This blog is the continuation of defining words that have popped into our lives because of the focus in this day and age on technology. This week we are going to research the words that either have had other common meanings or are totally misspelled conventional words like: Pwned (poned as in cornbread), Pharming (production of pharmaceuticals), Phishing (Fishing), Phreaking (freaking), Trojan Horse( a story about a deceptive use of a wooden horse as a gift), Organic (foods grown without fertilizers or pesticides), Churn (butter is churned) and Spam (a processed canned meat product).
1) Pwned: pwned is the word that is assumed to mean being “owned”. It originated in an online video game and this verb is used to express gloating dominance, triumphant conquering, prideful ownership, smirking control and a winning victory. The word pwnage is the noun that basically has the same meaning, pointing to a severe defeat or intense failure.
2) Pharming: pharming is a word made of two words: “Phishing” and “Farming” and together they are trouble in the making. Pharming is basically a cyber-attack where the intent is to redirect you to a different fake site. The goal is to attain User Names and Passwords which leads to identity theft.
3) Phishing: phishing is like fishing in that there is the use of bait with the expectation to catch a victim. To take it a step further, the word “whaling” is used to specifically catch higher profile people like Senior Executives or Upper Management. According to Wikipedia, “phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication (any transmission of signs, signals, messages, words, writings, images and sounds or information of any nature by wire, radio, optical or electromagnetic systems).
4) Phreaking: phreaking is closely associated to computer hacking where information is stolen by using telecommunication systems such as telephone networks. With the popularity of cell phones, fraudulent phreaking has almost vanished because much of the phreaking involved long distance toll fraud.
5) Trojan Horse: the term “Trojan horse” is used when the there is an intention to win by using deception. So in computer terms, we need to stay vigilant not to allow programs or devices that may contain concealed or hidden instructions to compromise our systems with some malicious action. My most recent revelation about this is being given a FREE flash drive. The price is right, I don’t know about you but I love free! But I then received words from the wise that even though I may trust the Giver of this free gift that the flash drive may have been infected by the person loading it with the promised information or marketing material etc.
6) Organic: the term “organic” is used to describe content especially in social media that gets high ranking because Users/Readers have “liked” it or “reposted/shared” it. In contrast, rankings with high marks because individuals or companies have actually paid to promote the content or site in hopes of generating more traffic to their website. Search engines may display it as “paid listings” or “sponsored links” or “sponsored results”. So popular articles and videos that go “viral” (spreads far and wide quickly) by online sharing would be considered organic.
7) Churn: Churn in technology is similar to the unscrupulous trading by financial Brokers to generate more commissions in that this churn is a preemptive tactic motivated by profit. Churning is the cycle of replacing existing products, methods, operating systems causing sales while not bringing any real value or merit. This change may be financially expensive with no real advantages except a lot of excitement over some “new” and “improved” product. Also some of the secondary expense comes from the incompatibility between past versions.
8) Spam: Spam refers to electronic unsolicited junk email or unwanted postings and can also be found in text messages. It is a violation of manners and “netiquette” (internet etiquette). “Graymail” is a different type of spam, it is when someone actually has “opted in” to receive a subscription and is now being inundated with emails.
Back to the Basics: Computer Terms and Words 101 SERIES continued next week: 8 more words defined in Part 4