Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary

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Insurance Online And Cyber Terms & Definitions

Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary

Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary. Increasingly, insurance is transacted electronically. Further, it's heavily involved with covering losses that are directly related to cyber activity.

Considering this reality, it could help to know some definitions of terms related to the Internet and to insurance's involvement with electronic commerce and information technology.

The Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary should help you with some of the jargon and legal ease used in the insurance industry.

Note: Some of these terms are dated as this definitions list has been complied over the last 20 years.

Read the Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary to better understand insurance policy language and to see how it relates to the Internet, data breaches, cyber security, hacking, ecommerce and more.

Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary And Definitions

Following are legal terms and definitions used, alphabetically organized.

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


acceptable use policy (AUP) - A written agreement signed by users outlining terms and conditions of Internet or individual Website use.

access method - Generically, the means used to move information between a computer and other sources or devices, particularly storage medium.

account - Your assigned "right" to use a particular computer system, which usually includes a unique username and password to gain legitimate access to the system.

ACORD - The Agency/Company Organization for Research and Development that creates and promotes paper and electronic insurance form standards to facilitate Electronic Data Interchange.

ActiveX - Developed by Microsoft, it is a software component used in creating applications that may reside on a single computer, be shared by a network of computers or used across the Internet.

address - The location where a person or computer expects to find or deliver a particular piece of information, such as an e-mail - "Its_me@workplace" or a Website address (see URL) - "http://www.ownpage.ownsite/beginhere"

ad-hoc network - A small computer network, including a LAN, that is assembled (usually via wireless connections) for a temporary purpose.

administrivia - A playful modification of "trivia." It refers to relatively minor administrative tasks, typically related to maintaining mailing lists, digests, news gateways, etc.

AddThis - A code that users may place on their websites that allows site visitors to share page's content via networking programs such as Facebook and Twitter.

aggregation - The process of gathering and remixing content from blogs and other websites that provide RSS feeds.

AL3 - The ACORD company's agency/company interface standard called Automated Level 3.

alerts - Words, phrases or tags that are checked periodically by search engines, with the results of those searches returned to you by email alerts.

algorithm - A set of formulas that instruct computer performance, such as how to manage and distribute content.

alpha site - An initial test site for new or modified computer products. The testing is performed in a simulation of the product's intended working environment.

AMA - abbreviation for "Ask Me Anything."

anchor - An anchor is the destination for a link within the same Web page instead of at a different page or Web site.

animated GIF - An animated GIF uses the GIF89a format of saving several images and then sequentially displaying them via Web browsers, creating the illusion of movement.

anonoblog - A blog site authored by a person, or persons, who don't publish their name.

anonymous FTP - Using an account name, "anonymous" to log into an Internet site and retrieve public files.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) - A developer of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) standards.

applet - A small, limited-access, Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page. Typically used for special effects.

application - Or "app." An alternative term for computer program that operates on either computer or mobile devices.

Application Programming Interface (API) - Refers to a documented interface which allows one software application to interact with another application.

architecture - See computer architecture.

archive - Collections of older files that are stored on a computer and made available for distribution, usually via FTP.

artificial intelligence (A.I.) - Computers that function using simulated human logic rather than mechanical reasoning. Theoretically, such a computer would be capable of learning from its transactions.

ARPANet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) - In essence, the original Internet. It was an experimental effort of the U.S. Department of Defense in the early 70s to build a wide-area-network, capable of surviving nuclear war.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) - A coding method that allows different computers and devices to communicate. Under ASCII, numerical values are assigned to punctuation, words, numbers and control characters.

astroturfing - A fake, net-based attempt to create awareness for a product, service, or idea that looks like a grassroots campaign.

asynchronous transfer mode - A very high-speed method in which fiber-optic lines are used to simultaneously transmit audio and video data.

at sign (@) - The at sign (@) is the separator for most e-mail addresses; it separates the user ID from the domain name of the mail computer.

atom - A popular feed format used for syndicating content.

atomic data - See raw data.

attachment - A graphics, sound or text file which is attached to and delivered along with an e-mail message.

attributes - In HTML, attributes are used to create extra formatting options to content, such as boldfacing, italics, colors or background, even special effects. More than one attribute may be added to HTML content.

AUP - See acceptable use policy.

authentication - The verification of the identity of a person or process, typically during a user's attempt to login.

authenticity - Refers to any continual communication effort that is genuine. Content that engages those who read it.

authorization - The granting of privilege (such as Internet or network access) based on identity.

auto-responder - A program that generates an automated response to an e-mail message. This program is typically used when a person is on an extended leave such as a business trip or vacation or to give immediate, initial notification that a message has been received.

avatars - Graphical images representing people.

Average Response Time - The typical time it takes for an online entity to respond to a question.


B Corporation - Short term reference for any business with a mission/reputation for being employee-friendly and operating in a social and environmentally conscious manner.

B2B - Short for "Business to Business" and refers to commerce that focuses on sales of products or services to other businesses rather than to consumers.

back channel - Private emails or other messages sent by the facilitator or between individuals during public conferencing.

backbone - Refers to the network component which links several LANs or workgroups together in a single building.

bandwidth - Refers to the amount of information that's transmitted through an Internet connection and is expressed in bits per second (BPS).

banner - A type of Web advertising consisting of a graphic which links to an advertiser's home page.

baud - The rate at which a modem transfers data from one computer to another. Modems typically range between 300 to 19200 baud.

