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Essential Computer Security: Everyone's Guide to Email, Internet, and Wireless Security 1st Edition
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About the Author
Tony Bradley, CISSP-ISSAP, is the Guide for the About.com site for Internet / Network Security. He has written for a variety of other web sites and publications including SearchSecurity.com, WindowsNetworking.com, Smart Computing Magazine and Information Security Magazine. Currently a security architect and consultant for a Fortune 100 company, Tony has driven security policies and technologies for antivirus and incident response for Fortune 500 companies and he has been network administrator and technical support for smaller companies. He is Microsoft Certified as an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) and MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) in Windows 2000 and an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) in Windows NT.
He has on average over 600,000 page views per month and 25,000 subscribers to his weekly newsletter. He created a 10-part Computer Security 101 Class which has had thousands of participants since its creation and continues to gain in popularity through word of mouth.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book does a decent job of laying out what it will cover and mostly picks topics that matter most, require the least amount of extra effort to make it happen. The book isn't just for one situation, either, and it covers some home network setups which include wireless routers and such. Overall, it seems to have picked its territory well.
It covers this territory in an OK fashion, which is to say that it gives an adequate treatment to the important topics but leaves a few spots uncovered. I'm pleased that it covers some basic WinXP stuff, like how to secure your accounts and such.
The chapter on passwords was OK, and about what I expected. Obviously these are important, as bots that perform brute force attacks to get in are as popular as ever. The chapter on patching is OK, but seems incomplete. It should have done a better job of covering Windows Update a little more thoroughly (it felt like it stopped short of this important feature) and a bit more on how to use built-in vendor supplied "I have an update available" stuff that is increasingly popular.
Part II is what's probably unique about this book, and gives some of the best meat around for this level of a book. It covers home networking safety (ie keeping the neighbor kid from using your WIFI and keeping your computers safe and usable behind a DSL firewall), email security (both your account credentials and attachment security), and spyware, adware, and general web-browser security. I would have liked to have seen the book advocate (with great reasons) Firefox over IE and Windows Defender in addition to AdAware and Hijack This.
Part 3 is about maintenance and backups, and it's decent. It slips into Linux advocacy in Chapter 12, which we could have done without.
The appendices are good, well reasoned and well executed. The case study and the basics covered complement the book well.
Overall the book does a decent job, and targets the kind of person who would like to know enough to participate in some popular forums and contribute, so they have some technical skills that they're growing. It wont do so well with people who are not very technically inclined, and that's not unsurprising.
There's a lot of goodies in only 278 pages.
A lot of books that have come out lately on home computer security are either too light to be of value, or focus more on identity theft and fraud prevention. These are important topics, but Tony sticks to bread-and-butter technical measures home users need to understand.
There's real meat in here that goes into surprising detail that's easy to follow that I've haven't seen in other recent books. Tony does a good job of covering setting up Local Security policies on Windows machines, for example. This is something I've only seen in hardcore techie manuals that probably wouldn't normally be seen by most home users.
There's a great chapter on disaster recovery, how to follow security bulletins from Microsoft and apply patches regularly. And, for the daring home use, even a chapter on setting up Linux.
The case study for a small business is also well done and can provide valuable insight for a home user setting up their own network.
Essential Computer Security is complete yet simple and achieves the goal of its title.
help you understand why you should not open email from people you do
not know or how an IP address relates to the DNS, this book is for
you. If you have ever wanted a personal network security consultant
always on-call to explain the workings of daily network security
issues, this book will meet that need at a fraction of a percentage of
The author sketches the general framework of a both wired and wireless
networks. He then discusses in detail the risks associated with each
application that uses those networks -- email, web browser, etc. In
each case, his explanations are well-worded such that, by the end of
any section, the reader feels like they grok the philosophy of
security and has always known what the author just taught them. He
does not obfuscate the content of the book in unexplained acronyms and
unnecessary details but keeps his task of empowering the average user
always in view.
Aside from covering the basics of network dynamics and applications
used by the average internet user, the book offers two other boons for
small and medium business users. For those who are unsure what a
computer firewall is and how to deploy one effectively, the author
offers an in-depth discussion of the subject via a case study. In
addition, for those who are frustrated with Windows security lapses,
another chapter offers a comprehensive discussion of alternatives to
Windows applications and offers counsel on how to migrate to Linux.
Unlike other books, the author does not talk down to the reader but
shares his extensive knowledge as a co-labourer in the reader's
efforts. I wish I could have given this book to users when I worked
for a major university -- but then I would have been out of a job!
Simply put: This is one of the best computer security books for users
that I have seen for several years.