Useful glossary of common techie words may not know what they mean
Have you ever wondered about all the tech names and acronyms that we use every day? Here is a list of words you may hear all the time but were never sure exactly what they meant.
administrator: the most powerful form of user account, which allows the widest range of operations to be performed, including installing soft ware and changing settings.
Android ®: the smartphone operating system developed by Google. It is used by on a variety of mobile phones and tablets.
anti-virus: software designed to detect viruses (and possibly worms and trojans), which may commonly have been delivered through visiting web pages, receiving e-mails and downloading software. Sometimes known as ‘scanning’ or ‘disinfecting’ a computer.
anti-spyware: software designed to detect spyware. apps, applications (see also platform app): accessories which can be downloaded to a smartphone, tablet or computer, or used in conjunction with a social networking site, which provide a specific additional function.
blog: abbreviation for weB LOG. A website which is a personal journal of comments and opinions.
Bluetooth®: a technology designed to allow wireless communication between devices that are close together. For example, linking your mobile phone to a headset.
cloud: the collection of applications, services and data storage available through an internet connection. The physical location of the provider is generally unknown, and may consist of multiple servers in many countries.
cookies: small packages of data stored by a web browser at the request of a website, and used to recognise you when you return to that site later.
coarse location: the position of a device obtained by reference to nearby mobile phone base stations and wi-fi hotspots. The accuracy is typically from within a few hundred metres to over a kilometre.
digitally assisted stalking: stalking activity which is enhanced or accelerated by the use of digital technology such as mobile phones, computers and internet
digital footprint: the information about you available online. Includes personal, financial information, your internet usage, your location, friends and much more.
e-mail header: information sent along with an e-mail which contains information about the sender and the delivery process.
geotags: see metadata.
geolocation: geographic location. Using technology to determine and record the position of a computer or phone, or where a photo was taken.
Google Alerts: a free service that sends e-mail updates of the most recent Google search results, based on words specified when each alert is set up. www.google.com/alerts
GPS: Global Positioning System, a global satellite-based location system that provides accurate location and time information.
hotspot: a wi-fi base station, either inside a home or office for private use, or provided to the public commercially – free of charge or by subscription.
identity theft: the act of fraudulently impersonating someone, using credit card details or other information such the full name, date of birth, current address or previous addresses to get goods or credit in the victim’s name. The impersonator might also post damaging information online in order to harass the victim or the victim’s colleagues and acquaintances.
IOS: Apple’s operating system for their iPhone and iPad devices. iPhone, iPad: Apple’s smartphone and tablet devices.
instant messaging (IM): is text-based communication between two or more users over the internet. Unlike e-mail or text, IM happens in real time.
IP address: internet protocol address. A number associated with an internet connection, which historically was unique to each connected device but today may also be shared. For most domestic internet connections, the IP address very easily determines the internet service provider (ISP), but only the ISP has the means to identify the premises served or the mobile device in use. However, IP addresses in logs and e-mail headers are useful as evidence.
location services (see also fine/coarse location): facilities available in a mobile device, or within the cloud, which can determine a device’s location, and make it available to an application.
log: list of transactions made between a user and a website or other internet site.
malware: any form of MALicious softWARE which has bad intentions. Can include spyware, viruses, trojans and worms.
meta data: hidden pieces of information attached to a website (as meta tags) or photograph (as exif tags or geotags), revealing specific properties such as the author’s name, type of camera and settings used, or location of the photo.
operating system: software which defines a device’s personality and user interface, on top of which applications are installed. Examples include Windows, Android and IOS.
PDF: portable document format, a commonly used standard for document publication and interchange.
profile (social networking): biographical information associated with an account holder
privacy settings: parameters which can be set within a social network site to determine which other users, including non-members, are allowed to see information which has been posted.
regional location: a concept in iPhone 4 where applications can be alerted to the user entering within a large (>half a kilometer) pre-defined radius.
root[ing]: the process of unofficially obtaining administrator access to a device, esp. an Android phone, often by exploiting a security weakness in the device.
SIM (SIM card): a chip-card which contains the subscription details of a mobile phone account.
social engineering: using deception to obtain information or persuade people to perform unauthorised acts.
Smartphone: a phone that has an operating system that offers more features. They enable people not only to talk and text but e-mail, use social media, surf the net, play games and pay bills. They can hold your music, video and photos. Of course they also hold important data about us such as our contact information, diary, passwords etc.
spoof: to masquerade or impersonate, often the sender of a communication (e-mail address or phone number).
spyware: software that secretly snoops information from a phone or computer and sends it to a third party.
SSL: Secure Sockets Layer. An encryption technology intended to make web browsing more secure.
trojan: a form of virus, which is not self-propagating, but is contained within an innocent-looking e-mail or application.
virus: software buried within an otherwise legitimate object, such as an e-mail or application, which has an unwanted and often undesirable effect upon the computer. It will normally have a mechanism within it to propagate to other computers from the infected one.
worm: a form of virus where the self-propagation is the prime motive.
wi-fi: a wireless networking technology that allows devices to connect to each other over a range of a few hundred metres. It is commonly built into laptop computers, tablets and smartphones.