The VPN dictionary

Have you read an article about a VPN service, about Internet security or about hacking? Do not understand the words? Here is the ultimate VPN dictionary, easy to understand and read.

This article is not so much about just VPN expression, but just as much about Internet security in general and about hacking and spamming. The expressions listed can be found in alphabetical order, so just read through them all or jump to the word you might be interested in. This list will also be updated frequently, so come back later. You can also feel free to write a comment to suggest new words to write about, or if you disagree with our definitions, please tell us why in the comment field at the bottom of the page.

internet-security-dictionary
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The VPN and Internet security dictionary

Adware

This is a form of a malware. When you are infected with adware you will see ads showing up on your operating system that you did not ask for or invite. adware will often change your starting page in your browser, it will let ads show up as pop up windows all the time and it can be very hard to get rid of. There are sole anti-adware tools worth using and installing if your computer has been infected with adware. Luckily adware is normally harmless, except from the fact that you get high blood pressure due to all the annoying ads showing up.

Anti-Virus

Most Internet users have heard about viruses and know about the important of using an anti-virus software. Viruses are infections attacking your computer. Once infected your defense level goes down and you might get even more infected and stronger. Viruses often comes with attachments in emails, fake Torrent downloads or at warez websites. Anti-virus software will often discover such attacks at once and make sure that no access is given to the virus, and thus stops the attack before it even started.  There are free anti-virus software available online, and there are also online scanners that can be used if you believe you have been attacked.

Unfortunately anti-virus software use a lot of memory on your computer, but we do not actually have a choice… we need to have anti-virus software installed on our computers!

Clickjacking

Have you ever experienced to get programs installed on your computer that you do not even remember installing? Or have you sent out messages on Facebook that you do not remember sending? Clickjacking is a popular way to make such things happen. What they do is show you some information that makes you click. As you click a script starts that might install a program on your computer, it might lead you to press an AD, or maybe even buy products from a store. A common way for this to happen is when you press the X in the upper corner of a website or an app to close it. But, spammy as it is it takes you somewhere else and might lead to actions that you do not realize and find out about before later.

This is often used on Facebook as well to make you like Facebook sites, share content or maybe install cookies on your computer or in your browser that give hackers access to your computer.

Computer virus

We have already discussed this expression a bit in the anti-virus section, but let us write a few more words here. The virus infects your computer and then replicates itself. It can attack your computer in several ways, and every year viruses cause billions of dollars of harm. A virus may often lead to system failure and make a computer almost impossible to use. Viruses is often confused with malware and spyware, so read on about those expressions later in the VPN dictionary.

Evil Twin Network

As you go into a shopping mall you might know that there is a free WiFi available named “shoppingmall.” It is however possible for someone to create a similar network named “shoppingmalI” and as you connect to this evil twin network the owners will easily get access to your confidential data, password etc. This is very much similar to phishing, only it happens as you connect to networks that look identical to what you are looking for, except from the fact that it is a fake out there to actually trick you. Using a VPN connection can keep you safe also on evil twin networks, but still the best is to stay far away from them.

Hotspot (Wi-Fi)

This is a common way to access the Internet when somewhere else. Hotspots can be found at airports, hotels, coffee bars, universities and other public places. One should be aware of the dangers using public hotspots, especially since harm can be done by hackers accessing the hotspot, but also by the owners of the hotspot logging your activity. Using end-to-end encryption is a good solution to stay safe when using public hotspots.

Keystroke logging

keyloggerThis is an efficient way for a hacker to access your passwords and other confidential information. There are several ways to log your keystrokes. The easiest way is to use an external plug and add it to the computer. This is easy to discover, but as most people never actually look for such extra plugs, it is hardly never discovered by a layperson. You can see an example of a keylogger on the picture.

Keylogging can also be done by malware running in the background on your computer. This might however be recognized by anti-virus software. There are lots of way to make life hard for keyloggers. There are lots of apps out there to help you (including anti-virus software). Using password managers can also be a solution, because you will then no longer actually type your passwords, but the password manager will do the job for you.

Malware

The original word for malware is malicious software. While a virus is an infection a malware is an actual program that gets installed on your computer and as a result it opens a door for hackers to use. The challenge with malware is that it is hidden on your computer and you will often not even notice that it is there. In other cases the malware will lead to unwanted ads showing up (this is actually spyware), it can give access to Trojan horses, webcam hacking and other bad activities. It can also help strangers log your keyboard writing, and thus get access to passwords and other confidential information.

OpenVPN

A popular VPN protocol with a high level of encryption and frequently used by the biggest VPN providers. You can read more about this and other VPN protocols here.

Piggybacking

Did you know that most people never change the password to their router? Piggybacking is when someone take their computer near another Wireless network and log onto it using the standard passwords. They often get access to the router itself, and thus they can supervise activity and do other harm.

