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Initially a term used to refer to self-taught computer enthusiasts who displayed a high degree of skill and knowledge. Often, these enthusiasts used their skills to discover weaknesses in programs and to suggest improvements to programs. The term has acquired a pejorative meaning as the media has adopted it to refer to people who use their skills to enter computer systems for malicious or criminal purposes. Hackers, themselves, maintain that the proper term for such individuals is cracker.

The physical components that make up a computer or system, such as disks, disk drives, monitors, keyboards, printers, boards, and chips.

Hoax virus
A false virus warning. Hoax viruses can be troublesome because they can tie up e-mail systems, they can diminish the credibility of organizations associated with them and they can undermine the confidence of computer and Internet users. Often a hoax warning is characterized by a message urging the recipient to forward the warning on to all his or her friends, families, colleagues, etc. No legitimate virus warning will include such directions.

Another name for a vulnerability or a weakness in a system that may allow unauthorized entrance or intrusion into the system.

A computer on a network. Also used to denote a computer that provides server functionality.

Abbreviation for HyperText Markup Language, the formatting language used to create Web pages.

HyperText Transfer Protocol. The protocol used by the World Wide Web to exchange hypertext documents between a web server and a web client.


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