows you to access it even when you're not connected to the internet.

What is doxing?

Doxing is a term used to describe the practice of researching and publishing private or identifying information about an individual or organisation without their consent. This information can include personal details such as full name, home address, phone number, email address and other sensitive data. The purpose of doxing is often to intimidate, harass, or embarrass the target or to expose them to public scrutiny or ridicule.

Doxing is often associated with online harassment, stalking and cyberbullying and can have serious consequences for the victim, including loss of privacy, security and reputation.

What is an e-commerce website?

An e-commerce website is an online platform that enables businesses to sell their products or services to customers over the internet. It allows customers to browse, select and purchase items using a website or mobile app. E-commerce websites typically have a shopping cart and checkout system that enables customers to complete their purchases online. They often provide features such as product reviews, search filters and recommended items to make the shopping experience more convenient and enjoyable. E-commerce websites can range from small independent shops to large multinational corporations and can sell anything from physical goods to digital products and services.

What is an email whitelist - blacklist?

In the context of email, a whitelist is a list of approved email addresses or domains that are allowed to bypass spam filters and go directly to a recipient's inbox. For example, if you add someone's email address to your email program's whitelist, their emails will never be marked as spam and will always be delivered to your inbox.

A blacklist, on the other hand, is a list of blocked email addresses or domains that are known to send spam or other unwanted messages. Any email received from a blacklisted address or domain is usually marked as spam and may be automatically filtered into a spam folder or deleted altogether.

In short, email whitelists are used to allow trusted senders to bypass spam filters, while email blacklists are used to block unwanted senders and reduce the amount of spam received.

Use our data breach search facility to check if your email address has been listed in a data breach.

What is encryption?

Encryption is a way to protect information by turning it into a secret code. It's like putting a message in a locked box - only someone with the key can open the box and read the message. Similarly, encryption uses a 'key' to scramble information and make it unreadable to anyone who doesn't have the key to unscramble it. This way, even if someone intercepts the information, they won't be able to understand it because it's in code.

Encryption in more technical details

Encryption is a process of transforming plaintext data into ciphertext using a mathematical algorithm. The algorithm takes in the plaintext data and a secret key and performs a series of complex operations on the data to produce a ciphertext.

The strength of the encryption algorithm depends on its ability to make it difficult for an unauthorised person to reverse engineer the ciphertext and extract the original plaintext without knowing the secret key. The key is a string of bits that is used as input to the algorithm and is essential in both the encryption and decryption processes.

Modern encryption algorithms are designed to be computationally infeasible to break without the correct key. These algorithms typically use a combination of substitution, permutation and diffusion to produce a ciphertext that is statistically indistinguishable from random noise.

In addition to the mathematical algorithm, encryption also involves various protocols and standards for managing keys, authenticating users and securely exchanging ciphertext. Encryption is used extensively in secure communications such as online banking, e-commerce and secure messaging, as well as in data storage and protection.

What is a firewall?

A firewall is a type of security software that helps to protect a computer or network from unauthorised access or cyber-attacks. A firewall works by monitoring incoming and outgoing network traffic and filtering or blocking any potentially harmful or suspicious activity. Firewalls can be configured to allow or deny certain types of traffic based on pre-defined rules or user preferences. Firewalls can be implemented at various levels, including on individual devices or on network routers, and are an important part of cybersecurity.

What is ghosting?

Ghosting is when someone you've been communicating with suddenly stops responding to your messages, calls, or emails without any explanation. It's like they've disappeared or become a ghost. Hence the term 'ghosting'. This can happen in any kind of relationship, including friendships, romantic relationships and even in the workplace. Ghosting can be hurtful and confusing for the person who has been left without any closure or understanding of why the other person has suddenly cut off contact.

What is grooming?

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship with someone online or in person (often a minor) with the intention of sexually abusing or exploiting them. Groomers may use tactics like flattery, gifts, or attention to gain their victim's trust and manipulate them into doing things they wouldn't normally do.

Grooming can happen through social media, online chat rooms, or even in person and can be very difficult to detect.

What is a hacker?

A hacker is someone who uses their computer skills to gain unauthorised access to computer systems or networks. Hackers may do this for a variety of reasons, such as stealing sensitive information, causing damage to computer systems, or for financial gain.

Some hackers use their skills for ethical purposes, such as testing the security of computer systems to identify weaknesses and improve security.

