Glossary Entry: Port (networking)

Quick Definition

When computers send information to one another, they also need to specify which program is to receive that information. To do this, operating systems* provide "ports" that programs can use.

Each port is a bit like a telephone: programs use specific ports to call programs on other machines, and are said to be "listening" to a port when they are waiting for another program to contact them.

Worms* are notorious for smuggling copies of themselves through ports. This permits the malware* to spread the infection without a user knowing.

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