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Glossary

Worm

A computer worm is a malicious software program that is typically transmitted via the Internet or a network. It can damage or destroy an infected personal computer or network. Worms are engineered to use email to spread quickly. A worm usually attaches itself to another program or email to gain entry. Software is available to protect against computer worms. The computer worm is a form of malware (from the words "malicious" and "software"). Other forms of malware include computer viruses, Trojan Horses, zombies and spyware.

Waveform (WAV)

Pronounced "wave," this is the Windows standard for Waveform Sound File, a file format for storing audio files on a personal computer. WAV filenames predictably end with the extension .wav.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

A security protocol for Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs -- a group of computers linked without cabling). WEP was defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in the 1990s and is designed to provide the same level of security as that of a wired Local Area Network (LAN). LANs are protected by their physical structure and their cabling, which is located in full or in part inside a building that can be secured from unauthorized access. WLANs transmit information over high-frequency radio waves, which make them more vulnerable to tampering. WEP aims to provide security by encrypting data during transmission -- that is, transmitting it in a secure code.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

WPA was designed to improve upon the security features of WEP. It works with existing Wi-Fi products that have been enabled with WEP.

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN)

A group of computers linked without cabling. WLANS transmit data via high-frequency radio waves. Because information transmitted this way is vulnerable to tampering, it can be encrypted or coded, to make it more secure by means of a system called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP).

What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)

A catchphrase from the old TV show, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," that became a desktop publishing byword. WYSIWYG (pronounced "whizzy-wig") refers to any technology that enables you to see images and text onscreen exactly as they will appear when printed out. As scalable screen and printer fonts have become more sophisticated, and as graphical user interfaces have improved their display, people have come to expect everything to be WYSIWYG. But it isn't always the case—and certainly wasn't in the 1980s, when this term was first applied.