It's important to protect your computer and network from hackers by using strong passwords, installing anti-virus software and being cautious when opening emails or downloading files from unknown sources. If you suspect that your computer or network has been hacked, it's important to seek help and take steps to secure your system.

What is a hash?

Hash is the algorithm method of converting a sequence of characters into another unique sequence of characters with a fixed length, the resulting conversion is called a 'Hash'. A hashing algorithm is typically used when storing sensitive data like passwords into a website database. Using the MD5 hashing algorithm would turn the word 'fasterbroadband' in to: 286b98b1a63507af9c964c54d69b5e95.

What is website history?

The history on your computer is a record of the websites you have visited and the searches you have performed using your web browser. When you visit a website, your browser stores a copy of the web page on your computer, along with other information like the site's address and the date and time you visited. This information is saved in your browsing history, which can be accessed at any time to see what websites you have visited in the past. Browsing history can be useful for keeping track of your online activity, but it can also be a privacy concern if other people have access to your computer. To protect your privacy, you can clear your browsing history regularly or use private browsing mode (also known as incognito), which doesn't save your browsing history.

What is an incognito browsing window?

Incognito browsing is a free basic-level privacy feature offered by most web browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge & Mozilla Firefox. Incognito browsing might be referred to as 'Private window', 'Private browsing', 'Incognito window', once enabled the website browser will not store your search history. Website cookies and data you entered into a website form will also not auto-populate on your next visit.

Private Browsing Myths

Myth One: Incognito browsing makes you anonymous online
The reality, incognito browsing will remove traces of your browsing history on the computer or phone you are using, but your Internet service provider can still have a record of sites you have visited. If you're connected to a public or office Wi-Fi then search traffic may be monitored, revealing which websites have been visited.

Myth Two: Incognito browsing removes all records of your browsing activity from your device
The reality, incognito browsing is designed to delete cookies and browser history when you exit the private browsing window. Items you have downloaded or bookmarked during a private session may still be retained on the device.

Myth Three: Incognito browsing will not display any browsing history
The reality, by default, private browsing will display visited websites and suggest existing bookmarks as you type into the website address bar. Your website history and cookies will be cleared as soon as you close the private window. Auto suggested search features can be switched off in most browsers.

If you regularly use private browsing windows then consider switching to a privacy first website browser like DuckDuckGo

What is an internet-enabled device?

An Internet-enabled device is any device that can connect to the internet and access online content or services. This includes devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs, gaming consoles, home appliances like fridges, thermostats and even doorbells.

Internet-enabled devices allow you to access a wide range of online content and services, such as email, social media, streaming videos or music and online shopping.

It's important to keep your internet-enabled devices up to date with the latest security patches and to use strong passwords to protect your personal information and prevent unauthorised access.

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a unique numerical identifier assigned to every device that is connected to the internet. It stands for 'Internet Protocol' address and is used to identify and communicate with devices on a network. An IP address consists of a series of four sets of numbers separated by dots, such as Each device that connects to the internet has its own unique IP address, which can be either static (fixed) or dynamic (changing). IP addresses are used by computers to send and receive data and they play a crucial role in enabling devices to communicate with each other on the internet.

What is hyperlink?

A hyperlink, also known as a link, is a clickable word, phrase, or image on a website or document that takes you to another location. When you click on a hyperlink, it will usually change colour or become underlined to show that it has been visited. They are an important part of navigating and interacting with content on the internet.

Here's a hyper link which will open FasterBroadband in a new window.

What does login, log on, log off mean?

The terms 'login' and 'logout' refer to the process of entering or exiting a computer system or website. When you 'login' to a computer, you enter your username and password to gain access to the system or network. This allows you to use programs, access files, or perform other tasks that require authorisation.

When you are finished using the computer or network, you can 'logout' to securely exit the system. This ensures that other users cannot access your account or information.

Logging in and out is an important security measure to protect your information and prevent unauthorised access to a computer or website.

What is a MAC address?

A MAC address is a unique ID number given to every device that can connect to a network, like a computer or a phone. Think of it like a phone number for your device. This number helps other devices on the network identify your device and send information to it. The MAC address is created by the device manufacturer and is used to make sure that data goes to the right device and to protect the network from unauthorised access.

What is malware?

Malware is short for 'malicious software', and it refers to any type of software or code that is designed to harm, disrupt, or steal information from a computer, device, or network.

Malware can take many different forms, such as viruses, worms, trojans, or spyware. It can be spread through various means, such as email attachments, infected websites, or downloaded software.

