How Personal & Internet Security Works
by Tim Wilson - Friday, 8 September 2006.
Author: Preston Gralla
Pages: 280
Publisher: Que Publishing
ISBN: 0789735539



Introduction

For majority of us working in information technology, knowledge on security and privacy topics is something that we need to possess. There are hundreds, or better say it thousands, of quality books aimed toward expanding our skills, but there is not a lot of them aimed at the average Internet user which is the main target of ever-popular threats such as viruses, assorted malware and malicious attacks. Que's "How Personal & Internet Security Works" is a publication that takes a unique approach on addressing these issues.

About the Author

Preston Gralla is the award-winning author of more than 30 books, including How the Internet Works, Complete Idiot's Guide to Internet Privacy and Security and How Wireless Works. He has written frequently about security issues, computer technology, and the Internet and has been a columnist for many magazines, websites and newspapers, including USA Today, PC Magazine and Los Angeles Times.

Inside the Book

The cover of Gralla's book proudly says that the "How it works" series is doing very well with over 2 million copies sold. This doesn't surprise me at all - the concept is absolutely reader-friendly. This book is a collection of a large quantity of facts, categorized in a series of question/answer sets accompanied by high-tech illustrations by artist Eric Lindley. Every specific sub-topic is spread over two pages that contain easy to follow information with a series of likeable pictures.

When I saw the book format, I thought it would be full of light material, describing just the top-level security and privacy issues. The reality is that Gralla's book is much more than that. While it is definitely aimed toward the absolute novice user, it still manages to cover some specifics that expand the overall understanding of the topics.

The approach taken in the process of writing this book is very refreshing. For example, every newspaper wrote about Paris Hilton's T-Mobile Side Kick II hack. This case is just one of the real life scenarios that the author covers. In an easy to apprehend way, readers are shown what happened and what could have been done to stop this kind of attack. This is just an example of the author's approach; others include media darlings such as the 419 Nigerian scam, data mining and Bluetooth cellular phone problems.

When discussing spam in general, the author doesn't just discuss spamming methods and protection, but goes further in giving his readers the understanding on why spammers are doing this, as well as provides sample spam money trails. This makes topics such as spam not just looked upon as technology threats, but also from the social perspective.

In the second part of the book, the author guides the reader through popular privacy invasion threats like ID theft, credit card scams, biometrics and even RFID technology.

Final thoughts

"How Personal & Internet Security Works" is a book for the masses. Everyone these days has a connection to the Internet, but a small percentage of those people are actually familiar with the possible threats they are constantly surrounding them. I really liked the approach Que took with this book. The combination of concise information and illustrations is the way to go when trying to educate average user about security and privacy issues.



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