Glossary - P

Parasiteware

Parasiteware is the term for any adware that by default overwrites certain affiliate tracking links. These tracking links are used by webmasters to sell products and to help fund websites. The controversy is centered on companies like WhenU, eBates, and Top Moxie, popular makers of adware applications. These companies release their software to assist users in getting credit for rebates, cash back shopping, or contributions to funds. To the end user, parasiteware represents little in the way of a security threat.

Parental control

Parental control refers to the monitoring of children’s Internet usage in an effort to shield them from possible psychological damage and to control the duration of certain activities such as gaming. The term is often connected with blocking adult content from view. Parental controls are features that may be included in digital television services, computer games, video games, mobile phones, and computer software. Parental controls fall into roughly four categories: content filters that limit access to age appropriate content, usage controls that constrain the usage of these devices such as placing time-limits on usage or forbidding certain types of usage, computer usage management tools that allow parents to enforce learning during the child’s computing time, and monitoring that can track the location and activity when a device is used. Several techniques exist to create parental controls for blocking websites. Add-on parental control software may monitor the API in order to observe applications such as a web browser or Internet chat and to intervene according to certain criteria, such as a match in a database of banned words. Virtually all parental control software includes a password or other form of authentication to prevent unauthorized users from disabling it. Unlike content filters, the computer usage management method is focused on empowering parents to balance the computing environment for children by regulating gaming. The main idea of these applications is to allow parents to introduce learning components into the child’s computing time; i.e., the child must earn gaming time while working through educational content.

Password

A password is a general means of user authentication (this doesn’t have to be only one person). The user is considered legitimate if he proves so by using the correct password, and the password is applicable only if it isn’t known to others. The authorized user has to keep his password secret. Passwords are most commonly used when working with a computer. The user is usually distinguished from the other users by a username (login). When you log into the system along with a username the password is entered. A username is usually public and known by others, but password to the appropriate user account name is known only the appropriate user. Passwords should be long and should consist of a "random" group of characters. Well-known phrases, permutations of simple words, birth dates, names of girlfriends, wives, children, dogs, etc. are unsuitable for a password. A dictionary attack or an informed attacker can easily detect such passwords.

PayPal®

PayPal® is an online payment system that facilitates the transfer of funds between accounts identified by email addresses.

Each PayPal® account is linked to one or more credit cards (e.g. VISA® or ECMC®). The credit cards must have Internet payments enabled. An alternative is to enter the credit card number and associated data into the appropriate field on the data screen, but the risk of fraud is greater with this method. PayPal supports multiple currencies, so buyers can use their primary currency to pay for purchases in another currency. The rate of exchange is calculated automatically according to the current exchange rate.

In order to activate a credit card for use with PayPal®, you must provide your account number and other associated data to PayPal®. PayPal® then draws down a small amount of money from your card, which is refunded as a bonus upon the first transfer of funds via PayPal®. The amount drawn down to activate the account is displayed as a four-digit code on the account statement. Users must enter this code in a designated area on the PayPal® website to activate the account.

PC Hardware

Personal Computer Hardware refers to all physically existing computer equipment, as opposed to applications and programs called software. Without the PC hardware, the computer would not be able to work. The computer hardware usually consists of electronic devices (CPU, memory, display, etc.) and electromechanical parts (keyboard, printer, floppy disks, CD-ROM drives, tape drives, speakers, etc.) for input, output and storage. One well-known definition says that computer hardware is every part of our computer we can touch with hands.

Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI)

PCI Local Bus Standard is an industry specification for interconnecting computer peripherals to a computer’s central processor (also known as the central bus or motherboard). Intel® labs began development in 1990 and PCI 1.0 was published in June 1992. Subsequent revision of PCI added new features and performance enhancements, this bus uses parallel data transfer (32 or 64 bits) and its function is message passing transfer or device communication over the central bus. Typical PCI extension cards used in a PC are Ethernet and Wi-Fi network cards, sound cards, modems, extra ports such as USB or serial, TV tuner cards and disk controllers. Historically video cards were PCI devices, but growing bandwidth requirements caused PCI to be replaced by AGP. In more current days, the PCI and AGP cards are being replaced with PCI Express, which uses a serial transmission.

Personal Computer (PC)

A personal computer is any computer whose size, features and cost make it suitable for individual users. Personal computers are generally inexpensive and designed to meet the needs of a single user. In contrast, batch processing or time-sharing models enable large, expensive mainframe systems to be used by many people, usually at the same time. Such data processing systems require a full-time staff to operate efficiently. Personal computers first appeared in the late 1970s. One of the first and most popular personal computers was the Apple® II, introduced in 1977 by Apple® Computers. However, the term "PC" has been used traditionally to describe an "IBM®-compatible" personal computer. PCs are typically used in businesses to run word processing, accounting, desktop publishing, spreadsheet and database management applications. At home, the most popular use for personal computers is to play games and surf the Internet.

Phishing

Phishing is a criminally fraudulent process of collecting sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by pretending to be a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications supposedly from well known social networks, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are common fronts to bait the unsuspecting computer user. Phishing is commonly performed by email or instant messaging, directing users to enter details at a fake website that mimicks a legitimate one. Even when using server authentication, it may not be apparent that it is a fake website. An example of social engineering techniques, phishing is used to trick users, exploiting the weaknesses of web security technologies. The rising number of phishing scams has prompted and increase of legislation, training for the user, public awareness, and technical security procedures.

