A technology for Microsoft Internet Explorer that enables programs to be downloaded and run in your browser.
An Internet location, such as a URL, an IP address, or an email address.
A piece of software that goes out across the Internet and does a job for youfor example, finding the best prices on a product you want to buy.
A technique that allows developers to create interactive websites that function more like desktop programs than slow, static websites.
- ASCII characters
Plain-text characters that you get by pressing keys on your keyboard.
See File attachment.
- audio file
A file you can download or play from the Internet that has music or sounds in it.
A picture that represents you in picture-oriented chat rooms.
A measure of the amount of data that can be sent across an Internet connection over a unit of time.
A peer-to-peer file sharing program used to share music and video files. It is designed to distribute very large files to many people without using up a significant amount of server resources and bandwidth.
A web-based publication, often in diary or column format, often updated on a daily basis, or many times a day. Also called a weblog.
A wireless networking standard that allows devices of many different kinds to communicate in a peer-to-peer fashion; that is, without having to use a server or other hardware to connect them.
Short for robot. A computer that has been taken over by a hacker and can be used to attack websites, send spam, launch phishing attacks, or for other purposes.
A device that connects local area networks with each other.
- broadband connection
A very fast Internet connection, such as via a cable modem or DSL.
See Web browser.
- buddy list
In instant messaging software, a list of friends you create so that you are alerted whenever one of your "buddies" comes online.
- cable modem
A device used to connect a computer to the Internet at very high speeds over cable TV lines. The device isn't a true modem, though, and uses a network card inside the computer to connect to the cable line.
A place on a computer or server that temporarily stores items such as web pages and graphics so they can be more quickly retrieved.
An FBI hardware and software system that can be used to read people's email and track everything they do when they are on the Internet.
A way that two or more people can communicate in real-time by typing messages on their keyboards.
- chat room
A location in cyberspace where people go to chat.
A piece of software running on a local computer or device that communicates with a central server.
- client pull animation
A web animation technique in which the web browser requests a series of images that, when displayed one after another, appears to be animated.
- client/server architecture
A model of computing in which clients on local computers cooperate with distant servers to complete tasks. The Internet is largely based on client/server architecture.
- coaxial cable
The type of cable used for cable TV connections. It can also be used to provide high-speed access to the Internet, via cable modems.
- Common Gateway Interface (CGI)
A communications protocol that enables web servers to communicate with applications such as databases.
A bit of data put on your computer by a web server that can be used to track what you do when you are on the Web.
Systems used to encrypt data and then decrypt data so that only the intended recipient can read it.
A method of unscrambling encrypted data so that it can be understood.
- Denial of Service (DOS) attack
A method hackers use to attack Internet service providers or websites that involves inundating the server(s) with bogus traffic.
- digital certificate
A key used to encrypt and decrypt information; it can be used to guarantee that you're the sender of a message or to verify the authenticity of a person sending you a message.
- digital signature
An encrypted electronic "signature" that identifies you as the sender of a messageand that can't be forged.
- Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
A way of giving a computer high-speed access to the Internet using existing phone lines. A DSL modem is required.
An area of the Internet owned by a company or person, such as zdnet.com.
- domain name server
A server that translates Internet addresses, such as www.zdnet.com, into their IP addresses, such as 126.96.36.199, and vice versa.
- Domain Name System (DNS)
The system that translates Internet addresses, such as www.zdnet.com, into their IP addresses, such as 188.8.131.52, and vice versa.
To transfer information or files from the Internet to your computer.
- Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
A protocol used to renew an IP address or provide a new IP address to a computer when it connects to a server. When you connect to the Internet using an Internet service provider, you usually are given a different IP address every time you connect.
- Dynamic HTML (DHTML)
A group of HTML-related technologies that allows for greater interactivity and animation on web pages.
- dynamic IP address
An IP address delivered via DHCP; with a dynamic IP address, the IP address of a computer will be different each time it goes onto the Internet.
A program run by the spy agency the National Security Agency, that snoops on web use, email use, Internet use, and phone calls around the world.
- email filter
A way of automatically sorting incoming email so that some are automatically routed to certain folders or deleted, based on the sender and the content of the message. Email filters can be used to cut down on spam sent to you.
- email reader
A piece of software used to send and receive email.
A method of scrambling data so that it can be read only by its intended recipient.
The most common local area networking standard.
- evil twin attack
An attack in which a hacker creates a hot spot virtually identical to a real hot spot, fooling people into using it. The hacker can then steal information from the computers connected to the Evil Twin.
An electronic wallet that contains your credit card information or electronic money so you can use it to easily shop at many online shopping sites.
- Extensible Markup Language (XML)
An extension of HTML that separates the content of a web page from its display. It can be used to allow designers to easily create web pages to be displayed on many different devices, such as computers, cell phones, and PDAs.