BBS (bulletin board system) - An online forum, accessible via modem, for users to browse and exchange information.

beta site - Where a hardware or software product is tested in the field before being released commercially.

big data - Electronic information that is not structured (raw) in a manner that can be exploited for organizational use.

binary file - Any non-text file is a binary file where any combination of bits is possible.

binhex (BINary HEXadecimal) - A method for converting non-text files (non-ASCII) into ASCII, which facilitates Internet e-mail which can only handle ASCII files.

bit - Short for Binary digIT which is either a one or a zero.

blog - An online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page (shortened version of Weblog/Web log).

blogosphere - The term used to describe the totality of blogs on the Internet, and the conversations taking place within that sphere.

blogroll - A list of sites displayed in the sidebar of a blog, showing who the blogger reads regularly.

blog talk radio - Blog talk radio is a free web application that allows users to host live online radio shows.

bookmarks - A list of frequently accessed Web sites which have been electronically "marked" by a user for future reference.

bounce - The return of a piece of mail because of an error in its address or in its delivery.

BPS - Bits-Per-Second

Brand Advocate - One having the role/duty to hype (positively support) a brand, product or service.

bridge - A device for expanding a Local Area Network by selectively forwarding packets of data to another part of the LAN. See router.

browser - Software that allows users to navigate between networked computers to request and display data.

BTW - Abbreviation of the phrase "by the way."

bulletin boards - Early vehicles for online collaboration, where users connected with a central computer to post and read email-like messages. The term is still used for forums.

byte - The number of bits (generally eight) which represent one character. Example: the word "one" seen on a computer screen would represent 3 bytes of information and, at least, 24 bits.


cable modem - A modem that connects a personal computer to a cable line for fast data transmission. Allegedly this set-up is quite vulnerable to hacking since the "line" from the computer remains open.

CD-ROM - Stands for Compact Disk - Read Only Memory. Used for storing computer information and has a substantially higher capacity than diskettes.

centralized computing - A computer architecture which features data organization, data storage and computing occurring within a mainframe computer. Thus, the computer functions take place at a central location.

certification authority - Any organization that maintains records such as names, personal information, employers, addresses, etc. This allows the organization to validate network users.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface) - A set of rules on how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine. Any piece of software can be a CGI program if it handles input and output according to the CGI standard (rules).

CGI-bin - The most common name of a directory on a Web Server where CGI programs are stored. The "bin" part of "cgi-bin" is a short for "binary" because programs were once called "binaries."

champions - Refers to a group of enthusiasts who are willing to get conversations started in an online community by posting messages, responding, and helping others.

chat - Interaction on a web site, with a number of people adding text items one after the other into the same space at (almost) the same time.

civic media - Interactions by an individual or organization that is meant to build rapport and good will with other persons or communities.

click - A verb meaning "to select something with a (computer) mouse."

client (or client/server) - A relationship in which one device or computer program is dedicated to serving another device or program. Can be a software application that works on your behalf to extract some service from a server somewhere on the network. An example of a client is a Web Browser.

cloud computing - Refers to data that may be accessed from any device.

coaxial cable - An electrical cable that contains two separate wires. One wire is solid and the other is a tube. The solid wire is inside the tube. Both wires have the same center point, or axis.

collaboration - Social media tools rely on collaboration to be successful. Collaboration includes activities like chatting, commenting, social bookmarking, and blogging to help develop the trust necessary for collaboration. collective intelligence -This is defined as the capacity of a human community to evolve toward a higher order complexity of thought, problem-solving and integration through collaboration and innovation.

comments - Blogs may allow readers to add comments under items and may also provide a feed for comments as well as for main items.

commercial on-line service - Companies who provide, for a fee, consumers access to the Internet, such as America Online, CompuServe, Genie and Prodigy.

Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) - Allows heterogeneous information, including applications to be placed within a capsule (object) and shared among other CORBA-compliant applications.

community building - The process of recruiting potential community or network participants. Recruitment includes helping people find shared interests and goals, develop useful conversations, and learn how to use the technology.

computer architecture - Refers to the type of computer or the kind of software that will be used on a computer. Sometimes referred to as "platform."

computer output to laser disk - An application that can take data from information systems and store them on laser disks.

content - Any internet-resident audio, photos, text, or videos.

content-free - A message or talk that adds nothing to the recipient's knowledge.

content management systems (CMS) - Software suites offering the ability to create static web pages, document stores, blog, wikis, and other tools.

continuous speech recognition - Technology capable of converting conversation into digitized text.

conversation - Online discussions held through blogging, commenting or contributing to forums.

cookie - Commonly refers to a piece of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser. The Browser software is expected to save and to send back the information to the Server whenever the Browser makes additional requests from the Server. A wide variety of information about the sender may be stored in a cookie.

Craigslist - Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods and services to other users.

crash - An unexpected interruption of the proper functioning of a computer, disk drive or software.

