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Batten down the hatches! Hackers, spammers and thieves (oh my!) are after you! The mere act of turning on an Internet-connected computer can put you, your family, and your personal finances at risk by exposing you to viruses, scam artists, hackers, identity thieves, and spammers. How do you fight back? Absolute Beginner's Guide to Security, Spam, Spyware and Viruses is your first line of defense.
Clear, easy-to-understand definitions of viruses, spyware, and hackers will help you understand what you're up against everytime you go online. Then, you'll learn about other threats, such as identity theft, phishing, and other potential dangers you'll face in your everyday computing. Find out how to search out and destroy spyware, malware and other viscious programs that could potentially harm your computer. Then find out how to lock out hackers, spammers, and theives for good.
We'll tell you how to immediately cut the risk of being attacked in half — in less than 10 minutes! Protect your bank accounts, digital photos, digital music collection, masters thesis, and everything you hold near and dear on your computer with the help of the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Security, Spam, Spyware and Viruses.
About the Author
Andy Walker is one of North America's top technology journalists. Since 1995, he has written about personal computer technology for dozens of newspapers, magazines, and websites. His personal technology advice column was syndicated across the Southam Newspaper chain and today the body of work is published at Cyberwalker.com where more than 5 million unique visitors read the advice annually. Andy has appeared as a tech expert on hundreds of TV and radio broadcasts and now co-hosts hosted the internationally syndicated TV show Call for Help with Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur. Andy was born in the United Kingdom, educated and raised in Canada, and now lives in Toronto with a two cats and a really secure personal computer.
Table of Contents
How This Book Is Organized.
Special Elements Used in this Book.
Reader Competition...of Sorts.
I. SECURITY BASICS: SOME VERY REAL THREATS.
1. Viruses: Attack of the Malicious Programs.
What Is a Computer Virus?
What Is It?
Who Triggers a Computer Virus?
How Does It Spread?
What Damage Can It Do?
Viruses: As Many Kinds As Sniffles in Kindergarten
File Infector Viruses
Worms: Network-Savvy Viruses
Trojan Horses: Hey Helen, the Achaeans Left Us a Present!
Virus Hoaxes: Fake Viruses that Scare the Heck Out of You
Who Creates Computer Viruses?
What Not to Do!
When Viruses Attack!
Disconnect As Soon As Possible
Virus Infection Found! How to Cleanse Your System
My Antivirus Program Won't Update!
Now I Have Your Attention...
Antivirus Checkup: 10-Minute Tactics
Install Windows Security Updates
Update Your Virus Signatures
Fortify Your Computer: Strong Virus Defense in a Few Hours
Install or Upgrade an Antivirus Program
Scan Your Computer for Viruses
Install Service Pack 2 and Enable Virus Protection
No Worm in My Apple?
Is That a Virus in Your Pocket?
2. Spyware: Overrun by Advertisers, Hijackers, and Opportunists.
What Is Spyware?
What Does Spyware Do and Why Is It Bad?
How Does Spyware Sneak onto My Computer?
Types of Spyware: Snoops, Adware, Cookies, and More
Spyware: I Spy with My Little App
Adware: Attack of the Pop-ups
Snoopware: I Wanna Know What You're Up To!
Browser Hijackers: Turn This Browser Around, We're Going to Cuba.com
Key Loggers: Snooping on Your Typing Skills
Dialers: Dial In, Dial Out, Dial Often
Trojan Horses: Pretty Ponies with Deadly Insides
Cookies: Does My Oreo Have a Tape Recorder in It?
Who Is at Risk?
How Do I Know If I Have Spyware?
Defend Yourself Against Spyware
Spyware Countermeasures: 10-Minute Tactics
Ban All Spies: Strong Spyware Defense in an Afternoon
Run a Full System Scan
Install a Second Anti-spyware Program
Inoculate Your System
Spyware Infection Found! How to Scrub Your System
How to Fix a Browser Hijack
Decimate the Little Suckers with CWShredder
Microsoft Mimics HijackThis: System Explorers
3. Hackers: There's a Man in My Machine.
What Is a Hacker?
