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Spring 2012

Proprietary Software

software that is sold by a company and is sold for a profit, and without a source code (Ex: Microsoft Office)

Open Source Software

is freely distributed (no royalties accrue to the creators), contains the source code, and can be distributed to others.

Why download Linux when you already have Windows? (4 points)

o Windows has 90 percent of the market share of operating systems
o Hackers can infect more computers through Microsoft Windows
o Linux along with other Open Source Software are extremely portable, you are able to store it on a jump drive, and can transfer your operating system wherever you go
o Linux and other Open Source operating systems take up less space


Main Linux Operating System

Mac OS Snow Leopard

the latest Apple operating system

Solid State Drives

expensive but fast; can boot a system up in less than 10 seconds

Moore's Law

A prediction, named after Gordon Moore, the cofounder of Intel; states that the number of transistors on a CPU chip will double every two years

DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory)

the most common form of memory found in personal computers increases by about 60% every year

External SATA (SATA)

A fast transfer port that allows your computer to connect peripherals such as external hard drives to add more storage

Express Card

are cards that are inserted into the Express Card Slot, which allow your computer to add extra capabilities such as; a card that allows you to read flash memory (It helps make your computer not become obsolete)

System Evaluation

The process of looking at a computer's subsystems, what they do, and how they perform to determine whether the computer system has the right hardware components to do what the user ultimately wants it to do

the two units of CPU

Control Unit and Arithmetic Log Unit

Control Unit

coordinates all the other activities of all the other computer components

Arithmetic Log Unit

responsible for all the arithmetic calculations


A complete processing section from a CPU, embedded into one physical chip


a technology that permits quicker processing of information by enabling a new set of instructions to start executing before the previous set has finished (Multiple Cores)

Cache Memory

Small blocks of memory, located directly on and next to the central processing unit (CPU) chip, that act as holding places for recently or frequently used instructions or data that the CPU accesses the most. Its faster than the CPU going to the RAM.

Level 1 of cache memory

built on the chip for storage of data or commands that have just been used

Level 2 of cache memory

located on the CPU chip, but placed slightly away from the CPU, or it is on a chip close to the CPU; longer to access

Level 3 of cache memory

further away from the CPU, but larger in size

Front Side Bus (FSB)

connects the processor (CPU) in your computer to the system memory (highway between your CPU and RAM)


A measurement used in comparing software and hardware performance. Benchmarks are created using software applications that are specifically designed to push the limits of computer performance

CPU Usage

The percentage of time a central processing unit (CPU) is working

Random Access Memory

is your computer's temporary storage space

Double Data Rate 2 (DDR2)

standard RAM used in systems

Double Data Rate 3 (DDR3)

used in high performance systems

Legacy Technology RAM


Volatile Storage

Temporary storage (RAM). When the power is off, so is the data unsaved

Why have volatile memory?

It is about one million times faster for the computer to retrieve information from RAM than it is from the hard drive

Nonvolatile Storage

Permanent storage (Hard Drive or ROM)

Memory Modules or Memory Cards

A small circuit board that holds a series of random access memory (RAM) chips

Dual Inline Memory Modules (DIMM)

most memory modules in today's systems

Physical Memory

The amount of RAM that is installed in a computer


Windows monitors the applications you use the most and preloads them into the RAM (it allows that particular program to run faster)

Hard Drive

A device that holds all permanent stored programs and data
Hard Drives are the LARGEST NONVOLAILE storage systems

Access Time

The time it takes a storage device to locate its stored data

Solid State Drive (SSD)

A drive that uses the same kind of memory that flash drives use, but can reach data in only a tenth of the time a flash drive requires (No spinning platters which lowers the heat and power usage)

Data Transfer Rate

The maximum speed at which data can be transmitted between two nodes on a network; usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps)

Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (Serial ATA)

A type of hard drive that uses much thinner cables, and can transfer data more quickly, than IDE drives

Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) technology

allows you to combine the two hard drives


every time something is written to a hard drive, it is actually spread across two physical drives


all the data written to one device is 'perfectly mirrored' and written to the second drive

Blu-Ray Disc (BD)

A method of optical storage for digital data, developed for storing high definition media. It has the largest storage capacity of all optical storage options.


