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Glossary

In this list, you will find explanations of some terms frequently used in connection with Information Security. These will be explained in as simple terms as possible.

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ActiveX

An older programming interface developed by Microsoft to reuse components which facilitate the provision of content (e. g. videos and games) on websites. The new Microsoft «Edge» browser does not support ActiveX, constituting an unofficial Microsoft announcement that this technology is now obsolete.


Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

This is a method for encrypting data. AES can for instance be used to encrypt transmissions inside a WLAN (WPA2) network. This encrypts anything exchanged between the WLAN router and a device connected wirelessly.


Adware

An intrinsically legal way of financing «free» software. This is either implemented via ad banners inside the actual software, or via the installation of additional third party software.


Applet

The word «Applet» is made up from the terms «application» and «snippet» and either describes a Java program running inside a browser or a computer program which cannot be run as a stand-alone application.


Authentication

This is the process of checking the purported identity of a person or a computer based on a certain characteristic (e. g. password, chip card or fingerprint).


Authorisation

The allocation of permissions. Based on permissions, authorisation is granted to access resources (e. g. files, software, payments, etc.) after successful identification and authentication.


Back door

With software, this word usually denotes non-documented access which allows manufacturers (or third parties) to access users’ software or data from the outside. There is also malware which is able to open a back door. This allows criminals to access a computer and then use it for their own ends, e. g. to join a bot net.


Back-up

Data back-up, where electronic information (data) is copied to an external storage medium (e. g. an external hard drive). Back-ups are generally run at regular intervals. There is a distinction between an incremental back-up, where only changes since the last back-up are saved, and complete back-ups.


Bit

This is the smallest information unit in electronic data processing, equivalent to a yes/no decision or 0/1 in a digital data record.


Bluetooth

This is a standard for wireless communication inside a small range. Bluetooth uses the freely available ISM (Industrial Scientific Medical) network, which works at 2.45 GHz. Transmission power is up to 1 MBit per second, with a range of up to 100 meters.



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