CompTIA IT Fundamentals Study Guide- Exam FC0-U51 by Quentin Docter- Glossary Terms

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4G LTE (Long‐Term Evolution)

The current standard for cellphone communication.

Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)

An expansion slot designed to meet the need for increased graphics performance. Now outdated.

access control list (ACL)

A set of rules that determines access, such as which traffic gets through a firewall and which traffic is blocked or who gets to access files or folders.

Accessibility options

Features built into most operating systems to make them easier to use for those who have physical disabilities.


Enabling a software application to function by locking it to a specific computer.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

The Advanced Encryption Standard is currently the most secure encryption available.


Malware that records activities for the purpose of targeting pop‐up ads.

Airplane mode

A mode on a mobile device that disables all wireless connections


Mobile operating system created by Google; the most popular smartphone OS in the world.

antistatic wrist strap

A specially designed device used to bleed electrical charges away safely. It uses a 1‐megaohm resistor to bleed the charge away slowly. Attaching this device to a grounding mat protects the computer system’s components from accidental damage.

archive bit

File attribute that determines if the file has changed since the last backup or not. If the bit is on, that means the file has changed.


A process by which a computer system verifies that a user has proper credentials.


A feature that automatically populates fields in a form on a web page for you, such as your name, address, or credit card information.

Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA)

A TCP/IP standard used to automatically configure IP‐based hosts that are unable to reach a DHCP server using the 169.254.x.x IP address range with a subnet mask of

automatic update

A process by which the operating system searches its manufacturer’s website for software updates and downloads (and possibly installs) them automatically.


A method used to log into a system and avoid normal security methods.

backside bus

The optional communications pathway between the Northbridge and the cache controller. When the backside bus is absent, the cache controller communicates with the Northbridge over the frontside bus.


The process of making a copy of files and folders on a computer.


A measure of the "normal" performance of your system or a component in the system.

Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)

The basic input/output system for an IBM‐based PC. It is the firmware that allows the computer to boot.


A Blu‐ray disc; it’s a newer optical disc format that holds more information than a standard DVD.

biometric devices

Devices that authenticate users by scanning for one or more physical traits. Some common types include fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, and retina scanning.

BlackBerry OS

A mobile operating system created by RIM and used on BlackBerry devices.


Another term for a complete loss of power.

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

Also called a STOP error, it’s an error generated by Windows when a fatal system error occurs. It features a blue screen with the word STOP followed by an error message that can help in troubleshooting.


A popular standard for wireless communication.

Bluetooth pairing

The process of connecting two Bluetooth‐based devices together for communication.


A drop in the power supply, but not a total loss of power.


An optical drive so named because it employs a laser capable of intensities stronger than what are used to read discs. It uses the laser to write, or "burn," content to the disc.


A set of signal pathways that allows information and signals to travel between components inside or outside a computer. A computer contains three types of buses: the external bus, the address bus, and the data bus.

cable modem

A device that while not technically a modem creates an Internet connection to the cable network.

cache memory

A storage area for frequently used data and instructions.


An item that can cause increased risk of developing cancer.

cathode ray tube (CRT)

The classic video‐display technology that the first televisions were based on and that can still be found in specialty monitors. CRTs have electron guns that fire electrons to cause phosphorescent chemicals on the screen to glow.


A non‐writeable and inerasable compact disc permanently pressed with digital data. A digital optical disc medium commonly capable of holding from 650 MB to 700 MB of data, corresponding to 74 to 80 minutes of CD‐quality audio, which is of higher quality than MP3 files.

central processing unit (CPU)

The main integrated circuit of a computer system, consisting of an array of millions of integrated circuits, that interfaces with almost all other components and runs application and system processes. Its purpose is to accept, perform calculations on, and eject numeric data. It’s considered the "brain" of the computer because it’s the part that performs the mathematical operations required for all other activity.


The set of controller chips that monitors and directs the traffic on the motherboard between the buses and components.