- file attachment
A file attached to an email message or a newsgroup posting. Any type of file can be attached to email or newsgroup postings.
- file compression
Shrinking the size of a file so that it can be transferred more quickly over the Internet and/or consumes less space when saved to storage media.
- file extension
The letters on the end of a filename that are used to identify the type of file it is. For example, files with .doc extensions are Microsoft Word files.
A hardware or hardware/software combination that protects computers on a network from being attacked by hackers or snoopers.
An animated movie played over the Web, created using Macromedia Flash software.
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
A way of downloading files on the Internet. See also Download.
A device that connects local area networks with each other and can translate data from one network to another.
- GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
A common graphics format used on web pages. Files in this format end in .gif.
- grid computing
A technology that allows the power of many computers to be combined into one large system.
- helper application
The number of times a packet of information needs to be sent to different routers before reaching its destination.
- hot spot
A public wireless access point that allows people to connect to the Internet using WiFi technology.
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
The computer language that forms the basis of the World Wide Web. Web browsers interpret HTML commands and display web pages based on the HTML commands.
- HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
An Internet protocol that defines the way web browsers and web servers communicate with each other.
A device that connects several computers to one another on a network.
A combination of a hub and router that connects computers, routes data among them, and provides access to the Internet or other networks. Home networks commonly use a hub/router.
A link on a web page that sends you to another web page or resource.
Text that, when clicked, sends you to another piece of text or location.
- image map
A static image that has been turned into a clickable image with different clickable parts.
- instant message
A chat-like message sent to another individual in a private, one-on-one conversation.
- instant messaging software
Software that enables people to know when their friends are online and lets them send person-to-person messages.
- internet-enhanced TV
The use of Internet technologies to add interactivity and web links to television broadcasts.
- Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company that provides dial-in or some other type of access to the Internet for a monthly fee.
- internet telephony
The use of the Internet to make telephone calls.
A private network inside a corporation that uses Internet technology.
- IP address
An Internet address that is a series of four numbers separated by dots, such as 184.108.40.206. Every time you go onto the Internet, you use an IP address; without it you can't do things such as surf the Web.
A technique that uses the basic IP Internet protocol to deliver interactive TV into homes.
The newest version of the basic IP Internet protocol. It allows for a far greater number of available IP addresses and adds other new features, including increased security.
- IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
A standard that enables people to chat with each other over the Internet. You need special IRC software to chat via IRC.
- ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
A method of establishing a high-speed connection to the Internet using telephone lines. Special lines and modems are needed for ISDN.
A programming language used to create programs that can be run inside web browsers or on a variety of computers. The strength of Java-written programs is that they can be written once and can then run as is in a variety of computers.
A technology that enables web designers to use a variety of interactive features on web pages.
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
A common graphics format used for web pages. Files in this format end in .jpg.
A popular program used for sharing music files, movie files, and other kinds of files with others.
A piece of data used to encrypt or decrypt information.
- key logger
A piece of software that records every keystroke someone makes on a computer and then sends the information to someone who wants to monitor that computer. Also called keystroke loggers or keystroke interceptors, this software can be used for workplace surveillance.
- Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
A protocol that enables the creation of Internet white pages, which let people look up other people's email addresses.
A type of software that manages sending and receiving email broadcasts and discussions. The term often is used generically to describe an email broadcast.
- Local Area Network (LAN)
A network that connects computers together in a relatively small area using privately owned communication channels (not public satellites or telephone lines).
Software for Macintosh computers that interprets TCP/IP commands.
- mail header
The part of an email message that contains the subject line, the sender, the receiver, and similar information.
- mail server
A server that delivers or receives email.
- mailing list
- MBone (Multicast Backbone)
A high-capacity Internet backbone used for transmitting broadcasts using the Multicast IP protocol.
- message board
A public area online where people can read and send messages.
- metasearch software
Software that can search through many search engines simultaneously and report back the results.
A browser that a cell phone or similar device uses to browse the World Wide Web.
- microsoft outlook
A popular email program.
- moderated newsgroup
A newsgroup in which all postings first have to go through a moderator before being posted.
- MP3 file
A type of digital file used to store audio. This type of file uses data compression techniques that yield relatively small file sizes while preserving near-CD quality sound.
- multicast IP
A protocol that enables video and audio broadcasts to take place, while using a minimum of bandwidth.
- name server
A server that translates Internet addresses, such as www.zdnet.com, into their IP addresses, such as 220.127.116.11.
A once-popular program that was used for sharing music files in the MP3 format with others.
A technology from Microsoft that runs programs and services remotely across the Internet, and also delivers services automatically to people's desktops. It's similar to web services, but uses a different technology for creating the programs and services.
A video camera that attaches to a computer and often is used for Internet videoconferencing or videochat.
