Endpoint or computer? A call for plain speaking

I admit it. I’ve had it up to here with the word “endpoint”.

It’s beloved by the marketing departments from Cupertino to Abingdon and back all the way to Santa Clara, but I don’t believe that any of you are actually using it in ordinary English. And that’s why I’m going to do my damnedest to ban it from the Clu-blog.

And I’m not saying that this blog hasn’t occasionally been guilty of throwing the odd ridiculous word into conversation. A quick look through the archives show that I’ve not been adverse to throwing the likes of mundungus and anti-flappertanknibble into conversation in the past.

But I believe that computer security is complex enough without us confusing users by embracing words like “endpoint” rather than the somewhat more simple alternative, “computer”.

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So, to help everyone understand why security vendors use the word “endpoint” rather than “computer”, I thought we could have a little competition. A prize is at stake for the first person who can spot the difference between these two endpoints.. err.. computers.

Endpoint or computer. Can you see any differences?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you guys out there in system administrator land regularly talk about endpoints rather than PCs, in which case take my poll and prove me wrong.

[polldaddy poll=1915487]

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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