Creative Commons - A nonprofit corporation which is dedicated to enabling people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. The corporation provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work according to what the creator wants, with the goal of letting others share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

cross platform front end - See XPFE.

cross-post - To post a message to several newsgroups simultaneously. An action usually frowned on in Internet culture.

crowdfunding - Attempts to secure funding for any given reason via online users.

crowdsourcing - Refers to gathering outside participants who are willing to use their skills and volunteer their time to contribute content and help solve problems.

curation - See digital curation.

cyberspace - A term coined by William Gibson in his fantasy novel "Neuromancer" to describe the computer-world and the society that gathers around it.

cybersquatting - Registering a popular Internet address with no other intent than to wait for a chance to sell it (at a much higher price) to the person or organization that has the same name as the address.


dashboard - The administration area on a blog software that allows one to post, check traffic, upload files, manage comments, etc.

database - A collection of libraries of data.

database front end - In the context of the Internet, this is an interface which integrates Web applications with complex database programs.

data mining - The process of discovering new information by searching and asking questions of (querying) large databases.

data preprocessing - Reviewing and treating initial (raw) data in order to prepare it for another process (particularly data mining or web mining).

data warehouse - An electronic storage facility (portion of a network or separate, dedicated servers) of business information that has been set up in a manner to facilitate its analysis, study and manipulation.

dedicated line - A telecommunications line that gives a computer a direct, permanent Internet connection.

default - The value supplied by the system when the user omits it from a parameter list on a command or control statement.

dial-up - A temporary, as opposed to dedicated, connection between computers established over a standard phone line.

dial-up account - A basic Internet account that allows you to contact (dial-up) a provider's computer with a modem.

digerati - The digital version of literati, which refers to persons perceived as knowledgeable regarding the digital revolution.

digital curation - A process of preserving, maintaining and storing a given entity's electronic content, including making certain that critical information is accessible as technology changes. It also includes maintaining content in a manner that may be used optimally for operations and planning.

digital story - Short personal experiences published for either online or DVD use.

directory services - A feature that uses multiple identifiers and alerts the requester to the location of a web or network destination.

disruptive technology - Refers to new methods that cause shake-ups because they displace a current, entrenched method. The inference is that it represents healthy, significant change.

distributed computing - Where computing functions, including data organization and storage, are distributed (via PCs) throughout an organization. See centralized computing.

document imaging - Using scanners to digitize information on paper documents so they can be handled and stored on computers.

domain name - An Internet Website address.

domain registration - The process of requesting and receiving a unique name for a location on the Internet from a regulatory body.

download - To acquire (load) information (down) from another computer or Website.

DRAM - A memory chip that stores information as electrical charges in capacitors.

driver - Software for using a peripheral hardware device (such as a printer or scanner) that is attached to a computer.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) - A method for moving data over regular phone lines which are leased by the subscriber. However, a DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection.


ebook - An electronic version of a printed book.

e-commerce (electronic commerce) - The set of processes that allows an organization to transact business electronically, including taking complete orders and processing payments for goods or services.

electronic data interchange - Refers to the electronic transmission of important business information via computer exchange.

e-mail - Transmitting correspondence electronically within an internal or external network.

email lists - Networking tools offering the facility to "starburst" a message from a central postbox to any number of subscribers, and for them to respond. Lists usually offer a facility for reading and replying through a web page - so they can also operate like forums.

embedded hyperlink - A hyperlink that is incorporated into a line of text.

emoticon - Characters which, when viewed sideways, reflect the emotional state of the writer of the message. Because electronic mail does not allow for body language or other emotional clues, emoticons are very useful. Examples: Happy: :-), Sad: :-( , Surprised =8-0.

employee advocacy - An employee who helps boost their employer's online presence via use of their own online network (reach).

encryption - Specially encoding or arranging information so that it cannot be read by anyone but the intended party.

enterprise-wide network - A network comprised of every computer within an organization within which all of the company's critical operations are performed.

entry - An individual post or article published on a blog.

ethernet - A 10-million bits per second networking design that is widely used for LANs because it can connect a wide variety of computers, is not proprietary, and uses components that are available from many sources.

event blog - A blog specifically launched as a companion to an event.

expert system - A rules-based program (example automated underwriting) which can apply the set of rules to simulate reasoning and is capable of modifying its rules; in other words, "learns."

eXtensible HyperText Markup Language - See XHTML.

extranet - Where external persons or businesses are permitted access to a company intranet (internal company network).


face-to-face (f2) - Term used to describe people meeting offline.

Facebook - A social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. Facebook is the largest social network in the world.

facilitator - Someone who helps people in an online group or forum manage their conversations. The facilitator may help agree a set of rules, draw out topics for discussion, gently keep people on topic, and summarize.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - A compilation of the most often asked questions and answers on a topic.

fair use - The right to use copyright protected without permission when the material is used for educational or purpose of critical review.

fast packet - Describes when large blocks or packets of information are rapidly transmitted or switched over a network.

FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface) - A network technology standard that uses fiber-optic cable capable of 100-million bit per second data rate.

feeds - These are the means by which people can read, view or listen to items from blogs and other RSS-enabled sites without visiting the site, by subscribing and using an aggregator or newsreader.

file server - A computer specifically intended for storing files that users share over a network. The computer being used as the file server is typically a dedicated machine that is unavailable for other workstation tasks.

finger - An Internet software tool that's typically used for locating people on other Internet sites.