Once malware infects a device or network, it can cause a range of problems, such as deleting files, stealing personal information, or even taking control of your computer or network. You can use antivirus software to help reduce the risk of a malware infection, but you should still be cautious when opening emails or downloading software from untrusted sources.

What is website moderator?

The role of a website moderator is to oversee and manage the content posted on the site, insuring that it aligns with the website's guidelines. This includes reviewing user-generated content such as comments, forum posts or reviews, removing any inappropriate or spammy content, responding to user inquiries and complaints and enforcing website policies. Essentially, the role of a website moderator is to maintain a safe and engaging online community for users by monitoring and managing the website's content.

What are parental control features?

Parental control features are software options that allow parents to monitor and control their children's use of electronic devices, such as smartphones, computers, and gaming consoles.

These features can include content filtering, which blocks access to inappropriate websites or online content and time limits, which restrict the amount of time a child can spend on a device.

Some parental control features can also track a child's location, limit access to certain apps and monitor social media activity. The goal of parental control features is to help parents keep their children safe online and to promote healthy screen time habits.

What is a software patch?

A software patch is a change made to a software program or computer's operating system. It's usually implemented to fix a specific fundamental problem or improve security and should not be ignored. A patch is often referred to as a 'bugfix' and is not designed to offer new features that you might expect from a software update.

What is peer-to-peer (P2P)?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) networking is a way for computers to connect and share information directly with each other without needing a central server. This means that each computer can both send and receive information and act as both a client and a server.

P2P networks are often used for sharing files, like music or videos. Instead of downloading the file from one central location, users can download pieces of the file from other users who have already downloaded it. This can be faster and more efficient than traditional downloading methods.

However, P2P networks can also be used for illegal purposes, like sharing pirated movies or music. It's important to be careful when using P2P networks and to make sure you are only sharing legal and safe content.

What are permissions?

Permissions refer to the settings that allow or restrict access to specific resources or features on a computer or other device. For instance, when you install a new app or program that requires access to your webcam or microphone, you may be prompted to grant permission for that app to access those resources. By granting permission, you're allowing the app to use those resources for its intended purposes, such as video conferencing or recording audio. If you don't grant permission, the app may not be able to use those features or may not work as intended. Other examples of permissions on a device may include access to location data, contacts, photos, or files. Permissions are an important security feature that helps to protect your privacy and ensure that only authorised apps or programs can access your sensitive data or resources.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of online scam where an attacker tries to trick someone into providing personal or sensitive information by posing as a trustworthy entity. This can happen through email, text messages, or other forms of communication, and often involves the attacker creating a sense of urgency or fear to encourage the victim to act quickly. For example, a phishing email may appear to be from a legitimate bank or company, asking the recipient to click a link and enter their login information to avoid account suspension. If the victim falls for the scam and provides their information, the attacker can use it for identity theft or other fraudulent activities. To protect against phishing, it's important to be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal information and to verify the authenticity of any requests before providing sensitive information. Use our data breach search tool to check if your email address has been compromised.

What is a security update?

A security update is a software patch or fix that's released by a company to address a security vulnerability or issue in their product. This could be a bug or flaw that could be exploited by hackers or malicious parties to gain access to sensitive information or to carry out a cyber attack.

A security update is designed to fix the vulnerability or issue and prevent it from being exploited in the future. It's important to keep software and systems up-to-date with the latest security updates to help protect against potential security threats.

What is sexting?

Sexting is the act of sending or receiving sexually explicit messages, images or videos, usually via mobile phones or other electronic devices. The term 'sexting' is a combination of the words 'sex' and 'texting', but it can also refer to other forms of electronic communication, such as social media or messaging apps.

What is spam?

Spam is unsolicited or unwanted messages, typically sent in bulk through email, text messaging, or other messaging platforms. These messages often contain advertisements, scams, or malicious links and are sent to recipients without their consent. Many email providers and messaging platforms have filters in place to help prevent spam from reaching users' inboxes, but some still manage to slip through.

What is Spyware?

Spyware is a type of software that's designed to gather information from a computer or device without the user's knowledge or consent. It can be used to track browsing activity, log keystrokes, capture screenshots and steal personal information. Spyware is typically installed surreptitiously and can be difficult to detect and remove. It's often used to gather sensitive information about an individual or organisation. Spyware can enter a system through various means, such as downloading a contaminated file or clicking on a malicious link.

What is a Trojan?

