FineMark Explains Internet Terms

01/16/2013

Have you ever wondered what some of those internet terms really mean? From IP addresses and URLs to Blogs, Spam and Cookies, FineMark explains 15 of the most common internet-related words and how they work.

1. World Wide Web and Internet

The Internet started in the late 1960's as an American military project, and has since evolved into a vast interconnection of computer networks. It is comprised of millions of computing devices such as computers, mainframes, GPS units, cell phones, car alarms, video game consoles, etc. No single organization owns or controls the Internet.

The World Wide Web, or 'Web' for short, is the most popular portion of the Internet and viewed through web browser software.

2. Browser

A browser lets you view web pages, graphics, and online content. Some commonly used browsers are: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari.

3. URL

URLs (uniform resource locators) are the web addresses of Internet pages and files. A URL helps name, locate, and bookmark pages and files for web browsers. URLs commonly use three parts to address a page or file:

  • The protocol such as: http://
  • The host computer such as: www.finemarkbank.com
  • The filename or page name such as: /news/
  • Altogether it reads: http://www.finemarkbank.com/news/
4. IP Address

The IP (internet protocol) address is a four-part electronic serial number. An IP address looks something like '123.4.567.89'. Every computer, cell phone, or device that has access to the Internet is assigned an IP address. When you browse web pages, send messages, download files, etc. your IP address logs that information and is that information is traceable.

5. Email

Email (electronic mail) is the sending and receiving of typed messages from one screen to another. Email is usually handled by a webmail service like Gmail, AOL or Yahoo or a software package like Microsoft Outlook.

6. Blogs and Blogging

A blog ('web log') is a modern online writer's column. Anyone can publish a blog and blogs can be related to any kind of topic from hobbies and sports to politics, art and celebrity gossip.

7. Social Media

Social media is any online tool that enables users to interact with other users. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are some of the most popular social media sites.

8. Download

Downloading is when you make a personal copy of something you find on the Internet. It can be associated with songs, music, photos, files, and videos. Download times vary based on the size of the file. The larger the file, the longer it will take to transfer to your computer.

9. Malware

Malware is any malicious software designed by hackers. Malware includes: viruses, trojans, ratware, keyloggers, zombie programs, and any other software that seeks to vandalize your computer, steal personal information, access your computer remotely, or manipulate you into purchasing something.

10. Bookmark

A bookmark or favorite is a way to identify web pages you may want to return to later or pages that you may visit on a regular basis. To bookmark a page or to flag a page as a favorite, try these steps:

  1. Go to the page you want to bookmark
  2. Right click on your mouse or go to the menu or toolbar tab of your browser
  3. Select “Bookmark this Page” or “Add to Favorites”
11. Phishing

'Phishing' as in fishing for confidential information - refers to a scam that encompasses fraudulently obtaining and using an individual's personal or financial information. This type of scam usually involves a convincing email or web page that lures you into typing your account numbers, personal information, passwords and PINs. Most phishing attacks can be very convincing by using familiar or similar logos, colors, web addresses, etc.

12. Spam

'Spam' is the jargon name of 'unwanted/unsolicited email'. Spam email is usually comprised of two sub-categories: high-volume advertising and hackers attempting to lure you into divulging your passwords.

13. Cookies

Cookies are small, encrypted text files that help users navigate websites efficiently and perform certain functions. Cookies help authenticate user logins, store information on where users left off on a page, store ordering information for shopping, or store user preferences such as layouts or themes. Cookies are also created to regulate how ads appear or how other elements function on a page. Disabling cookies may prevent users from using certain websites.

14. Apps

Apps (‘applications’) are designed to be smaller than computer software, but provide useful functions for cellphones and mobile platforms.

15. Firewall

Firewall is a generic term to describe 'a barrier against destruction'. It comes from the building term of a protective wall to prevent the spreading of housefires or engine compartment fires. In the case of computing, 'firewall' means to have software and/or hardware protecting you from hackers and viruses.