Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Security

Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Security

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Computer Security is a huge issue for most people, whether it be concern about the many viruses that are passed via disks and email or whether it be concern for personal details when shopping online. Of course there are many ways to protect your computer and your details and this book explains them all. Written in the usual, extremeloy popular, Idiot's Guide style, this book will appeal to anyone with a PC.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 188 x 235 x 23mm | 774g
  • Prentice Hall
  • Upper Saddle River, United States
  • 0130081558
  • 9780130081551

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Table of contents


Introduction xiii

Part 1: Know Your Enemy 1

1 `Don't Buy A Computer, But...'

Beware The Enemy On Your Desktop 3

Are You The Master Of Your Own Computer? 6

Meet Our Cast Of Characters 7

Thinking Secure Thoughts 11

Operating System Alert 12

Watch Out For Relatives, Friends And Colleagues 14

The Balanced Approach To Computer Security 15

2 `...If You Buy A Computer, Don't Turn It On' 19

A Mish-mash Of Mismatched Machinery 19

Causes Of Hardware Failures 21

Acts Of God (And The Electric Company) 23

Doing It Yourself 25

Is Your Computer Out-of-date? 28

Buying A Machine With Security In Mind 31

3 SOS (Save Our Operating System) 35

Pity Your Operating System 35

The Windows OS And Application Software 38

-How Application Software Integrates With The OS (The_ Windows API) 39

Knowing The Weaknesses In Windows 40

Responding To Windows Error Messages 41

Updating Your OS From The Internet 43

Configuring Your OS For Stability And Security 45

4 Building A Secure System 55

Do-it-yourself Computer Building 55

Designing Your Own Hardware Platform 57

Planning Your Disk Drive Configuration 59

Choosing The Right Software 61

Organizing Your Computer Work Space 63

A Quick Look At Other Operating Systems 66

5 Vicious Viruses, Wiggling Worms And Bouncing Bombs 69

What's Bugging You? 69

The Low-down On Computer Viruses, Worms And Logic _ Bombs 72

How Computer Viruses Attack Your Computer 76

Spotting The Invaders In Your Own System 79

Tracking Down Anti-virus Software 87

Dealing With the Aftermath 90

Part 2: Taking Control Of Your Own Machine 93

6 Thinking Digital 95

Understanding Digital Data 95

Digital Data Representation 98

Storing Digital Data 99

Programs Versus Data 100

Data Storage Locations 102

Data Security Strategies 105

7 The Curse Of Software 109

Why Software Is So Fragile 109

How Software Operates Within The Windows Environment 110

Common Software Problems 111

How To Deal With Software Crashes 113

-Emergency Brakes - The Three-finger Salute 115

Taking Control Of Software Operations 117

Stopping The Auto-starters 121

-Housekeeping Routines - Keeping Your System Spick And _ Span 125

8 In With The New And Out With The Old 129

Loading Up Trouble For Yourself 129

How New Software Installs Onto Your Computer 130

The Hazards Of Installing New Software 132

How To Install New Software Safely 135

How To Remove Rogue Software Completely 137

9 Back-ups - Computer Lifesavers 141

The Terrible Risks To Stored Data 141

You Are Backing Up Your Data - Aren't You? 142

-The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Different Back-up _ Media 143

Deciding On A Back-up Strategy 144

Using Windows' Back-up Utility 150

Save Disk Space With A Compressed Back-up 152

Third-party Back-up Software 152

Part 3: Going Cryptographic 157

10 What Have You Got To Hide? 159

Your Right To Privacy 159

Scrambling Your Secrets 163

The Mechanics Of Data Encryption 163

Choosing Your Passwords And Pass-phrases 168

Hiding The Existence Of Data (Steganography) 170

Encryption Algorithms - The Tricks That Frighten _ Governments 171

11 Locking Up Your Secrets 175

Choosing The Right Level Of Security 175

Level 1: Basic Security 177

Level 2: Serious Security 182

Level 3: Advanced Security 189

12 Wiping The Slate Clean 195

The Tracks You Leave Behind 195

The Delete That Doesn't Delete 199

Deleting Your Data Completely 201

Deciding On Data Deletion Techniques 204

Part 4: Networks, From LAN's To The Internet 209

13 Networks And Network Security 211

Data Railways - The Growth Of Computer Networks 211

The Growth Of The Low-cost PC 214

Network Security 215

Building A Secure Network 216

14 The Internet - Data Sharing Goes Global 225

Enter The Internet And The World Wide Web 225

The Origins Of The Internet 226



The World Wide Web 229

The Development Of The World Wide Web 230

The Internet As A Communications Medium 232

Controlling Your Connection To The Internet 233

Internet Hardware 234

Internet Software 236

Modifying Your Dial-up Connection Settings 242

15 The Unseen Enemies On The Web 247

Meet The Predators 247

Understanding HTML 248

The Dangers From Active Code 251

Internet Traps And Snares For The Unwary 256

Software To Smooth Your Browsing 258

16 Surfing Unseen 261

The Case For Anonymous Web Browsing 261

The Information Your Browsing Reveals 262

Using Web Proxies To Keep Your Online Activities Private 265

Using An Anonymous Proxy Server From The Web 267

Installing Proxy Software On Your Own Computer 270

Using A Web-based Privacy System 272

17 Cleaning Up Your Web Tracks 277

Who Knows Where You've Been 277

The Data Your Computer Stores Without You Knowing It 279

-How Snoopers Track Your Online Activities 285

Automating The Clean-up Process 288

18 E-mail - A Double-edged Sword 293

How E-mail Actually Works 293

Who Can Read Your E-mail? 294

Web-based E-mail Accounts 296

Damned Spam 297

The Nastiness That Lurks In E-mail Attachments 301

Encrypting E-mails (And Other Transmitted Data) 302

Sourcing E-mail Encryption Software 304

19 Web Crime And Commerce 309

Who Watches The Watchmen? 309

Internet Crime 310

-Commercial Profiling 313

Website Privacy Policies 315

Spyware - The Commercial Snooper At Work 315

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) 318

Purchasing Online 319

Digital Signatures 321

Secure Storage For Personal Details 323

20 Where Do The Children Play? 327

The Moral dimension 327

Do You Know Where Your Children Go? 328

Pornography, Violence, Racism ... Keeping The Horrors _ At Bay 332

Your Children As Marketing Targets 337

The Dangers From Internet Chat Rooms 339

Safe Sites For Children 341

Part 5: Trespassers Will Not Be Forgiven 343

21 Hello Hackers, Everywhere! 345

Hacking And Cracking 345

What Is A Hacker 346

The `Hacker Ethic' 347

Hackers On The Internet 348

The Hackers' Tools 351

A Hacker Speaks ... 353

Understanding Software Ports 355

22 The Trojan Horse 359

The Trojan Wars 359

Additional Dangers From New Technologies 362

Spotting A Trojan At Work 362

Protecting Yourself Against A Trojan Horse 364

Anti-Trojan Software 367

23 Building A Wall Around Your Computer 371

The Mighty Firewall 371

How A Firewall Works 372

Firewall Strengths And Weaknesses 376

Third-party Firewall Software 377

Physical Barriers To Intruders 381

24 Now DO Something ... 385

Developing A Security Strategy 385

Part 6: Resources 395

Appendix 1: List Of Common Trojan Horses 397

Appendix 2: A Useful List of TLAs (Three-letter Acronyms)_ And Some Two- And Four-letter Ones As Well 407

Index 411
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