An A-Z guide to the technical terms used in digital security


A grouping of computer systems or resources (e.g., servers) that are connected in order to facilitate communications. Each individual unit on a network is referred to as a 'node'.

Networks can be classified based on the type and abilities of the technology used to connect the nodes, the security level of the network and its reach. The most well-known network is the Internet, but various other network types exist, including:

  • Local Area Network (LAN): Commonly used by organizations and home users to connect a small group of computers or resources for a defined group of private users, e.g., company employees or family members. Security is generally an issue with LANs, as the data stored on resources on these networks can have personal or commercial value.
  • Wi-Fi: Typically used to cover a geographical area, Wi-Fi is a type of wireless network that provides users with access to a LAN or the Internet. The users are generally public, though some Wi-Fi networks are intended for private use. Depending on whether the Wi-Fi network is intended for public or private use, security may or may not be an issue.

Non-memory resident

A virus that independently searches for and infects new targets on a computer system, rather than installing itself into memory and infecting executable files launched by the user, is said to be 'non-memory resident'.

A non-memory resident virus typically uses a finder routine to locate new targets for infection, and a separate infection routine to do so. This type of virus is only able to replicate itself as long as its host program is running; if the host program is rarely or never executed, the virus may only replicate slowly, or not at all.

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