Firefox - An open-source web browser which allows users to customize their browser through the use of third-party extensions.

firewall - A combination of hardware and software that is used to prevent unauthorized access to an internal computing system that belongs to a user who is accessing the Internet.

flame - Mail or Usenet posting which is, characteristically, crude, derogatory or argumentative.

flaming - Sending hate e-mail to an Internet user.

flash mob - A large group of people that suddenly assembles in a public place, performs an unusual act for a brief time, then quickly disperses. These groups generally assemble through the use of social media.

Flickr - A social network based around online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others.

folksonomy - The collective indexing by use of tags, labels or keywords by the consumers of the content.

Follow Friday (#ff) - Occurs every Friday using the hashtag #ff on Twitter. Users tweet other usernames with #ff in their post, thus recommending following those Twitter users.

FOMO - Abbreviation of "Fear of Missing Out."

forms-capable browser - A common feature of a Web browser which allows users to "fill in the blank" in questionnaires and other user-response items.

forums - Discussion areas on websites, where people can post messages or comment on existing messages.

friends - Contacts whose profile you link to your profile on social network sites.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - A component of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) that controls the data exchange between two hosts/computers.

fuzzy logic - Computer programming that combines a rules-based system with symbolic reasoning; it allows a computer to process information in a simulation of human reasoning.


gateway - See common gateway interface.

geographical information system - Any system that combines data with mapping capabilities in order to map certain activities or events geographically.

geotagging - Placing identifying information on online materials such as photos or maps.

ghost site - An Internet (URL) address that can be accessed, but the site is not maintained (updated).

GIF (graphic interchange format) - A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same color.

gigabyte - Refers to either 1,000 megabytes or 1 billion bytes or information. Alternatives: gb or "gig."

GIS - See geographical information system.

gopher - Once, a wide-based method of making menus of material available over the Internet. This Client and Server style program has largely been replaced by Hypertext, also known as WWW (World Wide Web).

gpl - Short for general public license, applying to software required to be released on an open source basis.

gps - Abbreviation of global positioning system and refers to either a standalone device or an application that provides satellite-based navigation.

groundswell - A social trend in which people use technology and social media to get the things they need from other people, instead of through traditional institutions like corporations.

groupware - Software designed for group use, particularly the receipt and transmission of information.

GUI (graphical user interface) - The set of windows, menus, control buttons and other on-screen devices which a person uses to operate a computer or computer program.

guru - Any person with substantial expertise in a certain topic or area of study.


hacker - A programmer who enjoys accomplishing difficult tasks and learning more and more about networking and computer systems. The term is often misused for the term cracker, which is a programmer who "breaks" into networks.

hard copy - A printed copy of some data.

hard drive - A piece of computer hardware used to store files or information.

hardware - Physical components of a computer such as monitor, mouse, printer, system unit, disk drive, modem, and keyboard.

hashtag - A symbol used on Twitter as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a "#." Example: #yourhashtag. Hashtags usually show that a tweet, a Twitter message, is related to an event or conference.

header - A header is also the part of an e-mail or an information packet that precedes the actual message. Headers often contain the message originator, date, and time.

help desk - The technical support department of an organization.

hit - In the context of the WWW: 1. the act of accessing an HTML document on a server, and 2. the result(s) returned from an Internet Search.

home page - The first page on a Web site that acts as the starting point for navigation.

hop - Describes a point where information is forwarded across the Internet from one router to another.

host - A computer that acts as a server.

hotspot - A place in a document that contains an embedded hyperlink.

HT - See hashtag

HTML (hypertext markup language) - The coded format used to create Web documents. HTML commands control text appearance. Files in HTML format are viewed with a World Wide Web Client program.

HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) - The internal process that allows the transmission of multimedia (text, sound and video) among computers.

hub - Hardware that contains ports to which computers and peripherals (printers, keyboards, scanners, monitors, etc.) may be attached.

hyperlink - These are links in HTML documents that you can click on to travel to other Web destinations.

hypermedia - The multimedia links on the Web that lead to sound, graphics, video, or text resources.

hypertext - A term coined by Ted Nelson to refer to a nonlinear system of information browsing and retrieval that contains associative links to other related documents. Hypertext is the basic organizing principle of the World Wide Web.


icon - Graphic or symbol on the computer monitor that represents a computer task or file.

ICYMI - Short for "In Case You Missed It" and its often used to share information, such as an article, meme or link.

IMHO (in my humble opinion) - A shorthand addition to a comment made online. IMHO indicates that the writer is aware that their statement is debatable.

inbound marketing - A style of marketing that is permission-based and used at social media sites in order to be found by users. Contrasted with outbound marketing which takes marketing tactics out (via mailings, cold calling, etc.) to potential customers.

influencer - One who has the social media presence to affect the opinion of a targeted audience.

inline image - A graphic that is part of a Web page.

instant messaging (IM) - Allows one person to chat live with one other person while online.

interface - Communication among computer devices or programs.

interface engine - Software that permits application information to be shared among network users without the need for each PC to contain an interface device.

international standards organizations - Any organization that creates, maintains and enforces global computer and communications standards.

Internet - Capitalized I, the portion of the World Wide Web that consists of the growing, global network of computers which exchange information in a combination of text, graphics and sounds.

intranet - A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same kinds of software found on the public Internet, but that is only for internal use.

