- The Washington Times - Monday, December 27, 2004

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Phreaks, spoofers and spammers want to invade your home computer, and the tricks of their trade include airsnarfs, wabbits and fork bombs.

Few consumers know hacker lingo. Even if they did, the most vigilant specialist can’t make a computer 100 percent safe from attacks. But technology executives say they are undertaking unprecedented educational campaigns to teach consumers about emerging threats on cyberspace.

Most major computer brands, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, publish holiday guidelines for employees so they can help consumers protect their machines.

IBM’s security gurus also update a dictionary that describes various “cyber-villains” and other dangers in nontechnical terms.

Here are some entries from Big Blue’s Version 1.0 Online Security Dictionary, an employee reference guide that is published only on IBM’s internal Web site:

• Airsnarf (noun): A rogue wireless device added to a network that steals usernames and passwords from people using public wireless hotspots.

• Backdoor (noun): A way to bypass authentication and obtain remote access to a computer. A spammer might install a backdoor to send junk mail from that computer.

• Bot (noun): A software program designed to act like a person and infiltrate computers. For example, a bot may be programmed to automatically delete e-mails containing certain words or to sweep up and collect certain information from a PC.

• List bomb (verb): Forging messages that cause the victim to unknowingly subscribe to mass mailing lists (such as a subscription to an online newsletter) in volumes that may crash their systems.

• Phreaking (verb): Cracking into the telephone network, which has now evolved to include cracking into cell phones and computer communications networks.

• Spit (noun): Spam sent over an Internet telephone connection.

• Spim (noun): Spam sent over an instant message connection.

• Spoofing (verb): Impersonating another host on a network; pretending to be a trusted host.

• Wabbit (noun): Any hack that repeatedly replicates itself on a local computer.

• Fork bomb (noun): A species of “wabbit” that performs a denial of service on a computer system by creating a large number of processes very quickly and overloading the computer.

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