- Network Address Translation (NAT)
A technique in a local area network that provides an internal IP address to computers inside the network, while masking the IP address to the outside world. It also enables several computers on the local area network to share an external IP address.
- network card
An add-in card put into a computer so it can get onto a network.
A discussion area on the Internet.
- newsgroup reader
A piece of software used to read newsgroups.
A portion of a network through which many computers are connected.
- online auction
Just like a real-life auction, except that it's done online.
- opt out
A policy that lets you say you don't want to receive junk mail or similar information.
A piece of data broken down into pieces for transmitting over the Internet or another network.
- packet sniffer
A piece of software that can track, examine, and log every packet of information that travels across a network.
- packet switched network
A network in which there is no unbroken connection between sender and receiver; instead data is broken into packets, sent, and then reassembled when received. The Internet is a packet switched network.
- Palm Query Application (PQA)
A small piece of software on a wireless Palm device that enables it to get information from the Internet using web clipping.
- palmtop computer
A small computer, such as the Palm, that fits in the palm of your hand and is often used for keeping track of schedules, to-do lists, and a calendar; it also can be used for wireless communications.
- parental controls/content filtering
A feature of America Online, some routers, and some add-in software that lets parents decide where kids can go on America Online and the Internet and how they can use America Online and the Internet.
A technique that enables people to determine what information to give to websites and what information to keep private.
A set of private letters and numbers or words you type in to give you access to a service or site.
- peer-to-peer file sharing software
Software that allows people to share files with one another, most frequently music files and, increasingly, video files and movies.
- peer-to-peer network
A network that enables computers or other devices to connect directly with one another without having to use a server or other hardware to connect them.
- Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
A small handheld computer, such as a Palm device or Windows CE device.
- personal firewall
A hardware or hardware/software combination that protects an individual computer from being attacked by hackers or snoopers.
- phishing attack
An attack in which a person is lured to a website that looks like a legitimate financial site, but is in fact a scam. When a person types in his user name and password, the scammer steals it.
A network formed by the connection of two or more Bluetooth devices with one another.
A piece of software that installs in a browser or works in concert with a browser, such as for displaying different types of video.
A method of distributing media files, in particular sound files, allowing people to subscribe to radio-like broadcasts that are downloaded to their PCs or portable music player such as an iPod.
- Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP)
A protocol for computers to connect to the Internet using dial-up modems.
- POP 3 (Post Office 3)
A communications protocol used by email servers to deliver email.
- Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
A program used to encrypt and decrypt information. It's especially useful for sending out private email that only the sender and recipient can understand.
- private key
Someone's key in an encryption scheme that only one person can use. It's used in concert with that individual's public key to encrypt and decrypt information. See also Key and Public key.
- proxy server
A server located between a client, such as a web browser, and the server the client is trying to contact, and which tries to fulfill the request before sending it to the server. For example, a proxy server could be used to speed up the delivery of web pages.
- public key
Someone's key in an encryption scheme that anyone can use. It's used in concert with that individual's private key to encrypt and decrypt information. See also Key and Private key.
- Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
A technology that allows notification when a web page or blog has changed or new information is available.
A popular piece of software that plays video and audio files.
Private companies that accept payment from companies and individuals who buy Internet domains.
A piece of hardware that sends packets to their proper destinations along networks, including the Internet.
- routing table
A database in a router that details the various paths packets can take en route to their destinations.
- search engine
A website that lets you perform searches throughout the Internet.
- secure site
A site that encrypts your credit card information as it's sent across the Internet so the credit card number can't be stolen.
- Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP)
A protocol for computers to connect to the Internet using dial-up modems. It's not as effective as a similar protocol, called PPP.
A computer that performs some task for other computers, such as sending or receiving email or delivering web pages.
- server push animation
A web animation technique in which a server sends a series of images to a browser that, when displayed one after another, appear to be animated.
- service registry
A repository of information about web services. Service Registries can be searched through as a way for individuals or companies to find web services to run.
- SET (Secure Electronic Transactions)
The electronic encryption and payment standard that a group of companies, including Microsoft, Netscape, VISA, and MasterCard, is pushing to become the standard for doing electronic commerce on the Internet.
An animated movie played over the Web, created using Macromedia Director software.
- shopping cart
A list of items someone wants to buy when at an online store.
- SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
A communications protocol used to send email.
- smurf attack
One type of Denial of Service attack in which a network is overwhelmed with replies to forged PING requests. See Denial of Service attack.
- SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
A communications protocol used by web services and .NET.
Software that understands and interprets TCP/IP commands.
Junk email sent to people who haven't requested it. Most spam is commercial offers and can also be fraudulent.
- spam filter
Software that can filter out spam before it is received.
The act of hiding a spammer's true email address so the true sender of the spam can't be traced.
