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Always Use Protection

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the no-that's-the-real-title dept.

Books 307

Raymond Lodato writes "Where do I begin? Oh yes! If you are a teenager who uses computers, or the parent or guardian of a teenager who does, buy Always Use Protection, by Dan Appleman! Let me take a little time to explain why." Read on for the rest of Lodato's review.

Dan Appleman knows how to talk to teenagers. He's made the presentation very logical, he keeps the chapters a reasonable length so a teenager won't feel overwhelmed, and he had a crew of teenagers review this book before it was published so that he knew they would understand it. Those adults who aren't technically adept will find it an easy read, too.

Always Use Protection is broken up into three main parts: Protecting Your Machine, Protecting Your Privacy, and Protecting Yourself. There is a fourth part with useful appendixes, also.

Protecting Your Machine goes through all of the gremlins that can bother your computer, how to get rid of them and how to prevent them from coming back. Viruses, Trojan horse programs, and worms are covered clearly. Not too much depth involved, but not too little either. Dan covers the ins and outs of the three main preventive measures: anti-virus programs, firewalls, and system configuration and updates. He makes sure that his discussions relate to the types of programs that teenagers are likely to run: P2P software, online games, Instant Message clients, e-mail programs, and web browsers. He's careful to include other avenues of attack besides the Internet, such as infected floppies and CDs cut by well-meaning friends.

Always Use Protection explains how to determine which type of anti-virus programs are available and how to run them (using McAfee's VirusScan as an example), but puts the responsibility for deciding which one to use squarely in the reader's lap. Dan has made sure that he's not pushing any particular product over another. In fact, there were one or two places where I wished he'd just come right out and say I'd recommend blah-blah software, but he always said the reader should check the pros and cons of the possibilities and make their own decision.

Firewalls are discussed in detail, as well as their possibly unintended consequences (an online game refuses to run because a critical port is being blocked by the firewall, for example). He does state that if you're on a network behind a router, you may not need a firewall. This is my only disagreement with Dan. I believe a personal firewall should be on each and every machine, regardless of how it connects. It will protect not only the machine itself, but make it harder for the machine to attack others.

Software updates are probably one of the most under-utilized options in the home. News items in papers and on the web speak frequently about how such-and-such a virus got into machines mainly because security updates available from the manufacturer for months were simply not installed. Dan makes sure that the reader understands how shortsighted that approach really is. The updates are usually free, and just take a little time to download and install. Always Use Protection explains exactly how to do that and why it's a good thing.

The configuration chapter describes many little tweaks available to harden your browser and e-mail reader. Many people are not aware of the number of 'dials' they can play with (and if they were, they'd probably be overwhelmed), but this chapter zeroes in on the most important ones.

If this book was only chapter 9 - What to Do When You've Been Hit - it would still be worth the cover price. In this chapter, Dan gives a careful, step-by-step menu of what you can and should do to recover as much as you possibly can, eradicate the malware that is causing the problem, and get your system back to a usable state. It's the one chapter he says you shouldn't read front-to-back, but follow the links (if you see this, go to this section) like one of those make-your-own-ending books. I have this one bookmarked for future reference.

The next four chapters form Part II - Protecting Your Privacy. In here, Dan explains the various ways your personal information can be gleaned, mostly from a user innocently filling in a form supplied by a con artist. He talks about identity theft and what it means to a teenager. The need for good passwords is clearly discussed, but he acknowledges that most people won't use strong enough ones. Therefore, he promotes a simple plan with three passwords (high, medium, and low-security) that will work in most cases. He ends off this part with a good treatise on cookies of all forms, and how to turn off the worst ones.

Finally, he talks about protecting yourself in chat rooms and from common scams. While there is a lot of press about teenagers being lured by scoundrels in chat rooms, Dan notices that the actual statistics are very low. Regardless of the statistics, he gives extremely good advice about how to use a chat room safely (mostly involving lying about almost any bit of personal information you might be asked for).

The appendixes have good summary information for teens and adults, and have a special appendix just for the parents. It give good advice to make sure your teenager is willing to come to you for question without worrying about losing online privileges.

All in all, Always Use Protection should be read by every parent and, hopefully, by their kids. I'm going to try to get my 15- and 13-year old to read it (Good luck to me! You should have seen the arguments to get them to finish their summer reading!) I liked the approach, the content, and the presentation so well, I had to rate this a 10.


You can purchase Always use Protection: A Teen's Guide to Safe Computing from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews. To see your own review here, carefully read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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307 comments

But... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10059898)

it feels so much better without!

oh yeah, first post.