IP number (Internet Protocol Number) - Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots (e.g. 162.109.326.9), which exists for every machine connected to the Internet. The IP number is a numerical equivalent of a Domain Name.

IRC (Internet Relay Chat) - Basically a huge multi-user live chat facility.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) - A method to move more data over existing regular phone lines.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) - An institution that provides users/subscribers with access to the Internet, typically for money.


Java - Sun Microsystem's programming language for creating small Web applications (applets) that can be used by computers employing any kind of operating system.

JavaScript - JavaScript (a non-Java related Netscape product) is a "scripting" language tool for creating special effects and active content on Web pages.

Joomla - A content management system (CMS) which enables users to build websites and online applications.

JPEG (joint photographic experts group) - A graphics file that is favored for displaying high quality photographs on Web pages.


keyword - Special target words or phrases for searching the Internet or databases.

killer app - Short for killer application, which is a way to express admiration for a particularly exciting or effective software program or feature.

kilobytes - A thousand bytes of data represented by kb.

Kindle - A brand name for an enhanced electronic book made and supported by Amazon Corp. Later and more advanced models have many features and may have the functionality of a computer pad.

kiosk - Typically a free-standing, automated terminal used for consumer product and service purchases.

Klout - A measure of social influence which lets users connect various social accounts and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The higher the score, the more influence a person has on the social world.


LAN (Local Area Network) - A computer network, usually located in the same building or floor of a building.

leased line - An exclusive, rented phone line connection for high-speed data transmissions. The connection is available at all times (24 hours a day and 7 days a week).

legacy systems - Programs or systems that an organization inherits due to mergers and acquisitions or previous installations.

life casting - Using digital media, this is a continual broadcast of events in a person's life which is transmitted through the internet.

limp app - Opposite of killer app(lication), a particularly weak program.

link - See hyperlink.

link building - An aspect of search engine optimization in which website owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other websites in order to improve their search engine ranking.

LinkedIn - A business-oriented social networking site which is mainly used for professional networking.

LinkedIn Today - LinkedIn's own version of a social news service. The various industries on LinkedIn (marketing, journalism, technology, etc.) have their own LinkedIn Today which posts stories that are shared the most by users.

listserv - The most common kind of Internet mailing list.

login - The account name you use to gain access to a computer system.

logon - Noun: Gaining access, or signing in, to a computer system. Verb: log on.

lurk - To spend time watching a newsgroup without posting anything.


mail list - (or mailing list) A (usually automated) system that allows people to send e-mail to one address at which their message is copied and distributed to all of the mail list subscribers.

mainframe - A very large computer capable of handling many, very complex computing tasks; can be used by hundreds or thousands of users in a centralized computer environment.

mapping - A system that lets social media users see who they are connecting with; frequently used to grow an online network or community.

mashups - Mixing (combining) different tools to create a new web service.

megabyte - (Roughly) a million bytes of information, represented by mb or "meg."

meme - Typically an image with text above and below it, a meme is used on the internet to describe an idea, thought, joke, or concept to be shared online.

metatag - Refers to any code or text designed to draw traffic to a Website (via search engines), yet which cannot be viewed by site visitors.

microblogging - A form of blogging allowing users to compose brief text updates and publish them. These messages can be submitted and received by different means and devices, including email, text messaging. mobile device, MP3 or the web.

middleware - Software that acts as a bridge (gateway) between two, otherwise, incompatible software systems.

midrange - See minicomputer.

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) - The standard for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound files, etc.

minicomputer - A medium-sized computing system that has a capacity to handle substantially more tasks and users than a desktop PC, but substantially less than a mainframe computer.

mirror - Short for "mirror sites" and refers to Web or FTP sites that maintain exact copies of material originating at another location. Mirrors are usually created in order to provide more widespread access to the resource.

mission critical - Information related to a company's highest priority work processes.

moblogs - A blog published directly to the web from a phone or other mobile device.

modem (MOdulator, DEModulator) - A device that is connected to a computer and to a phone line, so that a connection can be made to the Internet or to a remote computer.

multimedia - Refers to hardware and software that can transmit and receive video and sound files as well as text files.

mud (multi-user dungeon or dimension) - Typically, a text-based multiple-user simulation environment that is used for a host of reasons including recreation, fantasy and software development.

MySpace - A social networking website which focuses on use by musicians.


navigation - A menu of links or buttons allowing users to move from one web page to another within a site.

net neutrality - When internet providers serve all users on an equal basis that do not favor different customer classes.

netiquette - (Modification of Internet plus Etiquette) Refers to the rules of on-line conduct.

netizen - Derived from the term citizen, referring to a citizen of the Internet, or someone who uses networked resources, and is an active and civilly responsible net participant.

network - Any time two or more computers are connected in order to share resources, a network exists. Connecting two or more networks creates an Internet.

network computer - A PC with very limited ability and memory that specializes as a simple device to gain access to, browse and download information from a network (or Internet).

newsgroup - The name for discussion groups on USENET.

newsreader - A website or desktop tool that acts as an aggregator, gathering content from blogs and similar sites using RSS feeds so people can read the content in one place, instead of having to visit different sites.

