• F-L


    A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that provides a barrier between your computer and the Internet. A firewall will prevent intruders or ‘hackers’ from gaining access to your computer and should be updated regularly. Popular personal firewall software such as ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite from Zone Labs, McAfee Internet Security Suite, or Norton Internet Security can help to protect your computer.


    A hacker is a person who uses a computer to break into other computer systems in order to steal, change or destroy information. To protect yourself from hackers you should install firewall software on your computer and keep it up-to-date. Popular Personal Firewall Software such as ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite from Zone Labs, McAfee Internet Security Suite, or Norton Internet Security can help to protect your computer.

    Identity theft

    Identity theft is when someone else steals your personal information without your knowledge. They may then use your details to commit fraud.

    Instant Messaging (IM)

    Instant Messaging is real-time text communication between two or more people over the internet. One person can type a message and send it to the other person who will see the message right away.


    A keylogger is a malicious piece of software that can record the keys pressed on your keyboard while you are using your computer without your knowledge. Keyloggers are primarily used by fraudsters to obtain security information and log in details for websites that you visit. Popular anti-virus software such as ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite from Zone Labs, McAfee Internet Security Suite, or Norton Internet Security can help protect your computer from the latest keylogging programs.

  • M-P


    Malware is a collective name for malicious software created by fraudsters to infiltrate your computer. There are many forms of malware such as Viruses, Trojans, Spyware and Scareware.

    Money Mule

    ‘Money mule’ is a term used to describe someone who is recruited by fraudsters needing to launder funds that they have obtained illegally. Even if the mule has nothing to do with the actual extraction of funds from another person’s account, by allowing their account to be used to receive and transfer such funds, they are acting illegally.

    Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)

    Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) is where verification is not solely through information someone knows (e.g. Password, or PIN). Usually the second factor will involve verifying something in the individual’s possession (e.g. their phone, or bank card), or alternatively a biometric characteristic (e.g. fingerprint or retina scan) could be used.


    Patches are software security updates issued by manufacturers when security vulnerabilities are found in their software. Patches are designed to fix vulnerabilities and are usually downloaded via the Internet. Many software programs will automatically alert you when new patches are available or can be set to download security updates automatically. It’s recommended that you keep your computer safe by regularly applying any security patches.


    Pharming is when fraudsters create false websites in the hope that people will visit them by mistake. People can sometimes visit false websites through mistyping a website address, or occasionally a fraudster will try to attack a website and redirect its internet traffic to their own websites. The ‘Pharmer’ will then try to obtain your personal details when you enter them into a false website. The websites can look very realistic, but there will be subtle differences between them and the real thing. Always make sure to check whether a website is secure.


    Phishing scams are emails that may appear to be real, but they ask you to enter personal information or they have links to websites that may look genuine but are in fact ‘spoof’ web sites. When you click on a link or enter your personal details, the information is sent to someone other than your bank or other service providers. 'Phishing’ is a play on the word ‘fishing’ where a fraudster casts a line in the hope that an unsuspecting person will take the bait.

    Halifax may send you emails from time to time. We will never send an email asking for your security information or log on details, or direct you to a web page that asks for this information. For a quick way to tell if an email is genuine, check for your name at the top of the email. We know who you are so we’ll always greet you personally, but fraudsters are unlikely to know your name.

    If you think that a fraudster has your Internet banking details, or that someone other than you has accessed your account online, call us immediately on 0345 602 0000 (00444 1132 851 888 from overseas).

    Pop up

    Pop ups are a form of online advertising. They will open automatically when you visit some websites. You may also experience pop under windows that open behind your browser window making it harder to know which website generated them.

  • Q-Z


    Scareware is a type of malware that generates pop-ups resembling Windows system messages, pretending to be antivirus or antispyware software, a firewall application or a registry cleaner. The messages usually trick users into believing that their computer has a a large number of infected files. The user is then advised to purchase software to fix the problems. However, in reality the problems do not exist and the recommended software download is likely to contain real malware.

    Search engine

    A search engine is a tool that helps you to search for information online. The information may consist of web pages, images, information and other types of files. A few of the most popular are Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Bing.

    Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

    'SSL' is a method of coding that enables private communication between a web browser and a web server. Many web sites use 'SSL' to ensure customer information, such as banking details, is kept secure. Normally you will not be aware of 'SSL' as it works automatically when you access a secure web site. You can tell if you’re accessing a secure web site by checking the address bar along the top of your screen to ensure the address begins with ‘https’. If you are using Internet Explorer, you should see an icon that looks like a closed padlock at the bottom right-hand side of your screen. This padlock indicates you are in a secure session.

    Shoulder surfing

    Shoulder surfing is a term used for anyone observing what you are doing on a computer or ATM. Beware of anyone standing or sitting closely behind you who may try to watch you when you enter personal details.

    Site certificate

    Site certificates form an essential part of providing reassurance that the site you are visiting is genuine. A site certificate shows you that a secure connection has been established and secure communication can take place. It will also demonstrate that you are not being tricked to enter your details on a fraudulent website.

    Social engineering

    Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. All social engineering techniques are based on the way people make decisions. One of there techniques is called phishing.

    Social networking

    Online social networking is the use of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Friends Reunited to interact, display photos and share information about our lives.


    Spam is unsolicited and unwanted email.

    'Spoof' websites

    'Spoof' websites are fraudulent websites designed to look like legitimate ones. Email or ‘phishing’ scams asking people to update their details will often contain links to ‘spoof’ websites. If people enter their personal or security details on a fraudulent website, fraudsters can then use these details to access that person’s accounts.

    While we may email you from time to time, we will never send you emails with attachments, or ask you for your Internet banking information or direct you to log on to Internet banking.

    If you receive an email from an unknown source, or an email that contains unknown attachments or links, do not open the attachments or click on the links. Instead, please forward the email to and then delete it from your inbox without responding.


    Spyware is hidden software that secretly gathers information on your activity and personal information, passing it to a third party.


    A virus is a software programme that can reproduce itself and often carries harmful malware that could do harm to files and programmes on your computer. Viruses can be used to track what you do on your computer and allow unauthorised and potentially malicious access to your personal computer. Popular anti-virus software such as Zone Labs’ ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite, McAfee Virus Scan, Norton AntiVirus, or Sophos Anti-Virus can help protect your computer from the latest viruses.


    Wi-Fi is the ability to connect a computer or other device to the internet without the use of a cable. If a device is Wi-Fi enabled then it can connect to the internet from a wireless network. Many cities now have Wireless Hotspots, where members of the public can connect to the internet for free using their Wi-Fi enabled devices such as mobile phones or laptops.


    A worm is a harmful programme that travels across a network of computers. It may cause damage to the computers on the network and affect computer performance. Popular anti-virus software such as Zone Labs’ ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite, McAfee Virus Scan, Norton AntiVirus, or Sophos Anti-Virus can help protect your computer from the latest threats.



Adware is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer. This can happen after the software has been installed or while the application is being used.

Anti-virus software

Anti-virus software will detect and delete viruses that attempt to get on to your computer. Anti-virus software is only as effective as the last update so you should download the latest anti-virus software and signatures regularly from your preferred supplier. Popular anti-virus software such as ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite from Zone Labs, McAfee Virus Scan, Norton AntiVirus, or Sophos Anti-Virus can help to protect your computer from the latest viruses.


Bluetooth is a wireless protocol for exchanging data over short distances from fixed and mobile devices.


A cookie is information that a web site places on your computer so that it can remember something about you at a later time. Typically, a cookie records your preferences when using a particular site. Most browsers automatically accept cookies. You can set your browser options so that you will not receive cookies and you can also delete existing cookies from your browser. However, you may find that some parts of the website will not function properly if you refuse cookies.

Cyber stalking

Cyber stalking is when a person or group of people use the internet to track a person or groups movements, threaten, steal identity, damage data and cause distress and harassment.

Dialogue box

A Dialogue box is a window that creates a dialogue between you and your computer. It will usually inform you of something e.g. ‘you are running out of disc space’ or ask for some input ‘would you like to save?’.

Some viruses may try to trick you into clicking on or entering information into a dialogue box.


Encryption is the conversion of data into a coded form that cannot be understood by unauthorised people. Decryption is the process of converting coded data back into its original form, so it can be understood by an authorised person or company.