As the parent of two teens who do amazing things (3, Interesting)

Sethseekstruth (599784) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059902)

amazing in how they foul up thier computer, then go upstairs and foul up mine, and break the ibooks given them by the school, I will say this book is long overdue

Hey, ass (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060002)

Tell your little fucktard kids to stop breaking shit that taxpayers give them. You wanna waste your own money like that, fine.

Do you remember being a teenager? (2, Insightful)

Pi_0's don't shower (741216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060049)

The year was 1994 -- I had a 14.4 fax/modem, and was the only person in the house who knew how to use commands in MS-DOS, much less use the net, do some mild hacking, etc.

I learned more about computer security by trial and error on a piece of crap 486SX than I think I could learn from a book. Why don't more of these parents spend $100 on a crappy old machine than $100 on the best in virus protection and let the kids go nuts? They'd probably learn a whole lot more...

Move back to DOS (3, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060155)

Lets force everyone to know DOS commands before using a computer. That way, they would know enough to maintain their own system.

One of the BBSs that I used to use, would allow us to drop into an MPM shell, but you would have to answer a questions, "what is the name of the debugger?"

Re:Move back to DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060181)

Why DOS commands? How would that help them "maintain their own system"? Seems like a non-sequitur to me. If anything they should learn Unix (pick your favorite shell) commands.

Re:Move back to DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060248)

Yeah! Teach them UNIX commands! Because knowing what the ls command does is going to be very useful to anyone running WinXP Home Edition.

Re:Do you remember being a teenager? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060156)

Probably because 95% of teenagers are only concerned with instant messenger.

Re:Do you remember being a teenager? (2, Interesting)

Pope (17780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060184)

It was 1985 and I had a PCjr and a VIC20. Not a remote chance in hell I'd get bought a modem, let alone pay for the long distance charges. Security? Yeah, I was the only kid I knew with either kind of machine, my neighbour had a pair of Apple 2s.

Re:As the parent of two teens who do amazing thing (1)

NIN1385 (760712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060218)

That is why you teach a kid how to use the damn computer before they even sit down. I can't tell you how many times ignorant people at my work hand their laptop to their kid so they can play cartoon network on it, then the next day the computer is loaded with spyware and their asking me why it's all fucked up.


If your kid is using a computer, you are responsible for not only making sure they stay away from bad content, but also that they know the basics of how a computer works and what to do in every possible situation. Once again my idea of requiring licenses to use computers comes into effect.

"Interesting" name (0, Flamebait)

RKloti (517839) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059905)

You almost had me there, for a second.

But, alas, no. Slashdot is not going all touchy-feely, as I had feared.

yah right (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10059906)

Most teenagers are more interested in a)how they are going to get laid, b)how they are going to get drunk. Those who care about computer security are almost certainly way above this book. It's trying to sell to a market that just isn't there. It looks like it's just another wannabe security book, offering very little in terms of actual understanding. This makes it to Slashdot???

Re:yah right (2, Insightful)

ReluctantBadger (550830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059971)

Thing is that this is exactly the right place for this review. Most Slashbots are not interested in getting laid and getting drunk as they already have a date with a box of penguin caffeinated mints and sweet lady hand with her five daughters. Also, never forget that Slashdot is not the uber-geek haven it makes itself out to be. Most readers are only here on the the "Oooooh! Open Source! That sounds cool!" bandwagon, so a book like this is probably much needed as their actual technical prowess probably couldn't get the VCR to cease flashing 12:00.

Re:yah right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060229)

Perhaps the target audience really is parents, who aren't themselves very technically savvy, with teenagers. Granted it doesn't seem to be marketed that way but it probably makes more sense. In slashdot fantasy world we want everybody to know every detail of the inner workings of the computer and the internet but in the real world most people just want to know as little as possible to make it work.

Re:yah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060287)

How in the hell is this post offtopic? The guy is talking about the book that was reviewed!!! How is that offtopic? Once again it is proven, give a person mod points and their IQ automatically drops 90%.

always... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10059915)

"Always use protection" because your nerdy kid can't get laid!

Re:always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060279)

It's comments like yours that makes slashdot worth reading.. Why bother comming up with something intelligent, when you can repeat someone elses boring joke?

Well... (2, Funny)

EulerX07 (314098) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059922)

Unfortunately, this advice comes a few years too late for people like Libby Hoeler...

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060036)

Her real name is Elizabeth Heller, from U of Wisconson (Madison campus) She made those videos for her boyfriend but cheated on him at a party. He found out and had all the videos put up on P2P sites. She's a cute chick, but cheaters deserve what they get. Last I heard she was living in CT.

