Anti-spyware programs are designed to protect your computer from spyware (see under 'S'), and are useful in ensuring that your computer and your personal details remain secure.
Anti-virus software is designed to detect known incoming viruses (typically via email) and prevent them from infecting the PC
New viruses can spread very quickly, so you should ensure that your anti-virus software is always running and is updated on a regular basis – at least weekly.
Popular sources for anti-virus protection software are McAfee, Symantec (Norton) and Sophos . Private individuals can also download free versions of this type of software from the Internet.
A high-speed method of connecting to the Internet, faster than a traditional modem. Although it costs no more to leave the Internet connection on, it is good practice to disconnect from the Internet when not being used as this helps reduce risk exposure.
A browser is software that provides a way to view web pages. The two most popular web browsers are Microsoft® Internet Explorer and Netscape® Navigator.
Cookies are small files stored on a computer's hard drive. Cookies are generally harmless and are used to recognise a user so that they can receive a more consistent experience at a particular website.
Cookies can contain information about your preferences that allows customisation of a site for your use.
A digital certificate is an electronic ID card that helps establish your identity when doing business via the Internet. Such certificates can be browser based (“Soft Certificates”) or embedded into a smart card (“Hard Token”) and used with special card readers.
Encryption converts your data into an encoded form before it's sent over the Internet, stopping unauthorised users from reading the information. At HSBC, we use 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption , which is accepted as the industry standard level.
You know that your session is in a secure ‘encrypted' environment when you see https:// in the web address, and/or when you see the locked ‘padlock' symbol at the bottom right corner of your browser window.
A filename extension is simply the last three letters (or numbers) of the full file name. They are normally used by the operating system to associate a program with a particular file.
A firewall is a small program that helps protect your computer and its contents from outsiders on the Internet or network. When properly installed, it prevents unauthorised traffic to and from your PC.
There are many effective programs to choose from. Common commercial examples are from Zone Labs , Symantec (Norton), McAfee and Computer Associates.
In many cases there is a freeware version of commercial software that is free of charge for personal users.
Identity theft is a crime in which a fraudster obtains key pieces of personal information, such as date of birth, bank details, or driver's license numbers, in order to impersonate someone else.
The personal information discovered is then used illegally to apply for credit, purchase goods and services, or gain access to bank accounts.
Fraudsters often take advantage of people's natural inclination to choose passwords that are meaningful to them but can be easily guessed (children's names, pet names, addresses, or birth dates).
Anything you type on a computer can be captured and stored. Such covert activity can be via a hardware device attached to the PC or by software running almost invisibly on the machine.
Keystroke logging is often used by fraudsters to capture personal details including passwords. Some recent viruses are capable of installing such software without the user's knowledge.
The risk of encountering such keystroke logging is greater on PCs shared by a number of users, such as those in Internet cafes.
Running anti-spyware software would reveal the presence of any such software on your PC. Users can download free anti-spyware.
A Plug-in is a software module that adds a specific functionality to the web browser. For example, plug-ins for Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer allow the browsers to play various types of audio and video messages or view popular Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) files.
When you log in to Internet Banking you are said to be in a “secure session”.
SSL technology is used within your Internet Banking session to encrypt information before it leaves your computer, in order to ensure that no one else can read it. Depending on your browser settings, a pop-up window may appear to notify you that you will be entering a secure page.
You will know that you are on a ‘secure' page when you see the ‘https://' before the web address. You will also see a closed padlock symbol in the lower right hand corner of your browser window.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol provides a high level of security for Internet communications. SSL provides an encrypted communications session between your web browser and a web server. SSL helps to ensure that sensitive information (e.g. credit card numbers, account balances and other proprietary financial and personal data) sent over the Internet between your browser and a web server remains confidential during online transactions.
Security holes/bugs are faults, defects or programming errors. These may be exploited by unauthorised users to access computer networks or web servers from the Internet. As these vulnerabilities become known, software publishers develop ‘patches,' ‘fixes' or ‘updates' that you can download to fix the problems.
Session Time out
This is an automatic disconnection, for security reasons, from any secure session after a period of server inactivity. It may occur even if you are typing something into a page or data field, the event being triggered by no communications with our servers, rather than by keyboard or mouse inactivity. All our Internet banking services have this protection.
Unwanted email messages offering products and services of dubious benefit are often called Spam. Various types of anti-spam software are available, but the first line of defence may be your own Internet Service Provider, many of whom offer spam filtering services.
These are programs/files that may already reside on your PC. These programs often arrive as hidden components of “free” programs. They monitor web usage and report back to bona-fide companies who may then sell the aggregated statistics. They are relatively benign, but in their more extreme forms can include key-stroke logging and virtual snooping on all your PC activity.
Any apparently legitimate software that carries an unwanted destructive payload. Typically the payload is a virus that is used by hackers to gain unauthorised access to computer systems.
A computer program designed to replicate itself by copying itself into other programs stored in a computer. It may be benign but usually has a negative impact, such as slowing a PC's or corrupting a computer's memory and files.
Viruses are now mainly spread by email and by file sharing services. New viruses are discovered on a daily basis.
Virus Definition File
This is a file used by anti-virus software to identify specific viruses, worms and trojan horses. For this reason you should regularly download the latest version from your software supplier, or set your software to "auto-update".
A malicious program that replicates itself until it fills all of the storage space on a drive or network.
Such Worms may use up computer time, space, and speed when replicating, with a malicious intent to slow or bring down entire web servers and disrupt Internet use.