Cybersecurity ABCs

We know it can be tough to keep up with the latest tech terms and lingo. Whether you’re a straight-A computer whiz or just learning how to read ‘tech’. ‘Back-to-school’ is the perfect time to review your cybersecurity ABCs!

An image of code on a screen that reads "authentication failed".


Adware – An unwanted software or application that displays advertisements on your computer. It normally disguises itself as legitimate software or comes bundled in another program or application to trick you into installing it. We have tons of tips for how to remove these pesky pop-ups here.

AdBlocker – A software designed to prevent advertisements from showing up on an application, network, or web browser. A common and trusted version of this software is Adblocker Plus.

Antivirus – A software program designed to monitor a system for malicious software, and then remove or quarantine any malicious programs found. The FixMeStick is a virus removal device so it is not ongoing protection. It is a deep clean to remove any viruses that sneak past your antivirus software. This is why we trust McAfee Total Protection to provide ongoing protection for our team and our customers! Then we run the FixMeStick at least once a month for a deep clean.

AuthenticationThe process of proving you are who you say you are on the Internet. This is done by giving one or more ‘authentication factors’. Authentication factors can be something you know like a password, something you have like a pre-approved phone or laptop, or something that is a part of you- like a fingerprint. Many platforms are now asking for two-factor (two types of) authentication (2FA). The idea is the more types of authentication you have in place, the more secure your account.

An image of someone typing on their computer while backing up their files.


Back Up: Creating a copy of your data onto a separate physical storage device (like an external hard drive) or online/cloud storage to prevent data loss. This way damaged or lost files can be restored. Backups should be created on a regular basis as you never know when accidents will happen. Here’s a good rule of thumb: run your monthly FixMeStick scan and then back up your computer!

Backdoor: A tool installed after a computer has been breached to allow the hacker to easily get around any security systems in place. The FixMeStick runs from outside your main operating system, which allows it to catch these backdoor threats that an antivirus might miss!

BIOS – Basic Input/Output System – the program a personal computer’s microprocessor (circuit-based data processor) uses to get the computer system started after you turn it on. It also manages data flow between the computer’s operating system (such as Windows) and attached devices such as the hard disk, video adapter, keyboard, mouse and printer. It’s a bit like the computer’s brain! You can often find a simulation on your computer manufacturer’s website, here’s an example of what we’re referring to.

Boot – The processing of starting a computer is called “booting”. The boot menu is a menu available when a computer is first starting. It can contain a number of different device options to boot to (or in other words, to start up from), including CDs, DVDs, flash drives, hard drives, or a LAN (network). Think of it as the main highway, and the devices you can start from are all the possible exits/destinations.

Broadband – Allows users to access the Internet and its related services at higher speeds.

Bug – A bug refers to an error, fault, or flaw in a computer program that may cause it to unexpectedly quit or behave in an unintended manner. All programs have them once and a while!

An image of a "B" for bitcoin, sitting on a laptop computer. Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency, a form of digital currency where information about transactions is stored on a database.


Cache- Pronounced “cash”, is a high-speed storage mechanism, either as a special section of the computer’s main memory or a separate high-speed storage device.

Cloud storage – “The cloud” is for storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet, instead of having the programs and data saved on your computer’s hard drive itself.

Cryptocurrency – A digital or virtual currency where transactions are verified and ledgers are maintained by a non-centralized computer database that uses strong cryptography. This makes it very difficult to counterfeit or double-spend. But be careful, there are many scams out there!

Cyberattack – An attempt to gain illegal access to a computer or computer system for the purpose of causing damage or harm.

Cybersecurity- Last but certainly not least, cybersecurity is protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks against systems and applications regardless of origin or threat type. It’s also often called Information technology (IT) security.

We hope you learned a thing or two and enjoyed this refresher course. Leave a comment below if you want to see the rest of the alphabet- cybersecurity style!


