The Internet is an all-inclusive collection of information sources/protocols including email, instant messaging, etc.
Most of us spend hours every day online, learning on the fly about the Internet and all things digital. While the average person doesn’t have to learn how to write code, we need some understanding of the ‘geography’ of the Internet, beginning with basic definitions.
Paul Gil, an Internet basics expert, is among those who have recently posted information about Internet terms (About.com, December 2014).
Here’s a partial, introductory list—
1. The Internet vs. The Web
The Internet is an all-inclusive collection of information sources/protocols including email, instant messaging, etc. By comparison, The Web–World Wide Web for short–is the most popular among them. This is what you access via your web browser.
2. http vs. https
Http is the standard, old transfer protocol that allows your links to work on your web browser. Https, the ‘s’ standing for secured, is encrypted to hide your personal information and passwords. It’s highly advisable that you use a browser extension, e.g., https everywhere, to avoid being an easy target.
3. URL/IP Address
URLs (uniform resource locators) are web browser addresses of internet pages and other documents. Your IP (Internet Protocol address) is a four or eight-part number that identifies every digital device. URLs works in tandem with your IP to help you locate specific web pages.
You probably know that ISP stands for Internet Service Provider, usually a private company (e.g., AT&T, Comcast) that connects you to the Internet. When using a wireless digital device, we rely on a “WISP” (Wireless Internet Security Provider) to connect to the Internet?
5. Router/Network Router
A router is a hardware device, usually wireless, that manages network signals into your home or business. It provides decent-to poor-protection against hackers, depending on multiple factors. Be sure to change your router password periodically, especially if you’re still using the one provided when you set up your hardware, as criminals may know it. –Your router works in tandem with your modem and/or modem-router combination to maximize network speed and efficiency.
6. Social Engineering
I don’t much like the term ‘social engineering’ because I see it as an inappropriately positive-sounding label for phishing and other internet attacks. Remember to be vigilant when you get bogus notices via email, cellphone, etc. that can come in many forms, including notices from a bank that you’ve been hacked, credit card companies pretending to protect you, etc.
7. Addons and Plugins
Addons are customized software browser enhancements. New versions of Chrome, Firefox and other browsers include an amazing array of new addon choices. Some of them are terrific, but best to download only those that get high evaluations. Also, the more addons (and other software) that you have, the more likely it is that you’ll experience compatibility issues and other problems.
8. Cloud Computing
There’s nothing ‘etheric’ about cloud computing. It’s simply external software that you use either rent or use free. Online file storage is nothing new, but it has increased dramatically in recent years as (cloud) hard drive space now costs less than a dollar per gigabyte. Examples include Dropbox, Microsoft Skydrive and Google Docs.
Because a major computer crash can potentially result in devastating financial loss, I recommend that you backup all your important computer files both on an external hard drive and on the cloud as well.