A type of software that often comes with free downloads. Some adware displays ads on your computer, while some monitors your computer use (including websites visited) and displays targeted ads based on your use.
Protects your computer from viruses that can destroy your data, slow your computer's performance, cause a crash, or even allow spammers to send email through your account.
A measure of the "speed" of an Internet connection.
Shorthand for "business opportunity;" some schemes involve extravagant and unfounded earnings claims and are actually fraudulent business ventures.
A common spyware program that changes your web browser's home page without the user's knowledge, even if you change it back.
A form of computer memory that allows you to access stored information, such as web addresses you've recently typed into your browser, more quickly. Pronounced "cash."
A law that prohibits senders of unsolicited commercial email from using false or misleading header information or deceptive subject lines, and requires they identify each email as an advertisement, among other provisions.
A small text file that a website can place on your computer's hard drive to collect information about your activities on the site or to allow the site to remember information about you and your activities.
Software that installs on your computer without your knowledge when you visit certain websites. To avoid drive-by downloads, make sure to update your operating system and Web browser regularly.
The scrambling of data into a secret code that can be read only by software set to decode the information.
End User Licensing Agreement (EULA)
A provider's legal terms. You, as the "end user," may be required to "click" to accept before you can download software.
Software that screens information on the Internet, classifies its content, and allows the user to block certain kinds of content.
Hardware or software that helps keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. Firewalls watch for outside attempts to access your system and block communications to and from sources you don't permit.
Someone who uses computers and the Internet to access other people's computers without permission.
Programs that you may unknowingly download that can use your computer to silently dial expensive phone calls which later show up on your phone bill.
A device or program that records each keystroke typed on a particular computer.
A combination of the terms "malicious" and "software," used to describe any software designed to cause damage to a single computer, server, or computer network. Criminals sometimes use malware – programs like viruses and spyware – to get into your computer, and once there, they can steal information, send spam, and commit fraud. Learn to spot the signs of malware and what you can do to reclaim your computer and your electronic information.
Programs that allow a parent or caregiver to monitor the websites a child visits or email messages he or she reads, without blocking access.
The informal rules of internet courtesy, enforced exclusively by other Internet users.
Compiling information about consumers' preferences and interests by tracking their online movements and actions in order to create targeted ads.
When a user explicitly permits a website to collect, use, or share his or her information.
When a user expressly requests that his/her information not be collected, used and/or shared. Sometimes a user's failure to "opt-out" is interpreted as "opting in."
Tools that allow parents to prevent their children from accessing certain Internet content that they might find inappropriate.
Information that can identify you, like your bank and credit card account numbers; your income; your Social Security number (SSN); or your name, address, and phone numbers.
A scam that involves Internet fraudsters who send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information) from unsuspecting victims.
Pop-up Messages or Ads
Unsolicited advertising that appears as its own browser window.
Unsolicited commercial email, often sent in bulk quantities.
Someone who sends unsolicited commercial email, often in bulk quantities.
Home computers that have been taken over by spammers without the consent or knowledge of the computer owner. The computers are then used to send spam in a way that hides the true origin.
A software program that may be installed on your computer without your consent to monitor your use, send pop-up ads, redirect your computer to certain websites, or record keystrokes, which could lead to identity theft.
Programs that, when installed on your computer, enable unauthorized people to access it and sometimes to send spam from it.
A program that can sneak onto your computer — often through an email attachment — and then make copies of itself, quickly using up all available memory.
A program that reproduces itself over a network and can use up your computer's resources and possibly shut your system down.
OnGuardOnline.gov offers the following sites to help you learn more about your online safety.
Find Software and Applications
Find software tools to help protect your computer and your personal information.
Find software tools to help parents keep children safer online.