Chrome OS

An operating system created by Google, based on a Linux kernel and the Chrome web browser.


A netbook computer running Chrome OS.


A desktop computer running Chrome OS.

clean uninstallation

Deleting a software application properly, including removing all files associated with that application.

cloud computing

A service where storage or applications are provided via the Internet, usually hosted by a global provider.

CMOS battery

A battery that provides power to the CMOS (or BIOS) chip that stores CMOS settings. A PC must retain certain settings when it’s turned off and its power cord is unplugged.

collaboration software

Software designed to make it easy to work with or communicate with other people.

complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS)

A chip used to retain system settings when the PC is turned off or unplugged. Contains the system BIOS.

component video

A high‐quality video interface that is capable of 1080p video and features three RCA or BNC connectors—red, green, and blue—that carry the signals.

connection delay

The amount of delay between sending a network data request and receiving a response.


Components of a printer that get used up, such as ink, toner, and paper.


A plain‐text file downloaded from a website to a computer, which can be used to uniquely identify the user.


The failure of a software application to respond.

crossover cable

A twisted‐pair network cable used for connecting computers directly to each other. One end has pins 1 and 3 and 2 and 6 reversed, hence the term crossover.

default gateway

The router to which all packets are sent when the destination computer is not on the local segment.

Department of Defense (DoD) model

A four‐layer networking model upon which the basis for the TCP/IP protocol suite was developed.

device driver

Software that allows a device to communicate with the operating system. Also called a driver.

device hardening

Tasks a user completes to help protect a computer by reducing its number of vulnerabilities.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

A technology that uses regular telephone lines to carry high‐speed Internet.

Digital Visual Interface (DVI)

A digital video interface standard that includes support for analog monitor interfaces in the DVI‐A standard or one or two links of digital transmission in the DVI‐D standard. There is also a DVI‐I (the I stands for integrated) that has the ability to support both standards.

direct attached storage (DAS)

A hard drive attached to a local computer. It can be an internal or external hard drive.


A digital video interface standard created in 2008 by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA); it was designed to be an industry standard and replace VGA and DVI. It’s also backward compatible with VGA and DVI by using adapters.


A version of Linux, which is a combination of the Linux kernel, a shell, shell utilities, a desktop environment, and desktop utilities.

domain controller

A centralized server responsible for the security administration of a domain.


A group of networked Windows computers that share Active Directory (security) content.

dot pitch

The distance between corresponding subpixels in neighboring pixels, used to measure a monitor’s hardware resolution quality

dual inline memory module (DIMM)

A memory module packaging style that features a circuit board with independent pins on both sides of the module’s card edge.

dumpster diving

Going through the garbage to obtain confidential or sensitive information


A non‐writeable and inerasable digital video disc permanently pressed with digital data. A digital optical disc medium commonly capable of holding from 4.7 GB to 8.5 GB of data per side, corresponding to 2 to 4 hours of uncompressed DVD‐quality video.

dynamic memory

A type of memory that loses its data rapidly if it isn’t constantly electrically refreshed.

electromagnetic interference (EMI)

The interference that can occur during transmissions over copper cable because of electromagnetic energy outside the cable. The result is degradation of the signal.

electrostatic discharge (ESD)

Occurs when two objects of dissimilar electrical charge come in contact with each other; the charge can damage electronic components.


Converting files so their content is scrambled if someone tries to browse the file contents.


The study of how people interact with their workplace environment.


An external interface for the attachment of SATA devices that requires a shielded cable and different connector from the one used with internal SATA attachment.


File types that open an application.

expansion slot

One of the arbitrary insertion points in an expansion bus, based on a specific technology—PCIe, for example.

external hard drive

A hard drive (either HDD or SSD) that is located outside the computer case.

fault tolerance

The ability to suffer the loss of a component and yet still have an operational computer


A type of cable consisting of thin flexible glass fiber surrounded by a rubberized outer coating. Uses an ST, SC, or LC connector

Fiber‐to‐the‐Home (FTTH)

Fiber‐optic broadband service delivered directly to a residence.

field replaceable unit (FRU)

A computer part that is replaceable by a field technician or end user.


