30 Trendy Internet Slang Words and Acronyms You Need to Know to Fit In

internet-slang

The language of the internet evolves on a daily basis. Which means the internet can be a confusing place, even for someone who is using it every day. In fact, internet slang words have transformed language, so it’s crucial to learn the common phrases. Sure, you could refer to online slang dictionaries, but it’s difficult to stay clued in that way. Instead, we whipped up a quick crash course of trendy internet acronyms and phrases. 1. AMA: Ask Me Anything What It Means: Ask Me Anything is a series started on Reddit, where an authority on a subject fields open…

Read the full article: 30 Trendy Internet Slang Words and Acronyms You Need to Know to Fit In

internet-slang

The language of the internet evolves on a daily basis. Which means the internet can be a confusing place, even for someone who is using it every day. In fact, internet slang words have transformed language, so it’s crucial to learn the common phrases.

Sure, you could refer to online slang dictionaries, but it’s difficult to stay clued in that way. Instead, we whipped up a quick crash course of trendy internet acronyms and phrases.

1. AMA: Ask Me Anything

What It Means: Ask Me Anything is a series started on Reddit, where an authority on a subject fields open questions. It is now used more widely on the internet, with any sort of public Q&A being termed an AMA. For example:

“Hi, I am Adam Savage, co-host of Mythbusters, AMA!”

Incidentally, Savage’s AMAs have earned him a spot on our list of the best Reddit AMAs of all time.

2. Bae: Babe / Before Anyone Else

What It Means: Urban Dictionary says Bae is a Danish word for poop.

Unfortunately, the internet thinks it’s a term of endearment: either an acronym for “before anyone else” or a shortening of “babe”. Soon enough, pop stars Pharrell and Miley Cyrus turned it into a song, “Come get it, bae.” Sorry Danes, this is what the word means, now and forever. The good news is that most of the internet also treats it as a term of mockery in memes and captions for images, so you can feel free to use it to be sassy.

3. DAE: Does Anyone Else?

What It Means: DAE is generally a prefix for a question, where the person asking wants to know if they are not alone in whatever they are experiencing. It’s huge on Reddit, niche forums, and discussion groups, but is not used as regularly elsewhere on the internet. For example:

“DAE use the condensation from their fast food beverage container to clean their hands when a sink is not readily available?”

4. Dafuq: (What) the F***?

What It Means: The first time you see “dafuq” on the internet, you might think it’s a legitimate word. It’s not. Pronounce it, preferably while no kids are around. Dafuq is the internet’s way of saying WTF because the internet-made WTF was not already short enough.

5. DM: Direct Message

What It Means: Twitter’s Direct Message feature lets you send private messages to your friends, or receive private messages from anyone. It’s especially useful for sharing information you don’t want to post in public, like your phone number or address. “DM” is slowly becoming the default way of telling someone to message you privately, much like “PM” in the past for personal message/private message. For example:

“DM me your contact number plz!”

6. ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5

ELI5 or Explain Like I'm Five (years old)

What It Means: When someone gives a complex explanation for an event and you need them to dumb it down for you, ask them to “explain it like I’m 5 years old”, or ELI5. Most often, it’s used to explain science or technology in layman’s terms. This is big on Reddit, but not so big on other forums. Here’s an example from Hacker News.

7. FML: F*** My Life

fml

What It Means: As old as this is, it’s still used a lot. The idea is that when you go through an unfortunate event, share it with the world by tagging it with “FML”. Simple. It’s actually pretty therapeutic, especially if you want to confess your misfortunes anonymously at a place like FMyLife, which is one of the best sites to read true stories from real people.

8. FTFY: Fixed That For You

What It Means: This particular phrase is used in two ways. The first is literal, where if you say something that has an obvious unintentional mistake, another person on the internet corrects it for you, adding, “FTFY.” The other way is sarcastic. For example:

Mike says, “Android is far better than iOS”.

Stuart replies, “iOS is far better than Android #FTFY.”

