Email is one of the most common forms of communication in today’s digital world. Whether it’s for work, business, or personal communication, emails are a great way to stay connected. With so many terms and acronyms associated with email, it can be difficult to keep up with the lingo. To help you out, here is a glossary of some of the most common email terms you should know.
Adware - A type of malware that displays unwanted advertisements.
APOP (Authenticated Post Office Protocol): This is an extension of the original POP protocol.
Attachment - A file that is attached to an email and sent along with the message.
Attachment: A file that is sent along with an email message.
Auto-responder: A feature that automatically sends a pre-written response to incoming emails.
Backscatter: Backscatter is a delivery failure report generated by a junk email that used an innocent third party's email address as the sender (which address receives the delivery failure message).
Base64: A method of encoding and decoding. It’s used to convert binary data transferred over the internet into the American Standard for Information Interchange (ASCII) text format.
BCC (Blind Carbon Copy): A feature that allows a sender to send a copy of an email to one or more recipients without revealing their email addresses to the other recipients.
Blacklist: A list of email addresses or domains that are considered spam and blocked by a spam filter.
Botnet - A network of compromised computers that are controlled by a malicious actor.
CC (Carbon Copy): A feature that allows a sender to send a copy of an email to one or more recipients along with the primary recipient.
Delivery Rate: The rate at which emails are successfully delivered to the intended recipient's inboxes without being blocked or bounced back.
Denial of Service (DoS) attack: An attempt to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users.
Digital certificate: A file that contains a public key and information about the identity of the owner of the key. Digital certificates are used to establish trust and authenticity in online transactions.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack: A type of DoS attack that uses multiple compromised devices to flood a target with traffic.
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): An authentication protocol used by ISPs and mail services to verify the identity of a sender and reduce spam emails from being sent out using their domain name or IP address.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): A protocol designed to prevent malicious actors from spoofing your domain name in order to send out phishing emails or other types of malicious messages using your domain name or IP address as a disguise for their activities.
Domain Name System (DNS): A system used by ISPs and mail services that translates domain names into IP addresses for successful delivery of emails across the internet infrastructure.
Drafts folder: A folder in an email program where unsent messages that are in progress are saved.
Email address - A unique identifier used to send and receive email messages.
Email Alias: An additional email address that is associated with an account. An email alias is a way of using an alternate name or address when sending emails.
Email bombing: The act of sending a large number of emails to a single recipient in an attempt to flood their inbox.
Email Client: A program used for sending and receiving emails, such as Outlook or Thunderbird.
Email envelope: An email envelope is a set of information that is used to deliver an email message to its intended recipient. It consists of a series of headers that are added to the top of the email message. These headers contain information about the sender, the recipient, the subject of the message, and other details.
Email server: A computer that stores and manages email accounts and messages.
Email signature: A block of text that is automatically added at the end of an email message.
Email spam: Unsolicited, bulk, or fraudulent emails.
Email spoofing: The act of sending an email with a fake sender address.
Email thread: A series of email messages with the same subject, organized in chronological order.
Email Tracking: A feature in some programs that allows users to view when an individual has opened an email they sent out and clicked on any links contained within it .
Encryption: The process of converting data into a coded form to prevent unauthorized access.
Forward: An email message that is sent to someone other than the original recipient.
HTML email: An email message that is formatted using HTML (Hypertext Markup Language).
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): A protocol for retrieving email messages from a server.
IMAP IDLE: IMAP IDLE is an optional expansion of the IMAP email accessing protocol that allows the server to send new message updates to the client in real-time.
Inbox: A folder in an email program where incoming messages are stored.
LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol): LDAP, short for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, defines a means to find and edit information in white pages.
List-Unsubscribe: List-Unsubscribe is an optional email header line that lets mailing list administrators specify means to unsubscribe from a mailing list or newsletter.
Mail merge: A process that allows you to send personalized emails to a large group of people by merging a list of email addresses with a template email.
Malware: Software that is designed to cause harm to a computer system or network.
Marketing email: Marketing email is a type of electronic communication that is used to promote a product or service to a targeted group of consumers through email. This can include newsletters, promotional offers, and other types of advertising content that is sent directly to the recipient's email inbox. Marketing emails are often used as part of a larger marketing strategy to reach potential customers and increase brand awareness.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions): A standard for encoding and decoding email messages to allow them to be sent over the internet.
Outbox: A folder in an email program where outgoing messages are stored until they are sent.
PGP (Pretty Good Privacy): A program that is used to encrypt and decrypt email messages.
Phishing: An attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by pretending to be a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
Plain text email: An email message that is not formatted using HTML or any other formatting language.
POP (Post Office Protocol): A protocol for retrieving email messages from a server.
Ransomware: A type of malware that encrypts a victim's files, making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker.
Reply All: An email message sent in response to another message, to all recipients of the original message.
Reply: An email message sent in response to another message.
RFC (Request For Comments): Request For Comments (RFC) is the format Internet standards are published in. RFCs relevant for email are published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and include RFC 821 for SMTP, RFC 822, which specifies the format of Internet email messages, or RFC 1939, which lays down the PO protocol.
S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions): A standard for encrypting and signing electronic messages.
Sent folder: A folder in an email program where copies of sent messages are stored.
Signature: A block of text or a logo that is automatically added to the end of an email message.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): A protocol for sending email messages over the internet.
Spam filter: A program or feature that attempts to identify and prevent spam emails from reaching a user's inbox.
Spam: Unsolicited or unwanted email, often sent in large quantities.
Spamvertise: Something is spamvertised when it is promoted (or merely appears) in spam. The term is commonly used with Web sites or email addresses that are part of the body of an unsolicited commercial email.
Subject - The title or brief summary of an email message.
Threadjacking: Threadjacking (also threadhacking) is to steer off the original topic in an email thread, especially on a mailing list.
Transactional emails: Transactional emails are automated emails that are sent to users in response to a specific action they have taken on a website or app. These emails are typically triggered by a user's interaction with the system, such as signing up for an account, making a purchase, or requesting a password reset. Transactional emails are meant to provide information or confirmation about a specific transaction or event, and are not generally used for marketing or promotional purposes. Examples of transactional emails include order confirmation emails, account verification emails, and password reset emails.
Trash/Deleted Items folder: A folder in an email program where deleted messages are stored until they are permanently removed from the account.
Trojan: A type of malware that appears legitimate but is actually malicious.
Virus: A type of malware that spreads by inserting copies of itself into other programs or files.
Whitelist: A list of email addresses or domains that are considered safe and allowed through a spam filter.
Worm: A type of malware that spreads by copying itself from one computer to another.