Who Are the Hackers?
What Damage Can Hackers Do?
Targets of a Hack Attack
Hacker Motivation: I Think Therefore I Hack
Tools of the Trade: Pass Me a Trojan Horse, Would You?
Firewall: Shut Out the Hackers
Software Firewalls: Programs That Stop Hackers
Windows Firewall: Built-in Defense
Third-Party Software Firewalls
Recommended Firewall Freebies
Easy Defense with a NAT Firewall
Stateful Inspection: The Meticulous Traffic Cop
How to Detect a Hacker Attack
How to Fix a Hacker Attack
Steps You Can Take Immediately After Being Hacked
Batten down the Hatches-10-Minute Tactics
Turn on Windows Firewall
Activate the Firewall on a Mac OS X System
Wall off the World-Install a Better Firewall in an Afternoon
Install a Two-way Software Firewall
Install a Hardware Firewall
4. Identity Thieves and Phishers: Protect Your Good Name and Bank Account.
What Is Identity Theft?
Techniques Thieves Use to Steal Your Identity
How They Become You: Identity Theft Techniques
Preventative Measures: How to Not Become a Victim
Signs You're a Victim
What to Do If You're an Identity Theft Victim
What Is Phishing?
How Does Phishing Work?
Email Address Spoofing
Web Address Spoofing
What Is Pharming?
What Damage Can Be Done By Phishing?
Who Is at Risk? Everyone!
Don't Get Phished: 10-Minute Tactics to Stay Off the Hook
They Won't Ask, You Don't Tell
Use Caution and Cut and Paste
Install an Anti-spam Filter
Block Phishing Sites with NetCraft
Carry a Big Spoofstick
Keep Your Antivirus and Anti-Spyware Programs Up-to-Date
Keep Your Computer Software Up-to-Date
Ensure You Are You: Take an Afternoon to Protect Your Identity
Check Your Credit Reports
Shred It Before You Chuck It
Read Your Statements
5. Spam: Unwanted Email from Hell.
What Is Spam?
Why Does Spam Keep Coming?
Why Doesn't Someone Stop the Spammers?
How Do Spammers Get My Email Address?
Commercial Email Lists
Newsgroups, Discussion Forums, and Interactive Websites
Contests and Other Free Offerings
The Damage Spam Can Do
Reduce the Flow-10-Minute Tactics to Reduce Spam
Don't Post Your Email Address on the Web
Webmasters Shouldn't Use mailto
Turn Off Image Display in Email Programs
Turn On Junk Mail Filtering
Kill More Spam-In an Afternoon
Install an Anti-spam Program
6. Wireless Network Snoops: Lock Down Your Wi-Fi Network.
What Is a Wireless Home Network?
What Damage Can a Wireless Network Snoop Dish Out?
Who Are the Snoopers?
Your Wi-Fi Network Is Full of Holes!
How to Access Your Router Set-up
First Line of Defense: Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Turn On WEP
Turn On WPA
MAC Address Filtering: Keep Out the Scottish
Detecting a Visit from a Wireless Snoop
I'm Under Attack! What to Do If You Discover a Wireless Network Snoop
Turn Off Wireless Access
Activate Security Measures
Assess the Damage
Wireless Security Workup: Quick Tactics and Some That Take a Little More Time
10-Minute Tactic: Change the Router's User ID and Password
10-Minute Tactic: Change Your Default SSID
10-Minute Tactic: Turn On the Windows Firewall
10-Minute Tactic: Turn Off UpnP
10-Minute Tactic: Turn Off Your Router When Not in Use
Time Intensive Tactic: Be Careful with File Sharing
7. Privacy Snoops: Cover Your Tracks and Your Reputation.
Why Your Privacy Is Important
What You Leave Behind on Your Computer
Movies and Audio Players
Who Are the Privacy Snoops?
The Consequences of Being Caught
Emergency Tactics-I Am Being Snooped On!
