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

Operating System (OS)

The main program responsible for organizing and managing the interactions between the hardware resources of a device and the software installed on it so that a user can effectively perform various tasks.

There are a handful of operating systems (OS) available for most users for various device types - Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android etc - with each offering unique advantages and disadvantages.

Understandably, since operating systems are so vital for a device's proper functioning, they are the main target of many types of attacks. An attack on an OS will typically subvert a legitimate operating process - such as opening a file or running a program - and 'hijack' it for the attacker's own purposes. Types of malware that do so include trojans, viruses, rootkits, backdoors and so on.

On-Access Scanner

The background process used by an antivirus program to examine other running processes for malicious behavior.

On-Demand Scanner

The component of an antivirus program that a user must manually launch in order to scan files on the device.


OSX is the platform designator used by F-Secure to identify malware designed to run on Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

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What is malware?

A term commonly used in digital security to refer to 'malicious software'

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