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Glossary of IT Terms

Information Security

Glossary A


This glossary contains industry standard and City specific IT terminology. The glossary should be consulted when policy, issue papers, etc. are drafted to ensure consistent use of terms across the City.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Web Site
White Hat / Black Hat Hackers
Wide Area Network
WINTEL
Wired Equilvalent Privacy (WEP)
Wireless - 802.11x
Wireless Access Point (WAP)
Wireless Application Protocol
Workstation
Worm
WWW

Web Site
An organization's Web site is now as common as a Business Card but, unlike business cards, Web sites can offer anything from a simple 'electronic brochure', to an engaging experience of a product or service 'on line'. In just a few years, web sites have grown from being static and 'flat' pages, to those with animated 3-D graphics and sound and many pages are able to be built dynamically depending upon selections made. The Web; it's what most people mean by 'the Internet'.


White Hat / Black Hat Hackers
Cyber terms. White Hat hackers are hackers who perform hacking for legitimate reasons; e.g. IT Security technicians testing their systems and researchers testing the limits of systems. On the other hand, Black Hat hackers are those who perform clandestine hacking for malicious reasons; such persons can also be referred to as 'crackers'. Grey Hat Hackers are those who seems to fall between both camps and Red Hat Linux is a real problem to classify!


Wide Area Network
A communications network that extends beyond the organization's immediate premises.


WINTEL
WINTEL is the short form of Windows Intel meaning an Intel processor based PC running a version of Microsoft Windows e.g. 3.1, 95,98, NT or 2000. All these are forms of WINTEL PC. Of course, there are other microprocessor (chip ) manufacturers who are making significant in roads into Intel's domination of the PC chip market. Hence the demise of the term WINTEL!


Wired Equilvalent Privacy (WEP)
An 802.11 security protocol for wireless networks. The WEP encryption method was designed to provide wireless networks with the "equivalent" security available in wireline networks; however, WEP was more easily compromised than had been expected.


Wireless - 802.11x
A family of IEEE standards for wireless LANs first introduced in 1997. The first standard was 802.11b, which specifies from 1 to 11 Mbps in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band using direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) technology.

An 802.11 system works in two modes. In "infrastructure mode," wireless devices communicate to a wired LAN via access points. Each access point and its wireless devices are known as a Basic Service Set (BSS). An Extended Service Set (ESS) is two or more BSSs in the same subnet.

In "ad hoc mode," also known as "peer-to-peer mode," wireless devices can communicate with each other directly and do not use an access point. This is an Independent BSS (IBSS).

The speed of 802.11 systems is distance dependent. The farther away the remote device from the base station, the lower the speed.


Wireless Access Point (WAP)
A base station in a wireless LAN. Access points are typically stand-alone devices that plug into an Ethernet hub or server. Like a cellular phone system, users can roam around with their mobile devices and be handed off from one access point to the other.


Wireless Application Protocol
A standard for providing cellular phones, pagers and other handheld devices with secure access to e-mail and text-based Web pages. Introduced in 1997 by Phone.com (now Openwave Systems), Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia, WAP provides a complete environment for wireless applications that includes a wireless counterpart of TCP/IP and a framework for telephony integration such as call control and phone book access.

WAP features the Wireless Markup Language (WML), which was derived from Phone.com's HDML and is a streamlined version of HTML for small screen displays. It also uses WMLScript, a compact JavaScript-like language that runs in limited memory. Supporting both keypad and voice recognition, WAP is independent of the air interface and runs over all major wireless networks. It is also device independent, requiring only a minimum functionality in the unit so that it can be used with a myriad of phones and handheld devices. See WAP Forum, HDML and i-Mode. See also wireless access point.


Workstation
The term workstation used to refer to extremely powerful desktop computers which were often (and still are) used by the scientific and research communities. They tend to run the UNIX operating system using powerful RISC processors with massive screens and superb graphics!  Today, however, whilst the above definition remains broadly true, workstation can also be used interchangeably with 'PC' where the computer is attached to the corporate network / LAN.


Worm
Classed as a type of virus. From 'Tapeworm' in the Science Fiction novel 'The Shockwave Rider' by John Brunner. A Worm is a program that propagates itself over a network, reproducing itself as it goes. The term has acquired negative connotations, as it is assumed that only crackers write worms.


WWW
Verbal shorthand for the World Wide Web; the resources on networks (especially the Internet) which use the HTTP protocol to transmit data between client and server.