Software that gathers information from the Web and puts it into a large database that can be searched by search engines.
Software that spies on a person's Internet activities or keystrokes, and reports on them to a server or hacker.
- SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
A technology that scrambles information as it's sent across the Internet so hackers can't read it.
- static IP address
A fixed IP address that never changes. Unlike a dynamic IP address, it is permanent, so the IP address of the computer never changes whenever it goes onto the Internet.
- streaming audio
See Streaming media.
- streaming media
A technique that enables you to view and listen to audio and video files from the Internet while they're still downloading to your computer. With streaming media, you can view and listen to audio and video files only a few seconds after you click them.
- streaming video
See Streaming media.
- T1 line
A high-speed line that can carry data at a rate of 1.544Mbps.
- T3 line
A high-speed line that can carry data at a rate of 44.746Mbps.
- TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
The communications protocols that underlie the Internet.
- TCP/IP stack
A way of accessing a host computer from your own computer over the Internet.
- trojan horse
A malicious program that appears to be benign, but in fact is doing damage to your computer. Some Trojan horses can give hackers complete access to the computers of people who run them.
A company that sets voluntary standards for privacy on the Internet and that gives out "seals" that companies can post on their websites if the companies adhere to those privacy rules.
- Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
An address on the Internet, such as http://www.zdnet.com, which enables computers and other devices to visit it.
- Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI)
A group of specifications that lets companies publish information about themselves and their web services, and lets others search through that information in order to find a web service, bind to it, and run it.
- Universal Serial Bus (USB)
A technology that enables many devices to connect to a computer, such as NetCams, scanners, and digital cameras. The devices can be attached to one another in daisy-chain fashion, allowing many to be connected at once.
- unmoderated newsgroup
A newsgroup in which postings don't have to go through a moderator before being posted.
To transfer a file from your computer to another computer or to a server.
A system of more than 14,000 discussion areas called newsgroups.
A conference among several people in which they can talk to one another and see each other using video cameras over the Internet.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN)
An encryption technique that enables people to connect to their corporation's network over the Internet, while protecting the data from being seen by anyone else.
- Virtual Reality (VR)
The simulation of reality on a computer screen or over the Internet.
- Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML)
The language used to create virtual reality websites.
A malicious program that attacks a computer.
- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
A technique for making telephone calls using the Internet's basic IP protocol.
- WAP Transaction Protocol (WTP)
A communications protocol, part of the Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) that is the equivalent of the Internet's TCP/IP protocols and enables cell phones and similar devices to access the Internet.
- war driving
A technique for finding WiFi networks and attempting to access them.
- web browser
A piece of software that enables people to browse the World Wide Web.
- web bug
A technique that enables websites or people to track people's activities when they visit the Web or use email.
A video camera that sends live still or video images to a website.
- web clipping
A technique that enables Palm devices to get information from the Internet.
- web page template
A preformatted design for a web page that includes colors, fonts, layout, and other elements. Templates make creating web pages easyyou only have to put in your own words, pictures, and content.
- web services
A technology that allows programs and services to be run remotely across the Internet, and also allows services to be delivered automatically to people's desktops. It's similar to .NET from Microsoft, but uses a different technology for creating the programs and services.
- web tracking
A technique used by websites that tracks what people do when they visit a website.
A product that lets you access the Web on your television set.
- web white pages
Websites that contain information that can be searched through for identifying information, such as email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses.
In videoconferencing, an application that enables several people to work on the same screen simultaneously.
A family of wireless networking technologies, also known as 802.11, that allow computers and other devices to connect to each other and to the Internet without wires.
A website that lets groups of people work together to create and edit information.
A free, online encyclopedia created by thousands of volunteers working together using the world's largest wiki.
A technology that delivers high-speed, wireless Internet access to an entire metropolitan area.
Software for Windows that interprets TCP/IP commands.
- wireless access point
A device that connects wireless devices, such as a computer equipped with a wireless network card, to a network.
- Wireless Access Protocol (WAP)
An Internet protocol that defines the way cell phones and similar devices can access the Internet.
- Wireless Markup Language (WML)
A markup language related to HTML that is used to create websites that cell phones and similar devices can visit.
A scripting language that enables interaction between cell phones and the Internet.
- workgroup software
Software that enables groups in a corporation to work more closely and effectively with each other and does things such as route documents among people and allow people to run whiteboard applications.
- World Wide Web
The most popular portion of the Internet, it allows you to view pages that include text, pictures, video, sound, and various forms of interactivity.
- World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The group that develops standards for the evolution of the World Wide Web.
- WSDL (Web Services Description Language)
A language used in web services and .NET technology to create a description of the web service that will be run.
See Extensible Markup Language.
A computer taken over by a hacker and used to attack websites, send spam, launch phishing attacks, or for other purposes.