A collection of data that has its own name.

file extension

The end of the filename that starts with a period. Examples are .doc, .exe, and .tiff.

file locking

A feature of many network operating systems that "locks" a file to prevent more than one person from updating the file at the same time.

file system

The organizational scheme that governs how files are stored and retrieved from a disk. Examples include FAT, NTFS, HFS, and ext4.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

A protocol in the TCP/IP protocol suite that is optimized for file transfers. It uses ports 20 and 21.

File Transfer Protocol Secure (FTPS)

A secure version of the File Transfer Protocol optimized for file transfers. It uses SSL or TLS for security and uses port 990 or 21.


A form of protection that can be either a stand‐alone system or included in other devices, such as routers or servers. You can find firewall solutions that are marketed as hardware‐only and others that are software‐only. Either way, their role is to limit the traffic in (or out) of the network.


Apple’s original implementation of IEEE 1394, a high‐speed serial I/O interface ideal for video applications between a computer and an external video source or destination. FireWire and USB are competing standards.

flash drive

A small, portable USB storage device made of nonvolatile solid‐state memory, similar to writeable floppy disks.

flashing the BIOS

The act of changing the system firmware in a computer, often for the purpose of upgrading to a higher version to support new hardware that the older version does not support.

flat screen

A newer form of display device that replaced the CRT.

form factor

The size and shape of a component. For example, AT and ATX are two form factors for motherboards.


Software that does not cost anything to purchase or use.

frontside bus

The high‐speed bus controlled by the Northbridge on which RAM, cache (in the absence of the backside bus [BSB]), PCIe slots, AGP slots, and other local‐bus components are interconnected with the CPU and, in some cases, each other.

function (Fn) key

Key marked with the letters Fn that produces particular functions when pressed and held while pressing a key marked with an alternate function.

gesture‐based interaction

Using a mobile device through a series of finger gestures and phone movements.

Google Play

The Google app store where you find apps, games, movies, and music.

graphical user interface

An interface that users use to interact with the computer; it contains pictures instead of just text and can be navigated with a mouse.

graphics processing unit (GPU)

A processor, much like a central processing unit (CPU) for the computer, specifically designed for video.


A variety of computer crimes that involve gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or its data.

hard drive

A disk drive that contains magnetically coated platters in a sealed case and is often used as the main secondary‐storage medium.

heat sink

A block of aluminum or other metal, with veins throughout or fins, that sits on top of a heat‐producing component, drawing its heat away.

High‐Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI)

A digital video interface standard introduced in 2002, which is commonly used by computers as well as television sets.


A type of network created by Microsoft with Windows 7 that allows for the easy sharing of resources among a group of computers.


Any computer or device on a TCP/IP network that has an IP address. In virtualization, the machine that is providing resources to the virtual machines.

hot keys

Shortcut keys on a keyboard that perform a function on the computer. Used to increase productivity.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

A protocol in the TCP/IP protocol suite that is used for communication between a web server and a web browser and is optimized for Internet content such as text, pictures, videos, and hyperlinks. It uses port 80.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

A combination of HTTP with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to create a secure connection. It uses port 443 by default.


A short‐distance wireless communications standard that uses non‐visible light waves.

ink cartridge

A reservoir of ink and a print head, in a removable package.

inkjet printers

A type of sprayed‐ink printer. Oftentimes called a bubble‐jet.


The process of running an antivirus program on a computer.

Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE)

A nickname for the original ATA standard, now known as parallel ATA (PATA) since the advent of serial ATA (SATA).

nternet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)

A protocol in the TCP/IP suite that receives email and uses port 143.

Internet service provider (ISP)

A company that provides access to the Internet.


