Introduction to the antivirus protection - Antivirus protection glossary

In the following text we will give you an explanation of the basic terms you can meet in the world of malicious software.

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  • Update, Upgrade - In the terms of antivirus software it means the completion of a computer viruses database (update) or the antivirus scanner engine modernizing (upgrade).
  • Backdoor - Applications that "open" a computer (mostly without user's knowledge) for attackers - it concerns not only data stored on it, but also a way to future attacks.
  • Boot sector - A floppy disk boot sector or a hard disk boot sector. It consists of parts of a program code that can be modified - and some viruses abuse it for their spread (they abused it mainly in the past).
  • Worm - It is a malicious code that uses services of any network (local or global) for its spread. A computer virus needs host applications for its spread, whereas a worm is usually malicious by itself. (An exception are so-called companion viruses, that take names after exe files, but their extension is com. They exploit the fact that this extension is preferred by operating systems.)
  • DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) - Advanced version of DoS in which the server is attacked from many places at the same time. This increases the chance of success.
  • Dialer - Malicious software that hides in web pages and is able to redirect the phone connection to commercial (mostly foreign) phone lines.
  • DoS (Denial of Service) - Type of a computer attack. Servers are overloaded by many requests (for example of displaying web pages). The server is unable to manage such amount and falls down.
  • Engine - An antivirus program core which detects viruses.
  • False alarm - Situation when an antivirus software makes a mistake and alerts to a non-existing danger.
  • Hacker - A person who hacks software in the world of information technology. Originally, hackers were people who changed computer programs in order to use them in a specific environment. In the course of time this term has got a different meaning and indicates all people who act illegally in the cyber world.
  • Heuristics - It is an analysis of a program code by an antivirus program that reveals unknown malicious codes based on suspicious sequences or commands.
  • Hoax - An e-mail message that is not based on truth. It warns against superdangerous viruses and appeals to send round.
  • I-Frame - A security defect that allows executing an e-mail attachment without user's click.
  • In-the-wild - Denotation of viruses and malicious software that can be met ordinary when working with a computer (i.e. that are not laboratory matter).
  • Keylogger - A program that records pressed keys. It is usually used for stealing some information (login and password etc.).
  • Macrovirus - A computer virus that is able to affect documents and spread through them (Word, Excel, Powerpoint...).
  • Malign Software (Malware) - Malicious software. It is a complex denotation of any undesirable programs that are installed on the computer without user's knowledge and behave in an unwanted way.
  • On-access - Processing (mainly scanning for viruses) in the act of doing something with file, region etc.
  • On-demand - Processing (mainly scanning for viruses) defined group of files/programs etc. (usually whole disks or directories).
  • Patch - A process on which computer software errors are corrected.
  • Computer virus - A part of a program code that is able to replicate repeatedly using a host application. In a clear and simple language: virus is a computer program that spreads without being noticed by the person sitting at the computer.
  • Resident antivirus program - An antivirus program permanently running in the computer memory where checks files real-time.
  • Social engineering - An attack method whose object is to gain data and information from the weakest security point (which is usually human). Uses mostly deceits or cheats.
  • Spyware (Spy Software) - Software installed on a computer that monitors running tasks (all or only some of them) - entering passwords, executed programs, written e-mails etc.).
  • Stealth - Computer virus's ability to become "invisible" for antivirus programs.
  • Trojan horse - Any computer program that does what the user expects but besides does something that the user does not know at all and that would probably disagree with.
  • Virus - A part of a program code that is able to replicate repeatedly using a host application. In a clear and simple language: virus is a computer program that spreads without being noticed by the person sitting at the computer.
  • ZOO viruses - Viruses that normally cannot be met. Only test samples or technological specimens are denoted by this term.

Related references

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Introduction to the antivirus protection