  1. Brian Mclean -

    hi i purchased a fixme stick software i am brian e mclean i paid for it with my td bank card i put the software on a older fixme stick i cleaned the three computers i have and it worked and it did not work again could you send me a link or a way i can correct this thankyou have great day.

    • Linda -

      Hi Brian! Click here for a detailed guide on how to use your FixMeStick. We’ve also followed-up with you by email to better assist you.

  2. Veljko Radenic -


    • Linda -

      Hi Veljko, glad you like our glossary, feel free to check our blog often as we publish new articles each week!

  3. Don Calder -

    Typo? In the explanation of the term Spyware, I believe “their” should be “third”.

    • Linda -

      Thanks, Don! Looks like we did make a typo there and it has just been corrected!

  4. C. Starratt -

    Your definition of ransomware is woefully incomplete. There is no mention of the malicious encryption of your computer’s files coupled with a demand for payment in bitcoin (usually) for a decryption key that may or may not be sent after you’ve paid up. What is there makes it sound as banal as regular spyware.

    • Linda -

      Great catch! Looks like we made a mistake there but we have since added the correct definition for Ransomware. Thank you for pointing that out!

    • Anonymous -

      Can you put this in plain English for someone like me who is NOT computer savvy.

  5. Ralph Russell -

    I ran FIXMESTICK recently..the 1st time it ran for 12 hours,and had restarted 1 time..was in the calculating mode for the last 2 hours,I manually shut down,used the computer several times the following day without any noticeable issues,connected FIXMESTICK at night and it ran for 11 hours and I had 1 threat that had a bug symbol .The 3 previous 3 full scans were completed in less than 6 hours,do you have any explanations of what might be causinh this ??

  6. Cynthia M -

    I have not been able to find my 16 digit key code. how can I obtain this for my fix me stick?

    • Linda -

      Hi Cynthia, you do not need a 16 digit code to run the FixMeStick. If you have any other question about this, please contact us at and we’ll get back to you!

      • Karen -

        does this work on device with unauthorized remote network access

        • Linda -

          Hi Karen, if you need to bypass any applications in your Windows system, we recommend running FixMeStick from a computer’s boot menu (aka. via the manual boot method). Click here to see how.

    • Linda -

      Hi Robert, thank you for these ideas! We’ll be adding new terms to this cybersecurity blog post as well as consider the ones you have suggested for future updates.

  7. Barbara -

    I would use my Fixmestick more often but if it has something that I need to remove at the end then I cannot get on internet and I always have to call my internet provider to get me back on. Most of the stuff it tells me for it to fix have to do with proxy server which I do not understand because I do not know the inner workings of the computer. I have the stick for lifetime but afraid of always getting booted out of internet. Sometimes I run it and just leave whatever it wants to fix alone.

  8. Michael Marks -

    Thank you Fixmestick for any knowledge that your or the company in general is able to furnish to the public, I understand that if I or anyone else has questions or inquiries that they will be answered or an attempt will be considered or made to answering them, correct?

    Thanks again,

    • Linda -

      Hi Michael, if you have any quetions the best way to reach us would be to send an email to and we’ll assist you from there! If you’d like to contact an agent in real time, please follow these instructions:

      1. Go to during our operating hours (10 AM to 6 PM, EST, Mondays to Saturdays). You can do this using a smartphone, tablet, or your computer.
      2. Click on the orange ‘Support’ button at the bottom right corner, followed by ‘Live Chat’.
      3. Type in your name or email, followed by a brief message.
      4. Click on the “Start Chat” button.

    • Keegan Anfield -

      Hi Laura! FixMeStick doesn’t install anything so you don’t have to take off the old one. You can use your new one and you’ll be good to go. We recommend running it about once a month. If you have any questions, let us know.

  9. lucy mcnemar -

    I brought the fix me stick the life time one .why is reed asking about removing the old fix me I have buy a new one

    • Linda -

      Hi Lucy, I checked your email address and there is only one FixMeStick registered to it. The FixMeStick should be good to use. If you run into any problems using it, please email and we’ll assist you from there!

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