DVD format in which data can be read and not written (Has a movie already on the disc)


One of two recognized DVD formats that enable you to read, record (R), and rewrite (RW) data on the disc


One of two recognized DVD formats that enables you to both read, record (R), and rewrite (RW) data on the disc


One of three competing technologies for rewritable DVDs


A concentric circle that serves as a storage area on a hard drive platter


A section of a hard drive platter, wedge-shaped from the center of the platter to the edge

Read/Write Head

The mechanism that retrieves (reads) and records (writes) the magnetic data to and from a data disk. They move from the outer edge of the spinning platter to the center, up to 50 timers per second

Seek Time

The time it takes for the hard drive's read/write heads to move over the surface of the disk, between tracks, to the correct track


waiting time or rational delay

Head Crash

Impact of read/write head against magnetic platter of the hard drive; often results in data loss (can be caused by something getting in the way of the hard drive platter and the rewrite head

Video Card (Video Adapter)

An expansion card that is installed inside a system unit to translate binary data (the 1s and 0s the computer uses) into the images viewed on the monitor

Video Memory

RAM that is included as part of a video card

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

A specialized logic chip that is detected to quickly displaying and calculating visual data such as shadows, textures, and luminosity (a replacement chip for the CPU when video is displayed)

Bit Depth

The number of bits a video card uses to store data about each pixel on the monitor

3D Sound Card

An expansion card that enables a computer to produce sounds that are omnidirectional or three dimensional (not surround sound)

Surround Sound

A type of audio processing that makes the listener experience sound as if it were coming from all areas

System unit

The metal or plastic case that holds all the physical parts of the computer together, including the computer's processor (its brain), its memory, and the many circuit boards that help the computer function

Binary Language

The language computers use to process data into information, consisting of only the values 0 and 1

Electrical Switches

are devices inside the computer that can be flipped between these two states: 1 and 0, signifying "off" and "on

Vacuum Tubes

The earliest generation of computers used vacuum tubes as switches (Used in the ENIAC, the first high speed digital computer). They would either allow information to flow or block it to signify off and on. The disadvantage of vacuum tubes were that they took up a lot of space, and that they quickly burned out.


are electrical switches that are built out of layers of special type of material called semiconductors


any material that can be controlled to either conduct electricity or act as an insulator (Silicon is the semiconductor used for transistors)

Integrated Circuits (or chips)

are the tiny region of semiconductor material such as silicon that support a huge number of transistors


the chips that contain the CPU

Number System

is an organized plan for representing a number

Base 10 System (or Decimal Notation)

the notation that is used everyday (it uses 10 digits→ 0-9 including 0→ Example: 5,123 (5 thousand, 1 hundred, 2 tens, and 3 sets of ones

Binary Number System (or Base2Number System)

The number system computers use (0 and 1)

Hexadecimal Notation

The notation based on the idea of 16 digits, contains 0-9 and six alphabetical numbers, used by programmers

American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII)

The newest type of encoding binary digitis


is a encoding scheme that uses 16 bits instead of 8 which means it can encode more symbols, numbers, and letters than the ASCII
(IEEE) or Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers created a method to work with decimals and positive/negative signs it is called the FLOATING POINT METHOD


a 0 or 1


8 binary bits

Machine Cycle

the ways a CPU processes information: Fetch, Decode, Execute, and Store


The CPU must go into the RAM and "fetch" the binary code and bring it to the CPU


The CPU decodes the binary code and is ready to process the command


The CPU performs the command


The result is stored in one of the registers, then the CPU is able to fetch new information


special memory storage areas built into the CPU, which are the fastest and most expensive in your computer

System Clock

this internal clock is actually a special crystal that acts like a metronome, keeping a steady beat and thereby controlling when the CPU will move to the next stage of processing

Clock Cycle

these steady beats or "ticks" of the system clocks

Clock Speed

The steady and constant pace at which a computer goes through machine cycles, measured in Hz (Hertz)

Control Limit

manages the switches inside the CPU

Instruction Set

The collection of commands the CPU can execute

Assembly Language

Humans who write the initial instructions write the commands in a language they can understand

Machine Language

The long strands of 0 and 1s are used to perform operations

Word Size

The number of bits a computer can work with at a time (64 bits can process more than 32 bits)


a technique that allows the CPU to work on more than one instruction (or stage of processing) at a time

Parallel Processing

large network of computers working on a portion of the same problem simultaneously


Any criminal action perpetrated primarily through the use of a computer


An individual who uses computers, networks, and the Internet to perpetrate crime


A computer program that attaches itself to another computer program (known as the host program) and attempts to spread itself to other computers when files are exchanged

Boot-Sector Virus

replicates itself onto the hard drive's master boot record

Master Boot Record

A small program that runs whenever a computer boots up

Logic Bomb

computer virus that runs when certain set of conditions is met, such as when specific dates are keyed off the computer's internal clock

Time Bomb

is a virus that is triggered by the passage of time or on a certain date


A program that attempts to travel between systems through network connections to spread information. Worms can run independently of host file execution and are active in spreading themselves

Difference between worm and virus

worm travels through systems through the network, while a virus sits on a computer and needs action for it to be moved to another computer

Antivirus Software

Software that is specifically designed to detect viruses and protect a computer and files from harm


A list of commands (mini-programs or macros) that can be executed on a computer without user interaction, a link to visit a website and then you click on the link and the script downloads a virus

Macro Virus

A virus that is distributed by hiding inside a macro, a virus that attaches itself to a document (word, powerpoint, excel)

E-mail Virus

A virus transmitted by E-mail that often uses the address book in the victim's e-mail system to distribute itself

