Ever had to deal with a computer virus? If so, you know the stress and labor involved with making sure your files are safe and sound – which may mean paying a lot of money for an expert to come in and help you get rid of it.

Keeping up with technology updates is important for the security of our personal data, but can be a little overwhelming, especially when it comes to making sure your computer is safe from harmful viruses. There are plenty of security options available – the real key is understanding the terminology so you can make an informed decision about what is happening should you encounter a problem, and what to do about it.

Following are some terms to get to know, gathered from McAfee security’s website:

Virus: A virus is a manmade program or piece of code that causes an unexpected, usually negative, effect. Viruses are often disguised games or images with clever titles such as "Open immediately."

Spyware: Spyware is a wide range of unwanted programs that exploit infected computers for commercial gain. They can deliver unsolicited pop-up advertisements, steal personal information (including financial information such as credit card numbers), monitor web-browsing activity for marketing purposes, or route HTTP requests to advertising sites.

Spam: Spam is unsolicited bulk electronic messages. Sometimes spam includes legitimate advertisements, but other times it can be a phishing tactic to gain personal information.

Phishing: Phishing is a form of criminal activity using emotional manipulation to lure people online, usually through email or instant messaging. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire other people’s personal information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business.

Trojan Horse: Trojan horse program is a malicious program that pretends to be something beneficial; a Trojan horse program purposefully does something the user does not expect. Trojans are not viruses since they do not replicate, but Trojan horse programs can be just as destructive.

Worm: These are viruses that reside in the active memory of a computer and duplicate themselves. They may send copies of themselves to other computers, such as through email or messaging programs.

Backup: A backup is a duplicate copy of data made for archiving purposes or for protection against damage and loss. This should be done every day in order to avoid losing data to malware, viruses, or other online security risks.

Malware: Malware is a generic term used to describe malicious software such as viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, and malicious active content.

Firewall: A firewall prevents computers on a network from communicating directly with outside computer systems. A firewall typically acts as a barrier through which all information passing between the networks and the external systems must travel. The firewall software analyzes information passing between the two and rejects it if it does not conform to its guidelines.