Online Protection Glossary

Keylogger

Keystroke logging (often called keylogging) is a diagnostic tool used in software development that captures the user's keystrokes. It can be useful to determine sources of error in computer systems and is sometimes used to measure employee productivity on certain clerical tasks. Such systems are also highly useful for law enforcement and espionage-for instance, providing a means to obtain passwords or encryption keys and thus bypassing other security measures. However, keyloggers are widely available on the Internet and can be used by private parties to spy on the computer usage of others.

Anti-Virus

Antivirus software consists of computer programs that attempt to identify, thwart and eliminate computer viruses and other malicious software (malware).

Antivirus software typically uses two different techniques to accomplish this:

  • Examining (scanning) files to look for known viruses matching definitions in a virus dictionary
  • Identifying suspicious behavior from any computer program which might indicate infection. Such analysis may include data captures, port monitoring and other methods.

Most commercial antivirus software uses both of these approaches, with an emphasis on the virus dictionary approach.

Security patches

If a patch is a piece of data used to update a software product, then a security patch is a change applied to an asset to correct the weakness described by a vulnerability. This corrective action will prevent successful exploitation and remove or mitigate a threat's capability to exploit a specific vulnerability in an asset.

Security patches are the primary method of fixing security vulnerabilities in software. Currently Microsoft releases their security patches once a month, and other operating systems and software projects have security teams dedicated to releasing the most reliable software patches as soon after a vulnerability announcement as possible. Security patches are closely tied to responsible disclosure.

Malware

Malware is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent. It is a portmanteau of the words "malicious" and "software". The expression is a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code.

Many normal computer users are however still unfamiliar with the term, and most never use it. Instead, "computer virus" is used in common parlance and often in the general media to describe all kinds of malware. Another term that has been recently coined for malware is badware, perhaps due to the anti-malware initiative Stopbadware or corruption of the term "malware".