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Baffled by browsers? Vexed by viruses? Our glossary of online terms explains what they mean.


Helps protect your computer against pop-ups, slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other unwanted software.


Software that detects and prevents known viruses from attacking your computer.

Apps (applications)

A type of software programme that you can download for your computer, tablet or phone. There are hundreds of different apps available, some for free, which do lots of different things.


Computer software which can be used to search for and view information on the internet. Examples include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari (for Apple products).


Firewalls prevent unauthorised access to your computer over the internet.


Is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software. Malware is short for malicious software.

Operating system

The software that manages different programs on a computer.


An attempt at identity theft in which criminals lead users to a counterfeit website to trick them into disclosing private information, such as usernames or passwords.


A device that connects one or more computers to a broadband-enabled telephone line.


A mobile phone which, as well as making calls and sending texts, can be used to browse the internet, write email, and do a number of other functions like a computer.

Social networking website

An online community where you can connect with people who share your interests.


Unsolicited commercial email. Also known as junk mail.


An unwanted program that runs on your computer, which can make your computer slow and unreliable, or even make you a target for online criminals.


Handheld device with a touchscreen which can be used as a portable computer.


Programs that spread from one computer to another by email or through malicious websites. They can slow your computer down, display unwanted pop-up messages and even delete files.

Wireless network

A way for your computer to connect to the internet without using wires/cables.

Further information

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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