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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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This is malware capturing information about a computer and user online behaviour without their knowledge, and then passing it on. The recipients of this information can then reconstruct a user’s habits when surfing and shopping. Such spyware software generally installs itself on a computer when installing shareware or freeware programs.

Transaction number (TAN)

TAN (transaction number) is a one-off password which is used in addition to a password or PIN. There are different ways of notifying customers of a TAN. The best-known method is a mobile TAN (mTAN), which financial institutions send to customers by SMS.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

A protocol which controls the distribution of data amongst packets and the recipient-side assembly, and safeguards checking the complete transmission of these data.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

This is a protocol suite comprising the underlying communication protocols of the Internet. These are also frequently used inside private networks.

Transport Layer Security (TLS)

TLS is a successor standard by SSL. TLS resolves some errors which were contained in SSL.


Malware disguising itself as something useful or a game, however with completely different objectives in reality. Trojans can for instance capture, change or delete passwords or other confidential data, or transmit them to an attacker.


Is an international standard, which lays down a digital code for all meaningful characters or text elements of all known written and character systems for the long term. The aim is to remove the use of different and incompatible codings in different countries or cultural areas. Unicode is continuously complemented by additional scripts.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Denotes the address of a website - e. g. http://www.ebankingbutsecure.ch. Contrary to a domain, a URL also contains the protocol (e. g. http://) and potentially also further details such as the port (e. g. 80).


Extension of a computer system. The term «upgrade» was first only used for a hardware-related extension, although it is now (almost) synonymous with «update». Some software providers distinguish between a free update and a fee-based upgrade.

User name

This is the name used by users to identify themselves in a system. When logging into a program or service (e. g. when e-banking), you will usually be asked for a user name and password. These will serve to identify authorized users.

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