9. Facepalm: “You Can’t Be That Dumb”

What It Means: When someone does something stupid, instinctively, your palm hits your own face or forehead. That entire series of action is now reduced to a single word: facepalm. It can be used to convey dismay, disappointment, ridicule, or disapproval.

10. Headdesk: Supreme Frustration

What It Means: Headdesk is the extreme facepalm. When someone says or does something monumentally idiotic, you hit your head on the desk to convey your utter loss of faith in humanity. As you flail for hope, take solace in the knowledge that at least you can express your feelings in one succinct word.

11. HIFW: How I Feel/Felt When

What It Means: This is another acronym that reduces the number of characters you type, giving you more space to say what you want in the 140-character limitation of Twitter. Typically, HIFW is paired with an image, video, or reaction GIF when words aren’t enough.

12. ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

What It Means: One of the few times the internet tries to be polite, ICYMI is just a precaution when you aren’t sure if other people already know about something, or when you are repeating something you have said before. It’s a way of saying, “You might have already seen this, but if not, here you go.”

13. IDGAF: I Don’t Give A F***

What It Means: A crass, emphatic way of saying that you don’t care.

14. IMO / IMHO: In My Opinion / In My Humble Opinion

What It Means: Another internet classic, IMO is the safe way to express your opinions without making it sound like you are proclaiming a universal truth. IMHO is the way to do that while seeming humble, or at least pretending to. For example:

IMHO, cursive writing is obsolete.

15. IRL: In Real Life

What It Means: The internet is the virtual life. People often have a whole second persona online, or keep their real life neatly separated from their online life. If you want to talk about something in your real life, the qualifier “IRL” is enough to let people know.

16. JSYK: Just So You Know

What It Means: FYI, if you still use “FYI” to be sassy when schooling someone, you’re old. JSYK is the new FYI, so get with it. End of.

17. Lulz: Laughs (“Just for Laughs”)

What It Means: Lulz is an off-shoot of LOLs*. Lulz is usually used in the form of “For the lulz”, which would be just like saying “for the kicks” or “for the laughs”. It’s a justification for whatever you’re doing or saying; the justification being that it’s for a few laughs.

*If you need to know what LOL is, then you should seek out a more basic “internet for Dummies 101” guide than this article.

18. MFW: My Face When | MRW: My Reaction When

What It Means: Like HIFW, these are mainly intended as reactions coupled with photos or GIFs. They are also often used to provide a funny caption to an image of a trending topic.

Of course, in the case of MFW, the image has to feature someone’s face.

19. MIRL: Me In Real Life

What It Means: MIRL is usually used as self-deprecating humor, especially when you see something online that you identify with. Otherwise, with something like a reaction GIF or a photo/video, you’d add a funny caption to it stating that’s how you are in real life.

20. NSFW: Not Safe For Work

What It Means: If you’re at the office, you don’t want to open a link that has nudity, graphic language, or anything offensive. If the link says “NSFW”, then it’s not safe to open in an environment where someone might see it and be offended.

21. NSFL: Not Safe For Life

What It Means: In internet lingo, NSFW is now used more for something that would be offensive in a formal environment, but would be fine if you’re around friends. NSFL usually has images, videos, or content so graphic that it could leave a mental scar, whether around others or not.

22. PAW: Parents Are Watching

What It Means: Literally that. If kids want to avoid saying or doing something while their parents are around, PAW is a warning to the recipient. In recent times, Code 9 has been also been used instead of PAW, although it hasn’t caught on that much yet. For example:

Her: You want to send me that Snapchat?

Him:PAW, later.

23. QFT: Quoted For Truth

What It Means: There are two ways this is used. First, when someone says something you agree with so vehemently that you couldn’t have said it better yourself. Second, when someone says something and you want to hold them to it in the future, as proof. For example:

A: “I gotta say, Bieber is pretty good sometimes.”

B: “QFT, I’ll remind you about this when you aren’t drunk.”

24. SMH: Shakes/Shaking My Head

What It Means: Like headdesk and facepalm, SMH is used to convey your disappointment at someone doing or saying something utterly stupid.