NNTP (Network News Transport Protocol) - The protocol used to transmit USENET postings over a TCP/IP network. (Examples are Internet Explorer and Netscape).

node - Any single computer connected to a network.


object - A small package of data that is combined with programming elements. Objects are typically capable of performing simple functions.

object management group - An association of software and system vendors formed to create object-oriented technology and computing services standards.

object-oriented technology - Any application development that is designed to use data packaged into objects. See CORBA.

offline - The opposite of "online" and means any time there isn't an active connection to the Internet (or to an internal network).

online - The state of being connected to the Internet (or to an internal network).

online conference - See forum.

open platform - Any software system that allows connection and use of its network by any application or device.

open source - Applies to any software code that may be freely used as a base to create other applications.

operating system (OS) - Stands for operating system, which is the critical program that manages all of a computer's other applications. Examples are DOS, OS/2, UNIX, and Windows XP.


P2P - Short for person to person or, an in-person meeting.

packet - Blocks of data which includes the addresses of the data's origin and destination.

packet internet groper (PING) - A tool that tests whether a given server (IP) address can be accessed. It does so by transmitting a burst of data to an address and checking for a reply.

packet switching - A method for transmitting data across the Internet. Packets, which contain its origin and destination addresses, can share the same lines (of transmission), and then can be sorted and routed. Packet switching gives multiple users simultaneous access to a single line.

Pandora - A social online radio station that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists and types of music.

password - A code used to gain access to a locked system. Effective passwords combine letters and numbers or characters.

pattern - Any sequence or combination of characters that is used in searching computer directories.

peer-to-peer - Refers to direct interaction between two people in a network.

permalink - A permanent connector (link) to a specific Weblog (blog) post.

permalink - The address (URL) of an item of content, for example a blog post, rather than the address of a web page with lots of different items.

photo sharing - Uploading images to a website like Flickr.

phrase - A collection of words that is placed in quotation marks so that it can be treated as a single word during a query or search.

PING - See packet internet groper.

platform - See computer architecture.

plug-in - A (usually small) piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software.

podcast - Audio or video content that can be downloaded automatically through a subscription to a website for viewing or listening offline.

pod safe - Any content that can be shared via a podcast without the danger of violating copyright laws.

POP (Point of Presence, also Post-Office Protocol) - Two common meanings: Point of Presence and Post Office Protocol. A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network connection exists via dial up phone lines. Post Office Protocol refers to the way e-mail software such as Juno retrieves mail from a mail server.

portable document format (PDF) - Popular document format created by Adobe systems to view documents created by different applications with the same viewer.

portal - An Internet gateway that contains information that targets a particular interest.

posting - A single message entered into a network communications system.

PPP (point to point protocol) - A protocol that allows a computer to use a regular telephone line and a modem to make TCP/IP connections to the Internet.

profiles - The information that people provide about themselves when signing up for a social networking site.

proprietary software - Software which is owned by someone, such as Microsoft.

protocol - The proper procedures for data transmission. Concerns the type and structure of data required for specific devices. It also incorporates requirements for code recognition, communication functions and the identification of data streams (packets of information). Also refers to any set of rules established to achieve a given, computing objective.


query - Refers to the "question" or a request for information that is "asked of" a database or the Internet.

queue - A backup of packets awaiting processing.

quick time - A video format for making movies available on the Web.


rapid filer - A program (from Windows by Microsoft) that allows a file transfer between the microcomputer and a remote computer.

raw data - Unprocessed data.

real time - Refers to use of a computer or device where there are no perceptible delays in getting responses to inputs.

reciprocal linking - The practice of providing a link to a web site in return for a link posted on that site referencing back to the originating site.

record - The smallest unit of information that may be identified as the location of a hit(s).

registration - The process of providing a username, password and other details when seeking to access a website that has restricted access.

remixing - Taking different items of content, identified by tags and published through feeds, and combining them in different ways.

remote computing - Where an individual or company arranges to network its PC with a vendor's data processing center. This is a method of technical outsourcing.

repeater - A device that propagates electrical signals from one cable to another.

request for comments (RFC) - The document series, begun in 1969, that describes the Internet set of protocols and related experiments.

retweet - Refers to Twitter tweets which are shared with others by resending them to other people.

router - A device that directs traffic between computer networks. Routing is the process of deciding what path information will take when traveling over a computer network like the Internet.

RSS - Short for Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows a person to subscribe to content on blogs and other social media and have it delivered through a feed.

RTFM - Read the Flippin' Manual (or some such similar thing). This is a mild flame in response to a user's question when the answer is immediately available in file documentation.


search - Literally, a user's attempt to find information on a topic by entering keywords or phrases into a search engine.

search engines - Software that searches the Internet for sites that match the keywords entered by a user.

search engine marketing (SEM) - Refers to plans for securing a positive result for oneself of one's brand, such as creating more awareness, gaining more customers or enhancing loyalty of customers.

secure sockets layer - A protocol designed by Netscape Communications to enable encrypted, authenticated Internet communications.

security certificate - A chunk of information (often stored as a text file) that is used by the SSL protocol to establish a secure connection. Security Certificates contain information about who it belongs to, who it was issued by, a unique serial number or other unique identification, valid dates, and an encrypted "fingerprint" that can be used to verify the contents of the certificate.

server - Describes any hardware which provides services to a client.

servlets - Small computer programs that enhance server software.

sharing - Offering other people the use of text, images, video, bookmarks or other content by adding tags, and applying copyright licenses that encourage use of content.

short code - Shortening of a phone number to four, five or six digits that are used for online purposes such as voting or subscribing.

single entry multiple-company interface (SEMCI) - Where an insurance agent's single entry of applicant or client information into a PC can be read and processed by multiple insurers who are linked to the agent.

