Packers are used to compress a file. While this may be done for legitimate reasons – to save disk space or reduce data transmission time – packers are also used by cybercriminals as a form of code obfuscation. The packing forms an extra layer of code that’s wrapped around a piece of malware to conceal it. This is done to make it harder for anti-malware researchers to reverse engineer the code, or to hinder analysis of the code using heuristics.… Read Full Article


A patch provides additional, revised or updated code for an operating system or application. Except for open source software, most software vendors do not publish their source code: so patches are normally pieces of binary code that are patched into an existing program (using an install program).


In the world of malware, the term payload is used to describe what a virus, worm or Trojan is designed to do on a victim’s computer. For example, payload of malicious programs includes damage to data, theft of confidential information and damage to computer-based systems or processes.

Peer-to-peer, P2P

The term peer-to-peer can be applied to a network system in which there is no dedicated network server and in which each machine has both server and client capabilities. Today, the term P2P is more commonly applied to a temporary connection shared by users running the same application, allowing them to share files on each other’s computers


Phishing is a form of cybercrime based on social engineering techniques. The name phishing is a conscious misspelling of the word fishing and involves stealing confidential data from a person’s computer and subsequently using the data to steal their money. The cybercriminal creates an almost 100% perfect replica of a financial institution or online commerce web site. They then try to lure unsuspecting victims to the site to trick them into disclosing their login, password, credit card number, PIN, etc.… Read Full Article


A software component used as a part of a program or a website engine that adds specific features to it, so that it can be customized. Commonly used in web browsers.

Potentially unwanted programs, PUP

This term is used to describe programs that might have undesirable effects on a computer. This includes adware, pornware, riskware and other programs that interfere with the normal working of the computer. In contrast to malware, which is installed without knowledge or consent, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) are installed with the consent of the person whose computer it is. However, this might be tacit consent. For example, a potentially unwanted program might be bundled with a free program, or its… Read Full Article

Proactive detection

This is a generic term for technologies used by an anti-malware product to detect new, unknown threats, without the need for a specific signature. They include heuristics, behavioural analysis, application whitelisting and exploit detection. Anti-malware programs have never relied exclusively on signature analysis. However, as malicious programs have become more numerous, faster spreading and more dangerous, the role of proactive detection technologies has grown.

Proxy server

A proxy server stands between users on a network and the Internet. When someone on the network requests a web page through their browser, the request goes through the proxy server. The proxy server checks its cache, to see if the page has been requested before: if it has, there’s no need for the proxy server to access the Internet, thus providing quicker access to cached pages.

PSW Trojans (Password-stealing Trojans)

These Trojans are designed to steal passwords from the victim’s computer (although some steal other types of information also: IP address, registration details, e-mail client details, and so on). This information is then sent to an e-mail address coded into the body of the Trojan. The first PSW Trojans emerged in the 1990s and were AOL password stealing Trojans.