Pharming

Sometimes hackers will get access to a website, but instead of doing an obvious attack they simply infect it in an almost invisible way. They might for example add some info to .htaccess to make certain users using special devices, or coming from certain locations, be forwarded to another site. This can be used for the single purpose of getting visitors or destroying for your opponent, or it can be used to make people visiting a certain site believe that they are actually there, while the truth is that they are visiting a spam-site instead.

Phishing

This is a very frequent way to steal your confidential data. It most often takes place as you receive an email telling you that your information has been lost, stolen or someone else has tried to log into your account. In order to fix this you need to press the link in your email to change your password or so on. The only problem is that the link in the email is not to the real site, but a “scam” site that looks exactly the same as the real site. As you type in your old password and new password the owners immediately get hold of the information they need to log onto your real account, steal your information, data and other stuff they might need.

How to avoid phishing? Do not believe everything you read in emails. Do not press the link in the email, check with the sender directly (give them a call or send them an email), but do not press the link in the email and do not reply to the email sent to you. You can also copy the link address to Notepad or a similar tool to check the actual address. If it isn’t the website of your real provider, then this is scam. Be aware of small typos in the address like: wwwapple.com is not the same as www.apple.com. If the URL has been shortened you can extend the URL right here to check where it will actually take you.

PPTP

This is a quite old-fashioned VPN protocol that is known for high speeds, but low encryption. You can read more about the different VPN protocols right here.

Rootkit

The purpose of rootkit is for a stranger to get root/administrator access to your computer. They can get this access using malware, phishing, keyloggers or other tools and once they have root access they can implement the rootkit. With root access they hide their presence, but at the same time they are able to change apps and programs. As a result anti-virus software can be stopped from actually discovering the problem. Once up and running this can be used to steal information, keep track of your activity and lots of other evil activities.

Spamware

Have you ever received emails and messages from someone, but you immediately knew that they did not actually send you the message or the email. Spamware is a sort of malware that often take control of your messaging applications and forward emails in your current inbox to all addresses available in your address book. It can also send messages, update Facebook profiles and other activities. It is often also used to send spam using your Internet connection, your SMTP server to thousands and hundreds of thousands of addresses gathered by the spamware. This can harm you by your ISP blocking you until the problem has been fixed.

Spyware

While spamware will use your connection to spam thousands of people elsewhere, the spyware will work in quietness in the background while spying on your activities. Spyware can be used in combination with adware, making sure that you get ads suitable for you (which they find by spying on you with the spyware). A keylogger is also an example of a spyware that can be used to spy on you as you spend time in front of your device.

Trojan Horse

This is one of the most famous expressions within computer security. Just like the original Trojan horse looked like a gift and a nice present, the purpose was evil and did great harm. In the computer world a Trojan horse is a program or application that looks nice and harmless on the outside, but once you open it up it will create harm.

Typosquatting

This is again very similar to for example phishing, but it is different in the way that you experience trouble because of your own error and mistake. Let us say that you want to visit www.mybank.com. But, as you type the address in your browser you misspell and type www.mybannk.com. Unfortunately you do not notice the mistake and someone with bad intentions own www.mybannk.com. They make you believe that you are at the actual website, but instead you are at a scam site stealing your information and abusing your information A common way is also for the abusers to buy .cm or .co domains which is easy to confuse with the original .com domains..

VPN

A VPN is the abbreviation for a Virtual Private Network. This is a connection used to encrypt your online activity, to keep strangers away and it can also be used for the purpose of hiding your actual location. It is frequently used by people who want to bypass geo-blocks (that is to get an IP address in another nation), but still the most frequent usage purpose of a VPN is to secure your online activity. If you want to know more about what a VPN connection is and how it works, read this article.

Web-Cam hacking

This is a common and evil way to interrupt peoples privacy. As most laptops now come with a built-in webcam this is something to watch out for. Hackers can use your own webcam to spy on you, make pictures of you and later use this for evil purposes. They get access to your webcam as your computer gets infected by some sort of virus (which can happen as you open infected files or install something without knowing about it). This virus will give outsiders access to your computer and they can remotely access your cam (and other information on your computer). One of the best ways to stay away from this is by covering your webcam with something, to have anti-virus software installed and take all other precautions needed.

Wi-Fi network

A Wi-Fi network is a wireless network that can be access without an Ethernet cable. It is less secure for this reason, but at the same time most Wi-Fi networks use password protection to secure its users. Most people connect to the Internet using a Wi-Fi connection, and when out traveling people connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi networks at hotels, airports, restaurants, coffee shops and similar places. Using a Wi-Fi network is always a risk, especially when using a  non-encrypted network without password protection. Using a VPN will make Wi-Fi networks much safer to use. Even though a Wi-Fi network is password protected you should also be aware of evil Twin networks and other dangers lurking in the darkness.

There are different encryption standards for Wireless networks. WEP is considered to be easily breakable, while WPA2 is considered much more secure. A way to secure your home network is by allowed only certain MAC addresses to use the connection, but if there are lots of devices coming and going all the time then this is hard to keep running.

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