25. Squad Goals: The Friends/Group You Want

What It Means: Squad Goals is when you see a group you like, and either wish they were your group of friends, or wish your friends could rise up to their level.

26. TBT: Throwback Thursday

What It Means: When you want to post an old photo, hold off until Thursday and tag it with #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT. It’s a sure-fire way to get more likes and comments on Instagram. While TBT is used more on Instagram than anywhere else, it has become a central part of the internet’s lexicon.

27. TIL: Today I Learned

TIL stands for Today I Learned

What It Means: When you learn about information that isn’t new but is novel for you, share it with the world by adding a “TIL”. This is used almost everywhere on the internet, but originated on Reddit. In fact, the TIL subreddit is one of the best places to learn cool stuff. For example:

TIL Leonard Nimoy once gave a cab ride to JFK. The future president told the aspiring actor, “Lots of competition in your business, just like in mine. Just remember there’s always room for one more good one”.

28. TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read

What It Means: The internet is a treasure trove of detailed information, but sometimes, you haven’t got time to read the whole thing. TL;DR was invented to give a quick summary of the content.

 

29. YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary

What It Means: In a similar situation or with a product, your experience might not be the same as someone else’s experience. The internet has decided to make it easy to say that with “YMMV”.

30. YOLO: You Only Live Once

What It Means: YOLO is a justification for doing something that you probably shouldn’t be doing, but want to do anyway. It’s also used ironically as commentary on someone else doing something idiotic.

More Internet Slang Words to Learn

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the trendiest internet slang by any means, and more words are constantly being added to the lexicon. As technology evolves, so does the language we use on it. Which is why we already have more internet slang words you need to know. TBH, IDK many of these, HBU?

Image Credit: gualtiero boffi/Shutterstock

Read the full article: 30 Trendy Internet Slang Words and Acronyms You Need to Know to Fit In

What Is Vaporware? What to Know and How to Spot It

vaporware

You’ve read an article in the news about a product, service, or app that piques your interest. There’s a lot of press around it with a lot of exciting features. Perfect, you think. The company hasn’t given a firm release date, but it’s listed as summer that year. The summer months pass by with no word on a firm release date. You take to your favorite search engine and find nothing written about the product beyond its initial coverage. What’s going on? What happened? Well, you may have stumbled across a phenomenon known as vaporware. What Is Vaporware? In today’s…

Read the full article: What Is Vaporware? What to Know and How to Spot It

vaporware

You’ve read an article in the news about a product, service, or app that piques your interest. There’s a lot of press around it with a lot of exciting features. Perfect, you think. The company hasn’t given a firm release date, but it’s listed as summer that year.

The summer months pass by with no word on a firm release date. You take to your favorite search engine and find nothing written about the product beyond its initial coverage.

What’s going on? What happened? Well, you may have stumbled across a phenomenon known as vaporware.

What Is Vaporware?

In today’s always-on, 24-hour rolling news cycle, it’s all too easy for a company’s new product to get lost in the noise. Traditional television and print advertising are expensive, and digital ads don’t always engage customers. So what’s a company to do? In an attempt to claw their way into our thoughts, they have learned to exploit hype.

Product launches, interviews, attendance at trade shows, and prototypes are all sure-fire ways of generating news stories. Many businesses even tie that attention into crowdfunding campaigns to capitalize on that interest.

In recent years, the tech industry has matured so there are fewer genuinely innovative products. Investors, keen for growth, push their businesses to launch new and exciting products.

Photoshow Exhibition, Rome 2012 From Above
Image Credit: shopartgallery/Depositphotos

These product launches are often tied to annual events like IFA or CES. The major tech companies hold Fall events in September and October to announce their new lineup in time for Christmas. Restricted by timelines and encouraged by investors, many tech firms advertise products before they are ready for release.

The media coverage has the desired effect and generates customer interest. However, without a product ready to ship, there’s a lot that could prevent its eventual release. Production difficulties, design challenges, and feasibility could all stop product development in its tracks.