Mobile operating system developed by Apple, and used in iPhones and iPads.

IP address

A numerical designation that uniquely identifies a device on a network.


The Apple app store where you find apps, games, movies, and music.


The most common computer input device for entering text with buttons labeled with the characters they represent.


A game controller consisting of a central component with anywhere from a four‐ direction to a 360° movement capability and one or more buttons.


Malware that records all keystrokes and sends the information to a file or a remote user.

L1 cache

Cache memory that is smallest and the fastest, and closest to the processor core that it’s dedicated to.

L2 cache

Cache memory that is larger and slower than L1 cache, and not as close to the processor. It’s usually, but not always, dedicated to one processor core.

L3 cache

The largest and slowest cache memory bank, which is often shared between multiple cores within a processor.


The amount of delay between sending a network data request and receiving a response.

legacy browsers

Internet browsers that are not the most up‐to‐date version.

license agreement

The right to use the application in a limited way as prescribed by the manufacturer of the software.

light emitting diode (LED) monitor

An LCD monitor that uses light emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of fluorescent bulbs as a backlight.


An open‐source operating system kernel developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991.

liquid cooling

A cooling method used to keep CPUs and other hot‐running components from overheating by pumping a liquid from outside the system through tubing that leads to blocks that mount to the components like heat sinks.

liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor

A video display unit that uses a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel to form the pixels corresponding to the image to be displayed.

local area networks (LANs)

Groups of computers and associated peripherals connected by a communications channel and capable of sharing files and other resources among several users.

localization setting

Configuration setting that specifies where in the world the computer operates.


A broad term used for many attacks on computer systems, such as viruses, exploits, and worms.


A small, temporary storage space used by the computer to hold data that needs to be quickly accessed.

memory card

A small portable storage device made of nonvolatile solid‐state memory; commonly used in digital cameras and mobile gaming devices.

metropolitan area network (MAN)

A network that is defined by its geographical nature, such as spanning a metropolitan area or a college campus.

mobile hotspot

A network card that allows laptop computers and other mobile devices to access cellular networks.

mobile media players

A computer peripheral designed to be both mobile and play television or movies. Some have their own memory to store data while others are for streaming only.


A device used to provide Internet access through the analog phone line. At the source it takes a digital signal and converts (modulates) it to analog and then from analog back to digital (demodulates) at the destination device.


A circuit board to which all computer components are directly or indirectly attached.


A common input device that uses one of various tracking mechanisms to detect its movement over a surface by the user’s hand.

multifactor authentication

Requiring multiple pieces of information for a user to log in. Generally speaking, in addition to a username, multifactor authentication requires users to provide two or more pieces of information out of these three categories: something the user knows, something the user has, or something the user is.

multifunctional printer

A printer that has additional capabilities built in, such as scanning or faxing.

near field communication (NFC)

A short‐range communication technology that lets users hold their phone next to someone else’s and transfer data or bump their phone to a receiver at a store to pay for a purchase.


A small laptop computer, often with a slower processor, less memory, and less hard disk space than a traditional laptop.

Network Address Translation (NAT)

A service that translates private, nonroutable IP addresses into public addresses that can be used on the Internet.

network attached storage (NAS)

Storage, such as hard drives, attached directly to a network for the purpose of storing data for clients on the network like a file server.

network interface card

In networking, the PC expansion board that plugs into a personal computer or server and works with the network operating system to control the flow of information over the network. The network interface card is connected to the network cabling (twisted‐pair, coaxial, or fiber‐optic cable), which in turn connects to another network card or central connectivity device.


A group of 8 bits.

open source

A name given to the type of computer code that is shared freely and can be modified by any user.

operating system

Software designed to provide an interface between the computer hardware and the user, coordinate hardware components, provide an environment for software to run, display file and directory structure, and monitor system health.


Operating system developed by Apple and used on Macintosh computers.

