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Virus
A virus is a form of software designed to infect computers, typically with the goal of spreading automatically to other systems. Viruses may or may not cause damage, but are frequently associated with some form of undesirable event. Viruses can be spread via networks (e.g. the Internet or local area network) in the form of email attachments or downloads, or can be present on a disk or CD.
Trojan
A Trojan (also called a Trojan horse) is a software program in which harmful or malicious code is contained within another (seemingly harmless) program. When this program executes, the Trojan performs a specific set of actions, usually working toward the goal of allowing itself to persist on the target system. Trojans can allow hackers to open backdoors on your system, giving them access to your files and even network connectivity.
Attachment
An attachment is a file that is attached to an email message. Attachments are normally considered separately from the body of the email message, and can be nearly any type of file. Attachments can contain malicious programs, such as viruses and Trojans, and should be opened with care (and scanned for viruses prior to being opened).
CC & BCC
CC (Carbon Copy) and BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) fields in your email client software allow you to send "carbon copies" (or duplicates) of an email message to other parties aside from the primary recipient. If a user receives a BCC of an email, the primary recipient will not know about it (thus they are "blind" to it).
Auto-responder
An automatic reply to an inbound email, which typically occurs at the mail server level. When going on vacation or leave, it's often wise to consider applying an auto-responder to your email account while you're gone.
Flaming
An email message that contains angry, and possibly insulting or vulgar, content. These are typically reactionary based upon some external event.
SMTP / ESMTP
Simple Mail Transport Protocol (and Extended SMTP) are the email transport protocols that allow email to be sent (outbound) via the network. When you decide to send an email to another user, your email client communicates with the mail server via SMTP protocol in order to transmit the message contents.
POP3
Post Office Protocol v3 is the transport protocol used for receiving emails. When you use your email client to retrieve email messages, the client communicates with the email server via POP3.
MIME
MIME (Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions) is an extension to the original suite of Internet protocols (including, but not limited to, email protocols) that allows users to exchange various types of data files on the Internet. MIME can be used to transport images, video, programs, and other binary file formats, as well as the email message text itself.
MTA
 
An MTA, or Mail Transfer Agent, is a piece of software designed to transfer email from one relay point to another, until the email reaches its destination. Most mail server software will act as an MTA and pass email messages to other mail servers in order to facilitate their delivery.
MUA
 
An MUA, or Mail User Agent, is a software program that acts on behalf of the user. Also known as a mail client, an MUA will allow you to compose an email message, and send it to the intended recipient.

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Revised: November 21, 2007