When the previously-announced product is laid to rest, there often isn’t any incentive for the company to advertise its demise. We, as consumers, are left waiting with baited breath for a firm release date, but sometimes it never arrives. The product, which never materialized, turns to vaporware.

3 Notable Examples of Vaporware

The specter of vaporware rears its head more often these days, but it has been a constant presence since the early days of modern computing. There are countless instances of misleading product announcements, but we’ve rounded up three notable examples.

1. Xenix

Long before the emergence of Windows, Microsoft developed a range of operating systems. The most influential was MS-DOS, which is widely credited for Microsoft’s position as one of the largest technology companies in the world. However, in 1979 Microsoft purchased a license for Version 7 Unix from AT&T.

The agreement meant that they couldn’t call their product Unix, so it was renamed Xenix and sold exclusively to OEMs rather than end-consumers.

Personal computing was still in its infancy in the early 1980s and the major technology companies of the time were battling for dominance. IBM and Microsoft had worked together on many projects earlier in the decade. However, in 1984 IBM spurned Microsoft’s Xenix for Interactive Systems Corporation’s PC/IX. Around the same time, AT&T began to market their own version of Unix known as System V.

The combined effect meant that Microsoft began to lose interest in Xenix. The development team were pulled from the project and reassigned to the OS/2 project with IBM. No official announcement was ever made about Xenix’s demise, but reports suggest that the origin of the term vaporware was a Microsoft developer when asked about the status of the project.

Microsoft quietly sold the rights to Xenix to SCO in 1987.

2. Half-Life 2: Episode Three

Valve is probably best known for Steam, their video game distribution platform. Steam was launched in 2003 and now accounts for almost 20% of global PC game sales with 150 million registered accounts. Before Steam, Valve produced the critically acclaimed first-person shooter gaming franchise Half-Life.

After two full-length games, Half-Life and Half-Life 2, Valve announced a trilogy of shorter games Half-Life 2: Episodes One, Two, and Three. Episode 2 was released in October 2007 and gained a score of 90/100 on Metacritic.

Half-Life 2: Episode Three was scheduled for release before Christmas 2007. The festive season came and went with no word from Valve on the game’s status. Concept art was leaked in 2008, but Valve still refused to comment. Many years passed with only fleeting references to Episode Three, although developers and writers even occasionally discussed it during interviews.

In a 2015 interview, Valve’s director Gabe Newell said that, in general, due to their management-less structure, game development only happens when a large number of employees decide to all work on a project together.

Many saw this as an implicit admission that Episode Three would never see the light of day. As of 2018, Valve has still not officially confirmed whether Half-Life 2: Episode Three has been canceled.

3. “Learn iPhone App Development” Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a juggernaut of crowdfunding. As of October 2018, the site has seen almost $4 billion pledged to over 150,000 projects. As huge as those numbers sound, that accounts for just 36% of all projects, with the remaining 64% failing to hit their targets.

Anyone with access to the internet can start a project on the site. This has caused Kickstarter, and crowdfunding generally, reputational blows thanks to scams, frauds, useless products, and project failures. As these sites allow creatives and designers to side-step the traditional routes to market for their product, they lend themselves reasonably well to vaporware too.

Programmer Taylor Beck launched his Kickstarter campaign “Learn iPhone App Development” in early 2014. Promising a series of training videos, the campaign surpassed its $2,000 target, eventually netting $54,626. Two days before he was due to release the product, Taylor published an update.

“Hello Everyone, This is the final update before the release of all of the content in just two days! … The next time you will hear from me will be on the 30th, which is in 2 days from now. Make sure to check for the update then!”

Taylor Beck then disappeared. He closed his social media accounts, deleted his blog, and offered no further updates. Four years on and there has still been no update or explanation.

It’s not clear whether Beck simply wasn’t able to deliver on his campaign promises and panicked, or whether he intentionally defrauded backers. Without confirmation, either way, Learn iPhone App Development earns its place in the ever-growing list of crowdfunding vaporware.