How to Create PC Privacy
Obscure Your Trail-In About 10 Minutes
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Cover Your Tracks-In an Afternoon
Clean Multimedia Players
Windows Media Player 10
Real Player 10
Protect Your Email
Turn Off Saved Sent Items
Empty Deleted Items Folder
Don't Leave Email on the Server
Scrub Microsoft Office
Deleted Files Are Not Gone
Turn Off Chat Logs
Clean Restore Points
II. STRATEGIES FOR SAFE AND SECURE COMPUTING.
8. Let's Smash-Proof Windows: Tweak Windows XP Nice and Tight.
If Windows XP Is a Dike, You're a Little Dutch Boy
Step 1: Trash Unnecessary Programs
Step 2: Install Firefox
Step 3: Install Antivirus Software and Scan for Viruses
Step 4: Install Anti-Spyware Software and Scan for Spyware
Step 5: Block Out the Bad Guys and Install a Firewall
Step 6: Install and Configure Microsoft Updates and Service Pack 2
Step 7: Install Netcraft's Anti-Phishing Toolbar
Step 8: Protect Yourself from Spam
Step 9: Managing Your File Sharing Security
9. Starting from the Beginning: Wiping a Hard Drive and Rebuilding from the Ground Up.
Light the Fuse and Stand Back
Let's Get Started
XP Installation CD or System Recovery Disk
Windows SP2: The Mother of All Service Packs
Collect Your Drivers
Installation CDs for Your Programs
Internet Service Software and Settings
Step 1: Download Drivers and Software You Need for the Re-install
Got a Recovery CD? That's Good News!
Retail Copy of Windows XP? There's Some Work to Do
Step 2: Back Up!
IE Favorites and Cookies
Pictures, Music, and Videos
Microsoft Office 2003 Settings
Windows Media Player
Other Odds and Ends
Step 3: Pull the Plug on the Network
Step 4: Wipe Away Windows
Using a System Recovery CD
Using a Windows XP Install CD
Step 5: Re-install Windows
Step 6: Re-install Your Drivers
Step 7: Install Protection Against Malware
Install an Antivirus Program
Install an Anti-spyware Program
Install a Firewall
Step 8a: Install Windows XP Service Pack 2 (from CD)
Step 8b: Install SP2 from the Internet
Step 9: Configure Your Security Settings
Step 10: Install Firefox
Step 11: Configure Your Networking
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Step 12: Update Windows with All Recent Security Patches
Step 13: Update All of Your Security Programs and Security Signatures
Step 14: Activate Windows
Step 15: Re-install Your Programs
Step 16: Other Things You Can Do
10. Ongoing Maintenance: Fend Off Future Threats!
Note to Self: Keep Computer Secure
Daily Routines: Walk the Dog, Feed the Kids, and Secure the Computer
Update Your Antivirus and Anti-Spyware Signatures
Update AVG Signatures
Update Microsoft AntiSpyware
Update Spybot Search & Destroy
Weekly Routines: How to Never Be Bored on Saturday Morning
Scan for Viruses and Spyware
Check for Firefox Updates
Monthly Routines: Clean the Garage, Trim the Hedge, and Update Windows
Inspect Other Computers
Router Firmware Updates
Patch Microsoft Office
Bathe Once a Year Whether You Need It and Reformat and Re-install, Too
Wipe Your Hard Drive and Re-install Windows
III. TOOLS FOR MAINTENANCE AND PROTECTION.
11. Selecting Software: Steals, Deals, and Software Duds.
Security Software: Nothing in Life Is Free, Except Software
Payware: Software You Pay Hard-Earned Cash For
Freeware: Don't Pay a Cent Software
Weirdware: When It's Not Payware or Freeware
Gimpware: Free Software, but Not All the Bits Work
Trialware: It's Free, Until It's Not
Shareware: I Trust You to Pay Me
What Should I Pay for My Security Toolbox?
Choosing the Right Security Software
12. Tools of the Trade: Security Products You Should Own.
Which Security Software Is Right for You?