Pixel

Pixel (picture element or “pel” sometimes, abbreviated as the “px”) is the smallest unit of digital raster (bitmap) graphics. It represents one luminous point on the screen, respectively one specified color point on the image. Points on the screen consist of a square array and each pixel can be uniquely identified by its coordinates. In color displays, each pixel consists of three light-emitting objects corresponding to the basic colors - red, green and blue (RGB).

When working with computers, pixel size depends on the type of monitor being used. For conventional analog types, the pixel size can be adjusted by changing the resolution. LCD screens have a number of physical pixels (the native resolution) usually fixed to the resolution so changing to a different screen resolution can lead to image deformation since "computer pixels" will be converted and unevenly redistributed to a larger number of "physical pixels".

Playlist

Generally, a playlist is simply a list of songs. These songs are usually stored as files in any digital audio format, and they can be played in a sequential or shuffled order. The term playlist has a different meaning in professional connection within the realms of radio broadcasting and personal computers. As music storage and playback using personal computers became common, the term playlist was adopted by various media player and software programs intended to organize and control music on a PC. Such playlists may be defined, stored, and selected to run either in sequence or, if a random playlist function is selected, in a random order. People often create playlists for various situations, such as exercising in a gym, romantic evenings, or dance, etc.

Portable Document Format (PDF)

The Portable Document Format or PDF is a file format developed by Adobe® Systems Incorporated to store documents independently on the software and hardware on which they were created. It is widely used and easily portable. PDF files may contain text and images and when saved in this format, it ensures that the document can be displayed on most devices correctly.

PDF is an open standard. Software applications that read and write PDF files can be created without anyone having to pay royalties to Adobe® Systems.  Although Adobe® holds patents to PDF, it licenses them for royalty-free use in developing software complying with its PDF specification.

Power Supply Unit

A Power Supply Unit (PSU) is a device used to process the AC voltage supplied from the mains (100-127V in North America, South America, Japan and Taiwan; 220-240V in the rest of the world) to the low-voltage power required by computer components. Some PSUs include the option to change the input voltage needed for computer components. ( between 230V and 115V), while others automatically adjust to any voltage within this range.

AT and ATX standards exist, however nowadays the newer standard, ATX, is used. ATX source dimensions usually are:  150 mm width, 86 mm height and 140 mm depth, although these may be slightly different depending on the manufacturer. A fan with a diameter of 80 mm, 120 mm, 150 mm or 160 mm is typically used to cool the PSU’s components. The fan blows hot air from inside the computer case to the outside environment. This is why a  high efficiency fan is used to maintain a constant temperature. However, these higher efficiency fans are often a source of unpleasant noise.

Power supplies are rated by the maximum power that they can produce. Typical power ranges for home and office computers range from 300W to 500W. Power supply units used in gaming computers have a higher power range, 500W to 800W, and resources  for servers range from 800W up to 1400W.

A good quality PSU should be a key component of your computer because it can protect the other components against for example, overvoltage from fuses.

Presentation

A presentation is the practice of showing and explaining the content of a topic to an audience, such as talking to a group, addressing a meeting or briefing a team.  Common examples are sales presentations, informational and motivational presentations, interview presentation, briefings, status reports, image-building and training sessions.

Key components of a presentation are:

  • Context or Setting – formal or informal, business or social, where it is taking place and when
  • Presenter – controls and communicates the presentation
  • Audience – size, familiarity (are they known or are they strangers), demographics
  • Message – what is the point of the presentation and how is it delivered
  • Method – how is the presentation delivered (in person, over the Internet, as a speech or with participation from the audience)

Pretexting

Pretexting is the practice of presenting onself as someone else for the purpose of acquiring sensitive information and is usually performed over the telephone. Presenting an invented scenario involves some prior research or using bits of known information such as data of birth or billing address to establish credibility with the targeted victim.

This method is often used in business to disclose customer information. Private investigators use this technique to acquire telephone, utility and bank records, and other information. This gives the investigator factual basis to establish legitimacy with managers of the business for even tougher questioning.

Many U.S. companies continue to use client verification by asking questions whose answers are supposedly known only by the client such as a Social Security Number or mother's maiden name, thus perpetuating this security problem even more.

Pretexting is also used to impersonate any individual who could be perceived by the targeted victim as have authority or right to know. The pretexter prepares answers that could potentially be asked by the targeted victim and must sound convincing to achieve his goal.

Printer

The computer printer is an output device or peripheral that transfers electronic or digital information such as text and graphic illustrations onto paper, the process is called “printing”. The printer can be physically connected to the computer by cable using a printing port (LPT, USB, etc.). Alternatively, the printer can be connected to the network for networked workstations use, in this case we call the device a network printer.  Individual printers are often designed to support both local and network connected users at the same time. In addition, some printers can directly connect to electronic media such as memory cards, or digital cameras. A multifunction printer can act as a scanner, fax machine, or printers can further be defined as black and white or color, or by their printing technologies:

  • Laser printers
  • Inkjet printers
  • Solid ink printers
  • Thermal printers
  • Impact printers
  • Dot-matrix printers
  • Line printers

Product key

Many commercial software programs require a product key, activation key or CD-key to be entered during the setup procedure, to verify that the user has paid for the right to use the software and to limit software piracy. The product key is usually a numeric and/or alphabetical code that is unique to both the software and the specific user, and sometimes includes some form of identification for the computer on which it is installed. The product key can be thought of as a digital purchase receipt for the current software that is provided by the seller or producer of the application. Product keys can be distributed as a printed label affixed to the digital distribution medium (CD, DVD, etc.) or as a digital document or information connected to the downloading of the software from the Internet.


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