A Trojan, short for Trojan horse, is malware disguised as legitimate software. It is often hidden within harmless-looking files or programs and can be inadvertently downloaded by a user who believes they are downloading something else. Once installed, a Trojan can perform various malicious actions, such as stealing personal information, giving hackers remote access to a computer, or damaging files and systems. Trojans can be spread through various means, such as email attachments, infected software downloads or computer security vulnerabilities. It is important to use antivirus software and keep security systems up to date to protect against Trojans and other types of malware.

What is an online troll?

In online culture, a troll is someone who intentionally posts provocative, offensive, or inflammatory messages or comments on forums, social media, or other online platforms with the aim of disrupting conversations, upsetting others, or simply causing chaos.

Trolling can take many different forms, from posting rude or insulting messages to deliberately spreading false information or conspiracy theories. Some trolls may use fake accounts or pseudonyms to hide their true identity and avoid accountability for their actions.

Trolls often derive satisfaction from the attention they receive, even if it's negative, and may continue to post inflammatory messages just to get a reaction. Trolling can have a negative impact on online communities and conversations, as it can make it difficult for people to have productive and respectful discussions and can even lead to harassment or abuse in extreme cases.

It's important to remember that not everyone who disagrees with you or has a different opinion is a troll, and it's important to engage in respectful and civil discourse online, even when dealing with those who may be intentionally trying to provoke you.

What is a URL?

A website URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the address used to locate a specific web page or resource on the internet. It typically consists of three parts: the protocol (such as HTTP or HTTPS), the domain name (such as, and the path to the specific resource on the website (such as /technical-jargon/online-safety). For example, the URL for our jargon guide page is URLs can be entered manually into the address bar of a web browser or accessed by clicking on links from other websites, emails, or search engine results pages.

What is virtual?

Virtual means something that is not physically present but is created or simulated by software or technology (like the metaverse). For example, a virtual reality (VR) headset like an Oculus can simulate an immersive experience of a different environment, such as a rollercoaster ride or a flight simulation. Another example of virtual technology are virtual meetings, where people use software like Microsoft Teams or Zoom to communicate with each other from different locations.

What is a computer virus?

A computer virus is a type of malicious software that can infect a computer and cause various problems. Computer viruses are usually designed to spread from one computer to another and can be unintentionally downloaded through infected emails, files, or websites. Once a computer is infected with a virus, it can cause damage to the computer's files, slow down its performance, or even render it unusable. Some viruses are designed to steal personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, while others may display unwanted ads or messages. It is important to have an up-to-date antivirus program and be careful when opening emails or downloading files from unknown sources to protect against computer viruses.

What is a VPN - Virtual private network?

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool that helps to protect your online privacy and security by creating a secure, encrypted connection between your device and the internet.

Think of a VPN as a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. When you connect to a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted and sent through the tunnel to a VPN server, which then accesses the internet on your behalf. This helps to protect your online activity from prying eyes, such as your internet service provider or hackers.

VPNs are commonly used to protect online privacy, access region-locked content, and bypass internet censorship. They're often used by people who work remotely or frequently travel, as they allow you to connect to a secure network even when you're away from your home or office.

What is a webcam?

Webcams are commonly used for video conferencing and online meetings, as they allow people to see and talk to each other in real-time, even when they are in different locations. They are also popular for personal use, such as for staying in touch with family and friends through FaceTime calls, or for professional use, such as attending virtual meetings or classes through platforms like Zoom.

Webcams can either be built-in to your device, or they can be external, meaning you can plug them into a USB port on your computer or device. They typically have a small lens that captures video and a built-in microphone that captures audio.

What is computer worm?

A computer worm is a type of malware that replicates itself and spreads from one computer to another over a network or the internet. Unlike a computer virus, which requires a host program to spread, a worm is a standalone program that can spread on its own.

Computer worms can cause a variety of problems for computer users, such as slowing down or crashing their systems, stealing personal or sensitive information, or opening a backdoor for hackers to access their computers remotely. Some worms are designed to propagate themselves quickly and can cause widespread damage to computer networks.

Computer worms can be spread through a variety of means, including email attachments, infected software downloads, and network vulnerabilities. Once a computer is infected with a worm, it can spread to other computers on the same network or the internet, creating a chain reaction that can lead to a widespread infection.

To protect against computer worms, it is important to keep software and security systems up to date, avoid downloading suspicious attachments or software, and use antivirus software to scan for and remove any infections.

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