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Technology FAQ

Geeky words and concepts, explained

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About us

Outreach is a nonprofit organization founded to help at-risk groups reclaim their digital privacy and security. 

We want to help the vulnerable by exposing evil means of using what we love the most - the Internet.


Linus Nyman

Technology FAQ

Frequently asked questions about tech-related terminology and concepts.

BLUETOOTH is a means for computers and devices to communicate with one another over short(ish) distances. Your phone might use Bluetooth to send music to your wireless headphones. There are different classes of Bluetooth devices, with communication ranges varying from an arm’s length to the length of a football field.

BOX is a term sometimes used to mean a computer. So a “Linux box” is a computer running the Linux operating system (rather than, say, Windows or macOS operating systems).

DOS or DDOS are abbreviations for something called a "denial of Service attack" (DoS) or a "distributed denial of service attack" (DDoS).  In a DoS or DDoS attack, a website or service is flooded with so much traffic that it stops working. It's like if there were a thousand people who all flooded to your favourite lunch restaurant, then you - and any other real customers - wouldn't fit in.

HARDWARE refers to a the physical bits and pieces of a computer, phone, or other gadget. Software, conversely, refers to the programs on the hardware. Your phone is hardware, the apps on your phone are software.

IOT is short for "Internet of Things". An IoT device is, basically, a device that is connected to the Internet. Think "smart" devices like washing machines and watches. Typical features of IoT devices are remote access and collecting data through sensors in the device.

MALWARE comes from “malicious software” and means pretty much that – software designed to do unpleasant things. The commonly used term “virus” is an example of malware, but malware encompasses lots of other nasty software as well.

NETWORK refers to several computers connected to one-another. These networks can have different names depending on their size and structure. A local area network (or LAN) is a small network connecting, for instance, computers in a home, office or school. At the other end of the network size spectrum is the internet, which is also a network.

PWNED is slang (born out of a typo in a computer game) for “owned”.

SOFTWARE means a program that tells a computer what to do. So for instance the apps on your phone are software (while your phone, on the other hand, is "hardware").

SERVER is a term used for a computer (or program) whose job it is to serve content (or other functionality) to other computers. (These "other computers" are called “clients”.) A simple example of this is when you visit a website, like disobeyoutreach.com, the content you access is stored on a server. So, really, when you hear “server” you can just think “a computer”.

STALKERWARE is a software program used to monitor spouses or intimate partners. It operates by sending data stored on the phone (or computer) to a third party platform where activities such as calls, messages and social media activities of the victim of the monitoring can be viewed remotely.

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