Skype - A free program which allows for audio, video and text chats between users.

SLIP (serial line internet protocol) - See PPP.

smart card - Similar to a credit card, a card that contains a computer chip that allows the card to store data such as claims or insurance records.

smart mob - Refers to a group which behaves efficiently or intelligently due to its increasing network links, enabling people to connect to information and other people. Basically, the opposite of a mob.

SMDS (switched multimegabit data service) - A new standard for very high-speed data transfer.

SMEs (small to medium enterprises) - A broad classification of businesses defined by revenue. The range used by one major corporation's consulting division (IBM) includes businesses between $1 and $500 million.

SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol) - The standard protocol for transmitting Internet e-mail.

Snapchat - An app the allows users to share photos that are only available for a short amount of time. The images are designed to be relevant, spur-of-the-moment bits of information.

SNMP - (simple network management protocol) - A set of standards for communication with devices connected to a TCP/IP network. Examples of these devices include routers, hubs, and switches.

SOA - Services Oriented Architecture.

social bookmarks - A method for Internet users to store, search, organize, and share web pages.

social media - A term for the tools and platforms people use to publish, converse and share content online. The tools include blogs, wikis, podcasts, and sites to share photos and bookmarks.

social media monitoring (SMM) - Scouting social media channels for any mention of one's brand, products or services and responding to them.

social networking - Online places where users can create a profile for themselves, and then socialize with others using a range of social media tools including blogs, video, images, tagging, lists of friends, forums and messaging.

spam (or spamming) - An inappropriate use of a mailing list, USENET or other networked communications as a broadcast medium by sending the same, unsolicited message to a large number of people.

spambot - Automatic software robots that post spam on a blog.

speech recognition - See continuous speech recognition.

SQL - See structured query language.

SSL - See secure sockets layer.

star topology - The arrangement in which the nodes of any single computer in a Local Area Network (LAN) are connected to each other through a central node.

start page - A web page that can be configured to pull in content from a variety of web-based services including news services, email, and feeds from blog.

streaming media - Any online content that is provided/accessed on a real time basis, but not permanently stored.

structured query language - A specialized programming language for sending queries (inquiries or questions using keywords) to databases.

subscribing - The process of adding an RSS feed to your aggregator or newsreader.

synchronous - Communications that occur in real time, like chat, audio or video.

sysop (system operator) - Anyone responsible for the physical operations of a computer system or network resource.


T-1 - A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds.

T-3 - A leased-line connection capable of carrying data at 44,736,000 bits-per-second, which makes it capable of transmitting full-screen, full-motion video.

tag - Refers either to any type of language (such as HTML) that is used to create Web content or to marking blogs with keywords that permit blog searches that use those keywords.

tag cloud - Used to describe the content of web sites, this is either a visual depiction of user-generated tags or the word content of a site.

taxonomy - Taxonomy occurs when contributors to a website can add content in an organized way.

TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) - A set of protocols that specify the system of communication used for the Internet.

technology steward - A person who facilitates community and network development.

teleconferencing - Refers to a meeting being held without the participants being in the same place, using a network connection and tools like Voice over IP, Instant Messaging, Video, and Whiteboards.

telnet - The program that permits seamless logins to different site locations on the Internet.

terabyte - Refers to one trillion bytes (1,000 gigabytes) of information and is represented by tb.

terminal - A device that allows you to send commands to a remote computer.

terminal server - A special purpose computer that has multiple modems ports on one side, and a connection to a LAN or host machine on the other side. Terminal servers answer calls and route the connections on to the appropriate node (single PC).

terms of services - Users are asked to agree to terms of service before using a forum or other web-based place for creating or sharing content.

thin client - Describes a computer network where an application and business logic are accessed from a central server which allows the network machines to contain higher levels of memory than regular network PCs.

threads - Strands of conversation on a blog or a web forum.

TLD (top level domain) - The extension portion of a full domain name, such as .com, .biz, .org, .gov, etc.

tool - Shorthand for a software application on a computer, and also for applications that are Web-based.

top level domain - See TLD.

topic - An idea, issue, or talking point in an online conversation that is made up of threads.

trackback - A facility used on blogs which allows a blogger to leave a calling card instead of commenting.

trojan horse - Describes any serious computer virus that is hidden within an attractive, safe-looking application or e-mail message.

troll - Refers to persons who posts on various media in a manner that insults, bullies, threatens or denigrates.

tweet - A post that is made via Twitter, conforming to its posting guidelines.

tweetup - A meeting that is arranged via Twitter.

Twitter - A platform that allows users to share messages publicly. Users can follow each other as a way of subscribing to each others' messages.

Twitter Search - A search engine operated by Twitter to search for Twitter messages and users in real time.


UGC - See user generated content.

