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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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Virus

Although every user is still aware of this term, there are generally hardly any real viruses in circulation any longer today. A classic virus infects existing files on a computer in the hope that one of them is passed on to another user. If malware does not make any attempt to actively distribute itself, you call it a virus. If malware however is able to also spread automatically, e. g. by e-mail, you call it a worm.


Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

WPA is the name of a standard to encrypt a WLAN which can be used for older devices. If you use WPA, it is mandatory that you should follow our «6 rules for a secure password».


Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)

WPA2 builds on WPA, but uses the powerful AES algorithm to encrypt data transmission.


Wide Area Network (WAN)

A WAN however is a network connecting computers and peripheral devices across large distances. This usually involves interconnecting different local networks.


Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

This is the Name of an obsolete standard to encrypt a WLAN.


Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

This is a cable-free, local network or a wireless network. WLANs are for instance used in private households, e. g. to surf wirelessly on your tablet from your sofa.


World Wide Web (WWW)

The WWW was developed by the European Research Centre for Nuclear Physics (CERN) in Lausanne (Switzerland) as a hypermedia system for the Internet in 1993. The other agency involved in this development was the NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, USA). By now, the WWW Consortium (W3C) is developing the WWW further. The WWW allows access to documents stored in servers spread out all across the globe. These documents are not pure text or hypertext documents though: This could involve any data stored in digital form, such as short video clips or files with spoken language.


Worm

Worms, just like viruses, are no longer such a widespread type of malware today. A worm is a small program which distributes copies by itself, e. g. via e-mail, SMS or via a vulnerability.



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