Parallel ATA (PATA)

he new name for the IDE hard drive standard, since the invention of Serial ATA (SATA).

parallel port

A legacy port and cable‐connector pairing based on a DB25 interface most commonly used for attaching a printer to a computer.


Logical division of hard drive space.

password cracking

Attempts made to guess passwords in an effort to gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

PCI Express (PCIe)

A high‐performance serial local‐bus slot architecture that obviates the need for AGP and PCI slots. PCIe support combining the resources of multiple adapters for higher performance.

peer‐to‐peer (P2P) sharing

Sharing of resources between client computers, as opposed to accessing resources from a server.

Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI)

A popular expansion slot architecture invented by Intel that succeeded the ISA slot and that is succeeded by PCIe.


Also known as security settings, they define what actions a user can perform on a file or folder.

personal area network (PAN)

A small‐scale network of Bluetooth‐enabled devices.

personally identifiable information (PII)

Anything that can be used to identify an individual person on its own or in context with other information.


A form of redirection in which traffic intended for one host is sent to another.


A form of social engineering in which you simply ask someone for a piece of information you are missing by making it look as if it is a legitimate request. Commonly sent via email. Any electronic activity designed to defraud someone.


A Bluetooth network. A Bluetooth‐enabled device can communicate with up to seven other devices in one piconet.

plain old telephone service (POTS)

Standard telephone service, as opposed to other connection technologies like Digital Subscriber Line (DSL).


A display technology that employs red, green, and blue cells containing clouds of charged particles that emit light as they stabilize.


A piece of software that gives a web browser additional functionality.


An extra, usually small browser window that appears automatically when users display a certain web page or click a certain button on a page.

POST card

A circuit board you insert into an open slot in the motherboard that displays a two‐digit numeric code on its LED to tell you where the system is in the booting process.

Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3)

A protocol in the TCP/IP suite that receives email and uses port 110.

power button

In today’s computers, a physical switch that can be configured to perform multiple functions, such as power the computer on/off and put it into sleep mode, based on the length of time it is held.

power plan

Tells the computer to shut down or to go into one of the power‐saving modes from the previous section after a specified period of inactivity.

power strips

Glorified extension cords that have multiple power plugs to connect multiple devices.

power supply

The device in a computer that provides the power.

power‐on self‐test (POST)

Part of the boot process controlled by the BIOS that verifies the working condition of the hardware the BIOS knows about.


An electromechanical output device that is used to put information from the computer onto paper.

privacy screen

A cover over a monitor screen that directs light from it at a restricted angle so that anyone who isn’t viewing it straight on won’t be able to read it clearly. Also called a screen filter.

product key

A unique code that comes with purchased software that allows you to install or use the application.

productivity software

Programs that help you get your work done faster, such as spreadsheets, word processing, email, or presentation software.


An output device that uses a light source to display an image input to one of its interfaces onto a screen.


In networking and communications, the specification that defines the procedures to follow when transmitting and receiving data. Protocols define the format, timing, sequence, and error‐checking systems used.

PS/2 port

A six‐pin mini‐DIN connector named after the second generation of IBM personal computers and still occasionally seen today, trailing behind USB in popularity, for mouse and keyboard attachment.


Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks. A form of fault tolerance in all but one version that allows the loss of at least one drive without compromising data.


The only type of RAID that is not fault tolerant, RAID 0 provides striped volume sets on two or more drives that allow for larger volumes than one drive alone can provide. When one or more drives are lost, all data is compromised.


A fault‐tolerant type of RAID that provides mirroring and duplexing. Two and only two drives exist in a mirrored set. The loss of either drive does not compromise data.


A fault‐tolerant type of RAID that combines striped sets with distributed parity across all drives in the set. A minimum of three drives is required, and the loss of any one drive does not compromise data.

random access memory (RAM)

A temporary storage area used by the computer to quickly access data. Data in RAM is lost when the computer loses power.


