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Glossary of Computer Forensics Terms

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Term Definition
Virtual Private Network

This usually refers to a network in which some of the parts are connected using the public Internet, but the data sent across the Internet is encrypted, so the entire network is ‘virtually’ private.


A malicious, self-replicating (or in some instances, executable) program with the potential to leave a computer or entire network inoperable. A virus attaches itself and spreads to files, programs, e-mail messages, and other storage media and may drain system resources (disk space, connections, and memory) and modify or wipe out files or display messages.

Volatile memory

Memory that loses its content when power is turned off or lost.

Volume boot sector

Since every partition may contain a different file system, each partition contains a ‘volume boot sector’ that is used to describe the type of file system on the partition and usually contains boot code necessary to mount a file system. This code is different from the Master Boot Record. The job of the volume boot code is to find a file in the root folder (io.sys in the case of DOS) that is then loaded and run to continue the boot process at a higher level. On Linux systems, the LILO boot loader serves the same purpose. It locates the Super Block that describes the rest of the file system.

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