Introduction: Ignore This Book at Your Own Peril!
And identity thieves.
These are eight good reasons why you should buy this book, plus one arbitrary reference to a British salad condiment from Heinz that I love, just to keep the list interesting.
If you run Windows XP, the most insecure computer operating system ever invented, these eight nasty threats will rob you blind and torment you within an inch of your digital life and make your glorious and shiny minivan existence starkly miserable and mud splattered.
These computer nasties are a big fat plague. Good thing salad cream was invented.
And the worst of it is that very few computer owners know how bad it really is. No salad cream jokes here. In all seriousness, the state of computer security today is just ugly.
Here's the good news, however. I can help. And not only will I help, but I'll do it without forcing you to spend much more money than you already have spent on your computer. Almost everything I'll teach you in this book is done using mostly free software, easy-to-understand techniques, and analogies that often use small furry, chittering creatures.
Not convinced? Okay, put this book down if you haven't bought it already, go home, download the free Microsoft AntiSpyware from http://www.microsoft.com/spyware/, and run it on your computer. If you don't find at least one nasty program that shouldn't be on your computer, come back and buy Danielle Steele's latest novel over in the romance section because you don't need my help.
In this book, I'll show you how to cleanse your computer, halt further infections, do major damage control, and lock down the most insecure computer operating system you have ever seen. I know I said that earlier, but XP is just awful. You'll also enjoy 1,329 other really good bits of information that will be equally compelling.
When you're done with this book, you'll want to dance until you wear out your pants. And in fact I encourage it often in these pages. Then you'll want to go help your grandma because you'll know that if you're at risk, she's in deep grandma trouble with her computer. Then I want you to tell your neighbors and help them. And become the gal or guy who everyone goes to for help on home computer security. And here's the kicker: You don't even have to be a geek. Nope, you can continue to dress fashionably; eat good, wholesome food; and hold eye contact with handsome men and pretty women in elevators. Geeks are actually cool. But you don't have to become one to learn about personal computer security.
All I ask is that you read one chapter at a time. Start with the first seven, which detail the key threats you'll face in computer security. I'll scare the socks off you and then make it all better with easy-to-understand, geek-free help.
How This Book Is Organized
Chapter 1Viruses: Attack of the Malicious Programs
In this first and vividly exciting chapter, I tell you what viruses are, why they are a problem, and how to get rid of them. Plus learn secrets, such as the real reason people write them in the first place.
Chapter 2Spyware: Overrun by Advertisers, Hijackers, and Opportunists
This is a modern day computer pandemic. Your computer is probably rife with this malware. Bad companies are making money with it learning what you do on your computer. At the same time, spyware is also slowing your computer down. Most people experience a 30%50% performance boost when they get rid of spyware for the first time. How's that for an upsell?
Chapter 3Hackers: There's a Man in My Machine
Who are these people? Why do they want to get on to your computer? I tell you why and then show you how to shut them out. And I make a good joke about cheese in this chapter.
Chapter 4Identity Thieves and Phishers: Protect Your Good Name and Bank Account
These people are going to suck your bank account dry. And they trick you into helping them do it. I show you how to stop them.
Chapter 5Spam: Unwanted Email from Hell
Junk mail is a deluge, but like a Shop Vac on spilled ketchup, it's easy to clean up. I'll show you how in only a few pages.
Chapter 6Wireless Network Snoops: Lock Down Your Wi-Fi Network
Let's pretend you're free of all the other nasties in this book, but I bet if you have a wireless home network, your neighbors are using your Internet connection and maybe even snooping in places they shouldn't be inside your computer. I help you stop them.
Chapter 7Privacy Snoops: Cover Your Tracks and Your Reputation
Do you surf places on the Internet that are naughty? Do you plan birthday presents for nice people in your home? Do you keep exciting secrets on your computer? Keep the snoops out of your personal business. I'll show you how.