How to Spot Vaporware

In general, the idiom “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” applies here. Of course, we all enjoy technology and get excited about the latest products and innovations. However, we can still sometimes fall victim to effective marketing. Many media organizations also publish press releases word-for-word making it tricky to find objective reporting.

If a company announces a new product that gets you passionate, take a critical look at what they’ve told you so far. Although not foolproof, there are some markers to watch out for. Is there a firm release date or is it at some vague or unspecified point in the future? Do their claims sound reasonable and achievable? Does the company have a good track record?

Things get a little trickier with crowdfunding campaigns. If the project reaches its goal, then your money goes straight to the creator, with little opportunity for recourse. The same critical thinking applies here too, but there are some additional things to consider before backing a project.

Read the full article: What Is Vaporware? What to Know and How to Spot It

Modular Malware: The New Stealthy Attack Stealing Your Data

modular-malware

Malware comes in all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, the sophistication of malware has grown considerably over the years. Attackers realize that trying to fit every aspect of their malicious package into a single payload isn’t always the most efficient way. Over time, malware has become modular. That is, some malware variants can use different modules to alter how they affect a target system. So, what is modular malware and how does it work? What Is Modular Malware? Modular malware is an advanced threat that attacks a system in different stages. Instead of blasting through the front door, modular malware takes…

Read the full article: Modular Malware: The New Stealthy Attack Stealing Your Data

Malware comes in all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, the sophistication of malware has grown considerably over the years. Attackers realize that trying to fit every aspect of their malicious package into a single payload isn’t always the most efficient way.

Over time, malware has become modular. That is, some malware variants can use different modules to alter how they affect a target system. So, what is modular malware and how does it work?

What Is Modular Malware?

Modular malware is an advanced threat that attacks a system in different stages. Instead of blasting through the front door, modular malware takes a subtler approach.

It does that by only installing the essential components first. Then, instead of causing a fanfare and alerting users to its presence, the first module scouts out the system and network security; who is in charge, what protections are running, where the malware can find vulnerabilities, what exploits have the best chance of success, and so on.

After successfully scoping out the local environment, the first stage malware module can dial home to its command and control (C2) server. The C2 can then send back further instructions along with additional malware modules to take advantage of the specific environment the malware is operating in.

Modular malware has several benefits in comparison with malware that packs all of its functionality into a single payload.

  • The malware author can rapidly change the malware signature to evade antivirus and other security programs.
  • Modular malware allows extensive functionality for a variety of environments. In that, authors can react to specific targets, or alternatively, earmark specific modules for use in particular environments.
  • The initial modules are tiny and somewhat easier to obfuscate.
  • Combining multiple malware modules keeps security researchers guessing as to what will come next.

Modular malware isn’t a sudden new threat. Malware developers have made efficient use of modular malware programs for a long time. The difference is that security researchers are encountering more modular malware in a wider range of situations. Researchers have also spotted the enormous Necurs botnet (infamous for distributing the Dridex and Locky ransomware variants) distributing modular malware payloads. (What is a botnet, anyway?)

Modular Malware Examples

There are some very interesting modular malware examples. Here are a few for you to consider.

VPNFilter

VPNFilter is a recent malware variant that attacks routers and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The malware works in three stages.

The first stage malware contacts a command and control server to download the stage two module. The second stage module collects data, executes commands, and can interfere with device management (including the ability to “brick” a router, IoT, or NAS device). The second stage can also download third stage modules, which work like plugins for the second stage. The stage three modules include a packet sniffer for SCADA traffic, a packet injection module, and a module that allows the stage 2 malware to communicate using the Tor network.

You can learn more about VPNFilter, where it came from, and how to spot it right here.

T9000

Palo Alto Networks security researchers uncovered the T9000 malware (no relation to Terminator or Skynet… or is it?!).

T9000 is an intelligence and data gathering tool. Once installed, T9000 lets an attacker “capture encrypted data, take screenshots of specific applications and specifically target Skype users,” as well as Microsoft Office product files. T9000 comes with different modules designed to evade up-to 24 different security products, altering its installation process to remain under the radar.