Encryption Virus

A malicious program that searches for common data files and compresses them into a file using a complex encryption key, thereby rendering the files unusable

Polymorphic Virus

A virus that changes its virus signature (the binary pattern that makes the virus identifiable) every time it infects a new file. This makes it more difficult for antivirus programs to detect the virus

Multipartite Virus

Literally meaning "multipart" virus; a type of computer virus that attempts to infect both the boot sector and the executable files at the same time

Stealth Virus

A virus that temporarily erases its code from the files where it resides and hides in the active memory of the computer

Virus Signature

A portion of the virus code that is unique to a particular computer virus and makes it identifiable by antivirus software


The placement (by antivirus software) of a computer virus in a secure area on the hard drive so that it won't spread infection to other files


A process used by antivirus software; compares old and current qualities of files to detect viral activity

Drive-by download

The use of malicious software to attack your computer by downloading harmful programs onto your computer, without your knowledge; while you are surfing the web


Anyone who unlawfully breaks into a computer system (whether an individual computer or a network)

White-Hat Hacker

A hacker who breaks into systems just for the challenge of it (and who doesn't wish to steal or wreck havoc on the systems). Such hackers tout themselves as experts who are performing a needed service for society by helping companies realize the vulnerabilities that exist in their systems

Black-Hat Hacker

A hacker who uses his knowledge to destroy information for illegal gain

Script Kiddies

An amateur hacker who lacks sophisticated computer skills. These individuals are typically teenagers, who don't create programs used to hack into computer systems but instead use tools created by skilled hackers that enable unskilled novices to wreak the same havoc as professional hackers


a small segment of data that is bundled for sending over transmission media. Each packet contains the address of the computer to which it is being sent

Packet Sniffer

A program that looks at (sniffs) each data packet as it travels on the Internet (allows hackers to rewind all the user's keystrokes and this allows them to get sensitive data)

Ways to prevent packet sniffing

install a firewall and use data encryption on your wireless network

Identity Theft

The process by which someone uses personal information about someone else to assume the victim's identity for the purpose of defrauding other

Trojan Horse

A computer program that appears to be something useful or desirable, but at the same time does something malicious in the background without the user's knowledge

Backdoor Program

A program that enables a hacker to take complete control of a computer without the legitimate user's knowledge or permission


A computer that is controlled by a hacker who uses it to launch attacks on other computer systems

Denial of Service (DoS) attack

An attack that occurs when legitimate users are denied access to a computer system because a hacker is repeatedly making requests of that computer that tie up its resources and deny legitimate users access

Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) Attack

An attack that occurs when legitimate users are denied access to a computer system because a hacker is repeatedly making requests of that computer system that tie up its resources and deny legitimate users access.


A large group of software applications (called robots or bots) that runs without user intervention on a large number of computers

Logical Port

A virtual communications gateway or path that enables a computer to organize requests for information (such as Web page downloads) from other networks or computers

Personal Firewall

A firewall specifically designed for home networks

Packet Filtering

a feature found in firewalls that filters out unwanted data packets sent to specific logical ports

Logical Port Blocking

A condition in which a firewall is configured to ignore all incoming packet s that request access to a certain port so that no unwanted requests will get through to the computer

Internet Protocol Address (IP Address)

The means by which all computers connected to the Internet identify each other. It consists of a unique set of four numbers separated by dots

Dynamic Address

The process of assigning Internet Protocol addresses when users log on using their internet service provider

Static Address

A means of assigning an Internet Protocol address that never changes and is most likely assigned manually by a network administrator

Network Address Translation (NAT)

A process that firewalls use to assign internal Internet Protocol addresses on a network


allows a hacker to access a Bluetooth device and steal information from it (relatively cheap and easy)


taking control of a Bluetooth device (all aspects of it... it is rather difficult and expensive to pull off)

Biometric Authentication Device

A device that uses some unique characteristic of human biology to identify authorized users. (having a computer that will unlock by fingerprint on the keyboard)


Software that is intended to render a system temporarily or permanently useless or to penetrate a computer system completely for purposes of information gathering. Examples include spyware, viruses, worms, and Trojan horses

3 types of malware

Adware, Spyware, and Viruses


A program that downloads on your computer when you install, a freeware program, game, or utility


An unwanted piggyback program that downloads with the software you want to install from the internet and then runs in the background of your system


Doing anything with a computer that is unrelated to a job (such as playing video games), while one is supposed to be working


Unwanted or junk E-mail

Spam Filter

An option you can select in your E-mail account that places known or suspected spam messages into a folder other than your Inbox


A small text file that some Web sites automatically store on a client computer's hard drive when a user visits the site (similar to data mining, cookies provide websites with information about what you looked at and how long)

Program File

A file that is used in the running of software programs and does not store data


is a copy of computer files that you can use to replace the originals if they are lost or damaged

Data File

File that contains stored data

Incremental Backup (or partial backup)

A type of backup that only backs up files that have changed since the last time those files were backed up

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