Chapter 8Let's Smash-Proof Windows: Tweak Windows XP Nice and Tight
In the second part of this book, I'll walk you through how to lock down Windows XP so tight that you'll think it's the most secure operating system ever. All with freebie software!
Chapter 9Starting from the Beginning: Wiping a Hard Drive and Rebuilding from the Ground Up
And if you are really ambitious, I'll also show you how to wipe your computer clean and start fresh (it's like gallivanting among tulips the first time you do it) and then I'll show you how to lock down Windows XP so it's more secure than a bucket of Brussels sprouts at a birthday party.
Chapter 10Ongoing Maintenance: Fend Off Future Threats!
Of course it's fine to be safe now, but what about tomorrow and the next day? Well, clever me, I've thought of that. I show you how to keep your computer secure tomorrow, next week, next month, but not next year because I want to sell you another book.
Chapter 11Selecting Software: Steals, Deals, and Software Duds
Next, I'll go over what the story is with lots of different security software. Do you have to buy it or can you get it all free?
Chapter 12Tools of the Trade: Security Products You Should Own
And in the final chapter I'll tell you what software is really good and where to get it.
Also, my talented assistant Sarah Hammond has written the best and most exciting glossary you have ever read. It's really scintillating and has been nominated for glossary of the year.
Special Elements Used in this Book
You'll also see a lot of help in the margins of this book. Here's how it looks and what it means.
Note - This is stuff that I figured I should tell you when it popped in my head. Notes aren't essential reading, but I urge you not to skip them as you'll learn a lot of extra stuff here that you might not find elsewhere.
Tip - These succulent bits of info should help you with odd problems or give you insight into issues that are confusing. Don't skip these! Here, you'll find faster ways to accomplish tasks, insider tidbits, and expert tips I've accumulated along the way.
Caution - These blurbs keep you out of trouble. I hope. If you don't read these, you're asking for trouble. Security is risky business. I've done my best to point out common pitfalls, gotchas, and other assorted nasties.
Occasionally, I've added some additional information that's ancillary to the main topic, but still worth reading. Think of these as important stuff that didn't fit anywhere within the confines of the chapter you're reading, but are too important to skip.
Reader Competition...of Sorts
If you are one of the first 10 people to tell me by email what page the Monica Lewinsky reference is on and whether it's a note, tip, or caution, I'll send you a Cyberwalker T-shirt or a Cyberwalker thongyour choice. Both are nice and if you don't believe me, ask Rick Kughen, my editor at Que. He wears his fishing. Pictures (of the garments, not Rick) are on http://www.cyberwalker.com.
When you email me at email@example.com, include the answer and your full name, and put either thong or shirt in the subject line. Size (of the thong or T-shirt) is also helpful.
Finally, if you want to contact me and say nice things, tell me about how you saved your grandma with advice from this book, or send me chocolate cake (which I also love), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you've read this far, go buy this book. I am almost out of salad cream.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I recently reviewed the Absolute Beginner¿s Guide to Security, Spam, Spyware & Viruses by Andy Walker and found it to be well-written, nicely organized, and easy to follow. Although I have been in the Information Security business for many years, there is always something more to learn. This book is oriented more toward personal use computers than for corporate implementations. But it is good to know what your Security Administrators have, are faced with and have in order to do to secure Corporate information and protect its customers 'sometimes even from themselves'. What Andy covers is what everyone should understand about who 'generically identified', what¿s out there, what they¿re up to, and most important, what you can do about it. Some of the features that I liked were: the Tips, Sidebars, and Notes. Another feature that I have not seen too often is the At-A-Glance Table of Contents. What I liked about this abbreviated TOC was that I could just focus on these topics 'Basics, Strategies, and Tools' and have a fairly secure system, provided the reader actually implements his advice. The Tips, Sidebars, and Notes also allow the reader to skim the material and still end up with a more secure computer. The best feature is his easy to implement advice, if nothing else go to the end of each chapter and do ¿The Absolute Minimum.¿ I would recommend this book to those wanting a good introduction to the most common security issues today '2005,6' and what can be done to better secure your personal computer from these threats.