Malware that attempts to get the infected user to pay money to have the malware removed from the system.

read‐only memory (ROM)

Memory in the computer that can only be read but not written to.


Physically turning the computer off and then turning it back on.


Providing your name and contact information to the software manufacturer.


Opening the case and pressing down on each socketed chip, or disconnecting and reconnecting the chip or cable.


The number of rows and columns that a display unit is capable of representing.

restore point

A backup copy of the important system configuration files created once a day (by default) by the System Restore utility.

Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)

Directive that restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic equipment. These six substances are lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ether.


A connector type for twisted‐pair cabling. Telephone cabling uses an RJ‐11 connector.


A connector type for twisted‐pair cabling. Network cabling uses an RJ‐45 connector.


Software programs that have the ability to obtain root‐level access and hide certain things from the operating system.

Safe Mode

A low‐functionality troubleshooting mode that bypasses all optional components, both hardware and software, loading only the minimum required to display the Desktop.

satellite internet

A type of Internet connection that uses a satellite dish to receive data from a satellite and a relay station that is connected to the Internet.


A network of two or more piconets.

screen captures

Images of the screen, taken to share with other people such as tech support.

screen resolution

Setting that determines how many horizontal dots and vertical dots make up the rows and columns of your display.

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

A secure version of a file transfer protocol that utilizes SSH and runs on port 22.

secure website

Websites that use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt transmissions between the server and the client. They start with HTTPS://.

Serial ATA (SATA)

The latest version of the standard that specifies IDE (PATA) but that uses only a single serial pathway for communication instead of multiple parallel pathways as PATA uses.

serial port

A computer interface that transmits one bit at a time, also known as an RS‐232 connector.

service pack

A collection of updates to an operating system or application that brings it to a certain update level.

Service Set Identifier (SSID)

The unique name of a wireless network that differentiates it from other wireless networks that are also in range of a wireless client.


The command interface of an operating system.


A small file used as a pointer to the target file’s real location.

shoulder surfing

Watching someone when they enter their username, password, or other sensitive data.


A trait or characteristic of a virus used to identify the virus.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

A protocol in the TCP/IP suite designed to send email that uses port 25.

single sign‐on (SSO)

An authentication system that gives users access to all the applications and systems they need when they log on.

small outline DIMM (SODIMM)

A small form factor memory module based on DIMM principles and designed for the mobile computing sector.


A mobile telephone device closely resembling a small computer, usually with a touchscreen and Internet access.

social engineering

An attack in which people are deceived or manipulated into revealing information the attacker can use to access data they shouldn’t access.

software platforms

Environments in which software applications operate, such as Windows or Mac OS X. Can also refer to applications that run on a desktop, mobile device, or on the Internet.

solid‐state drive (SSD)

A newer‐style drive that has no moving parts but uses flash memory to emulate a conventional hard disk drive.

sound card

An adapter or component that provides audio output from a device.


Unwanted junk email or unsolicited email.


Creating a website that masquerades as a legitimate secure site but actually steals users’ information.


Software that records your computer usage. A keylogger is one example.

static memory

Memory that does not change, nor is it lost when the computer loses power (as opposed to dynamic memory, which is lost when the computer loses power).

STOP error

Also called a Blue Screen of Death, it’s an error generated by Windows when a fatal system error occurs. It features a blue screen with the word STOP followed by an error message that can help in troubleshooting.

strong password

A password that is difficult for someone to guess; usually is long, varied, and unusual.


A small plastic or metal pointing device, resembling a writing pen, used with some touchscreen computer monitors.

subnet mask

The value used to determine the subnet upon which a host resides.

surge protectors

Surge protectors attempt to keep power surges at bay. They often look like power strips, but they have a fuse inside them that is designed to blow if it receives too much current and not transfer the current to the devices plugged into it. Surge protectors may have plug‐ins for RJ‐11 (phone), RJ‐45 (Ethernet), and BNC (coaxial cable) connectors.