UNIX - An operating system (OS) used on many Internet server computers.

unix to unix encoding - A method for converting files from Binary to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across the Internet via e-mail. See Also: Binhex, MIME

unzip - Refers to restoring (inflating) a file that's been reduced with a file compression program.

upload - To transfer files from your computer to another computer or a computer network (Internet). Uploading is commonly done using an FTP program.

URL (uniform resource locator) - URL is an Internet "address." All URLs follow the same structure: the two slashes, the protocol, the name of the server, and then the path.

usenet news - The official name of a part of the Internet that allows you to participate in various discussion groups on unlimited topics.

user - Any individual who uses the Internet.

user generated content - Content, such as text, photos and other material, which is produced by people who use a website.

username - The name of a particular user on a host computer or server. Your username is the name before the "@" sign in your e-mail address.

UUENCODE - See unix to unix encoding.


value added network (VAN) - Private network operated by a company to transport information such as EDI between subscribers.

vanity page - Another term for a personal Website.

vaporware - Any software product that is publicized, yet never actually becomes available on the market.

VCard - An electronic business card that permits general contact information to be shared electronically across a wide variety of message platforms.

VDO - Technology that facilitates video conferencing via several different methods including the Internet or private networks.

veal pen - An informal term for an office cubicle.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) - A system of encryption and authentication that allows the creation of a private, protected segment on a public network such as the Internet.

virtual worlds - Online places where a person can create a representation of himself or herself (an avatar) and socialize with other residents.

virus - A program that replicates itself by incorporating itself into other programs that are shared among computer systems.

VOD - Video on Demand

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) - Methods that allow phone calls to be made via the Internet (or IP) connections.


W3C - See World Wide Web Consortium.

WAN (wide area network) - Any network that covers an area larger than a single building or campus.

WAP - Wireless application protocol, technology that permits Internet access through wireless (handheld) devices.

warm docking - Installing (docking) or removing (undocking) a mobile system in a special computer station while that pc is operating under a reduced power-level.

web - See WWW.

Web 2.0 - Term which describes social networking sites and other Internet-based services that emphasize collaboration and sharing; contrasted with interactive publishing which is Web 1.0.

web-based tools - Free or low-cost tools including email, word processing, calendars, and spreadsheets that can be used on the web rather than your desktop. These tools are provided by a variety of organizations, including Google.

webcasting - See streaming media.

webmaster - The person in charge of a Website's operation and maintenance.

web analytics - The measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data in order to understand and optimize web usage.

web portal - Typically a source provides that service packages that includes chatrooms, e-mail, discussion forums, search capability, etc.

web server - A network PC with the special task of storing and transmitting documents that are in an HTML format.

whiteboards - These are the online equivalent of glossy surfaces where a person can write with an appropriate marker pen and wipe off later. They are tools that enable one to write or sketch on a web page, and are useful in collaboration online.

widgets - Stand-alone applications that can be embedded in other applications, like a website or a desktop, or view on its own on a PDA. The widgets enable people to do things like subscribe to a feed, do a specialist search, or even donate.

Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) - Another term for wireless data communication.

wiki - A web page that can be edited collaboratively. The best-known example is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia created by thousands of contributors across the world.

wildcard symbols - Characters that are included in a pattern and which permit you to match a range or words in a search. Example, the pattern r*d would find rid, rod, red, ryd, rad, etc.

workflow systems - The automation and documentation of a business's (streamlined) work procedures.

workstation - Usually refers to a computer capable of running complex business, science or engineering applications due to its being part of a computer network.

World Wide Web Consortium - A forum of technology entities that develops and promotes operating technologies for widespread use on the Web, particularly technological standards.

worm - A computer program that replicates itself and is self-propagating. Worms, as opposed to viruses, are designed for network environments.

WWW (World Wide Web) - Has two major meanings. First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext (HTTP) servers that is capable of multi-media communications (the actual Internet).


Xerox subsidy - Informal reference to making personal photocopies at workplace.

XHTML (eXtensible HyperText Markup Language) - A form of HTML that allows creation of web pages that are easily accessed, read, edited and modified.

X-I-10 - Internet short-hand for "exciting."

XME - Internet short-hand for "excuse me."

XML (extensible markup language) - Language for authoring Web pages that is more flexible than HTML.

XPFE (Cross Platform Front End) - Methods for creating Web applications that look and operate in the same manner on a variety of computer operating systems, such as Web browsers.


YA - Internet short-hand for "yet another."

Yahoo! - A popular Web index company, popular search destination, and Web magazine publisher.

YCT - Internet short-hand for "your comment to."


ZAK - Zero Administration Kits, developed by Microsoft for IT managers and original equipment manufacturers. They allow these parties to work with various Windows products in order to facilitate more efficient implementation and use of software management and administrative processes.

zen mail - E-mail message that has an empty message body area.

zip - Refers to reducing a file's size with a PC file compression program. Compression is usually used to make large files easier to transmit across the Internet.

ZIPIA - A data management method especially designed for working with musical instrument recordings.

zipper head - Informal term for a close-minded person.

Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary - The Bottom Line

We hope that the Insurance Online And Cyber Terms Glossary helps you to better understand the many online terms used on the Internet and how they relate to cyber liability and other insurance policies.

To find out what types of coverage your business needs, speak to a professional insurance broker with experience in insuring businesses like yours.

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