DanaBot

DanaBot is a multi-stage banking Trojan with different plugins that the author uses to extend its functionality. (How to swiftly and effectively deal with remote access Trojans.) For instance, in May 2018, DanaBot was spotted in a series of attacks against Australian banks. At the time, researchers uncovered a packet sniffing and injection plugin, a VNC remote viewing plugin, a data harvesting plugin, and a Tor plugin that allows for secure communication.

“DanaBot is a banking Trojan, meaning that it is necessarily geo-targeted to a degree,” reads the Proofpoint DanaBot blog entry. “Adoption by high-volume actors, though, as we saw in the US campaign, suggests active development, geographic expansion, and ongoing threat actor interest in the malware. The malware itself contains a number of anti-analysis features, as well as updated stealer and remote-control modules, further increasing its attractiveness and utility to threat actors.”

Marap, AdvisorsBot, and CobInt

I’m combining three modular malware variants into one section as the awesome security researchers at Proofpoint discovered all three. The modular malware variants bear similarities but have different uses. Furthermore, CobInt forms part of a campaign for the Cobalt Group, a criminal organization with ties to a long list of banking and financial cybercrime.

Marap and AdvisorsBot were both spotted scoping out target systems for defense and network mapping, and whether the malware should download the full payload. If the target system is of sufficient interest (e.g., has value), the malware calls for the second stage of the attack.

Like other modular malware variants, Marap, AdvisorsBot, and CobInt follow a three-step flow. The first stage is typically an email with an infected attachment that carries the initial exploit. If the exploit executes, the malware immediately requests the second stage. The second stage carries the reconnaissance module which assesses the security measures and network landscape of the target system. If the malware considers everything is suitable, the third and final module downloads, including the main payload.

Proofpoint anaylsis of:

Mayhem

Mayhem is a slightly older modular malware variant, first coming to light back in 2014. However, Mayhem remains a great modular malware example. The malware, uncovered by security researchers at Yandex, targets Linux and Unix web servers. It installs via a malicious PHP script.

Once installed, the script can call upon several plugins that define the malware’s ultimate use.

The plugins include a brute force password cracker that targets FTP, WordPress, and Joomla accounts, a web crawler to search for other vulnerable servers, and a tool that exploits the Heartbleed OpenSLL vulnerability.

DiamondFox

Our final modular malware variant is also one of the most complete. It is also one of the most worrying, for a couple of reasons.

Reason one: DiamondFox is a modular botnet for sale on various underground forums. Potential cybercriminals can purchase the DiamondFox modular botnet package to gain access to a wide range of advanced attack capabilities. The tool is regularly updated and, like all good online services, has personalized customer support. (It even has a change-log!)

Reason two: the DiamondFox modular botnet comes with a range of plugins. These are turned on and off through a dashboard that wouldn’t be out of place as a smart home app. Plugins include tailored espionage tools, credential stealing tools, DDoS tools, keyloggers, spam mailers, and even a RAM scraper.

Warning: the following video has music you may or may not enjoy.

How to Stop a Modular Malware Attack

At the current time, no specific tool protects against a specific modular malware variant. Also, some modular malware variants have limited geographic scope. For instance, Marap, AdvisorsBot, and CobInt are primarily found in Russia and CIS nations.

That said, the Proofpoint researchers pointed out that despite current geographical limitations, if other criminals see such an established criminal organization using modular malware, others will certainly follow suit.

Awareness as to how modular malware arrives on your system is important. The majority use infected email attachments, usually containing a Microsoft Office document with a malicious VBA script. Attackers use this method because it is easy to send infected emails to millions of potential targets. Furthermore, the initial exploit is tiny and easily disguised as an Office file.

As ever, make sure you keep your system up to date, and consider investing in Malwarebytes Premium—it’s worth it!

Read the full article: Modular Malware: The New Stealthy Attack Stealing Your Data