A video interface technology that uses a mini‐DIN connector to provide composite or component‐quality video.

System Configuration utility

Also known by its executable filename of MSCONFIG, it’s a utility that allows Windows users to selectively disable certain applications and services that automatically load at startup.

system image

A backup of all files on a hard drive, including user data and operating system files, that can be used to restore the entire system in the case of failure.


A term associated with video teleconferencing. The goal of telepresence is to make it feel like people in different offices are actually sitting in the same office and communicating.

Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP)

Wireless security standard that generates a dynamic, 128‐bit per‐packet security key

thermal printer

A printer that uses heat and special heat‐sensitive paper to produce images; common among fax machines.


A high‐speed digital computer interface developed by Apple for video, external storage, and other devices.


A black, carbon substance mixed with polyester resins and iron oxide, used by laser printers as opposed to ink.


A pointing device commonly built in to laptop computers that allows you to use your finger to move the cursor on the screen and click, like you would use a mouse.


A type of display unit that uses capacitive or resistive touch as an input mechanism without requiring separate input methods.


An exposed ball that functions much like an inverted mouse.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite

A set of computer‐to‐computer communications protocols that encompasses media access, packet transport, session communications, file transfer, email, and terminal emulation. TCP/IP is supported by a very large number of hardware and software vendors and is available on many different computers from PCs to mainframes.

Trojan horse

A rogue application that appears to do something useful but also does something malicious.

uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

A UPS is designed to protect everything that’s plugged into it from power surges, power sags, and even power outages. The device contains one or more batteries and fuses. Energy is stored in the batteries, and if the power fails, the batteries can power the computer for a period of time so the administrator can safely power it down.

Universal Serial Bus (USB)

A high‐speed, hot‐pluggable serial interface used for connecting external peripherals to a PC.

unshielded twisted pair (UTP)

Networking cable that has four twisted pairs of copper wire and a flexible outer coating.

user account

The security mechanism that allows people to log into a computer with a unique username and password.

utility software

Programs that provide useful features to supplement your operating system, such as anti‐malware protection, diagnostic and maintenance, or file compression.

video card

An adapter or component that provides the GPU, its memory, and an interface to connect to an output device, usually a video display unit, which includes monitors and projectors.

video graphics array (VGA) connector

An analog video connector that was the first standardized video connector in the computer industry


Running multiple logical (or virtual) servers on one physical server.


Malware that attaches itself to an executable file and modifies what happens when the file runs.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Technology that allows audio calls or video teleconferencing to be transmitted over network cables.


A flaw in the programming of an application that creates the potential for misuse; plus a tool or technique that allows an attacker to exploit that vulnerability.

weak password

A password that is easy for someone to guess.


A video‐only camera that connects to a computer so that the video it captures can be sent across the Internet in real time or recorded by software.

wide area networks (WANs)

Networks that cross local, regional, and/or international boundaries.

Wi‐Fi Protected Access (WPA)

An enhancement of 802.11 encryption that secures Wi‐Fi communications. The current standard is WPA2.

Wi‐Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2)

The strongest wireless encryption method currently available for 802.11 networks.


Operating system family developed by Microsoft.

Windows Phone

The mobile operating system family developed by Microsoft.

Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE)

Troubleshooting utility that comes with Windows Vista and newer, which allows a user to boot to the Windows installation CD and repair a corrupted Windows installation.

Windows Update

A Windows utility that provides for automatic updates of the Windows operating system.

Wired Equivalency Protocol (WEP)

An old security protocol for 802.11 (wireless) networks that attempts to establish the same security as would be present in a wired network. It has security flaws and is easily compromised.


A collection of peer‐to‐peer computers with no dedicated server or centralized security.


A computer that users use to access resources, most often a client computer on a network. Usually a desktop or laptop computer.


A self‐transporting malware application that carries an active payload, such as a Trojan horse or a virus.

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