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060206)

Incorrect...I remember when I first heard of these sometime in 2000, and I looked her up on the UW directory server (she still went there) and her last name was indeed Heoler or Hoeler or whatever the file was labeled, not Heller. I believe she lived in either Sellery or Ogg, maybe Witte (I used to go there). I also read an article that she was mobbed upon returning to school and had to move into a private dorm, and left school soon thereafter (I believe).

Re:Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060292)

Cool, thanks for the tip! I had never heard of her, but now I'll grab her videos!

Abstinence... (5, Funny)

MalaclypseTheYounger (726934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059932)

Protection doesn't work.... we must preach abstinence to our children...

Just stay off the internet until you're 18, kids... (and you have your own damn computer/network to infect) :)

Re:Abstinence... (1)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060192)

Protection doesn't work.... we must preach abstinence to our children...

Just stay off the internet until you're 18, kids... (and you have your own damn computer/network to infect) :)


Until 18? Don't listen to him, kids. Listen to the clergy. You must wait until marriage, kids. Stay off the Internet until you have a wife to tell you when and how you can use it.

Re:Abstinence... (4, Funny)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060235)

You know my parents never gave me the facts of life, but I always wished they had. I remember I was 13 the first time I learned about / and backslash (\?) on AOL. I didn't really understand it, I just hoped sat there reading in horror hoping leia would suck off Tarkin so he wouldn't blow up Kashyyk with the grenade strapped to his 'rock hard cock.' Then I remember being 14 and see goatse. Oh god the pain. How many years I wasted using Lycos to look for porno before ninenine and later autopr0n came along, and I learned about the titty board on tfproject.org and boobdex.

BTW this is intended as humor but all of the above is actually 100% true. I'm 19 now btw.

Walking on broken glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10059936)

Teaching your kid how to avoid breaking windows.

I'd like to see some clear and concise documentation for using open source operating systems.

Yankel

Is your son a computer hacker? (5, Interesting)

MonMotha (514624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059939)

I'm sorry, but I read this review and instantly thought of the imfamous "Is your son a computer hacker?" [adequacy.org] thing that we all know and love.

That's not to say that it's a bad book or the review is flawed, though some of the comments would tend to tell me that the reviewer isn't as "computer savvy" as I might like in a person reviewing a book. A properly configured border firewall, for example, will protect systems behind it. That says nothing of the duties of many of those "personal firewall" applications that are actually much more than firewalls (spam filters, scumware/spyware/adware scanner/filters, etc).

I just found it amusing that the adequacy.org article was the first thing I thought of when reading this review...

Re:Is your son a computer hacker? (2, Funny)

webmosher (322834) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060142)

I realize this was written in 2001, but I found this parent's statement very amusing:
If your son has requested a new "processor" from a company called "AMD", this is genuine cause for alarm. AMD is a third-world based company who make inferior, "knock-off" copies of American processor chips. They use child labor extensively in their third world sweatshops, and they deliberately disable the security features that American processor makers, such as Intel, use to prevent hacking. AMD chips are never sold in stores, and you will most likely be told that you have to order them from internet sites. Do not buy this chip! This is one request that you must refuse your son, if you are to have any hope of raising him well.
He also refers to "Programming with Perl" as a "hackers manual". Well, I'm going straight to hell it seems.

Re:Is your son a computer hacker? (4, Interesting)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060220)

*reads over said site*
I'm impressed that anyone could truly be that ignorant (and I do in-home tech work!). Are you sure it isn't meant as a joke? Quake as a hacker program... *snickers*

BSD, Lunix, Debian and Mandrake are all versions of an illegal hacker operation system, invented by a Soviet computer hacker named Linyos Torovoltos, before the Russians lost the Cold War. It is based on a program called "xenix", which was written by Microsoft for the US government. These programs are used by hackers to break into other people's computer systems to steal credit card numbers. They may also be used to break into people's stereos to steal their music, using the "mp3" program. Torovoltos is a notorious hacker, responsible for writing many hacker programs, such as "telnet", which is used by hackers to connect to machines on the internet without using a telephone.
Okay, now I'm thoroughly convinced it's a joke...

Re:Is your son a computer hacker? (1)

MonMotha (514624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060318)

I'm certainly hoping it's a joke. I certainly was expecting to have the comment be modded funny. The insightful mod was quite astonishing.

Re:Is your son a computer hacker? (1)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060301)

That site is a sick joke, right?

from the site:

2. Are you finding programs on your computer that you don't remember installing?

Your son will probably try to install some hacker software. He may attempt to conceal the presence of the software in some way, but you can usually find any new programs by reading through the programs listed under "Install/Remove Programs" in your control panel. Popular hacker software includes "Comet Cursor", "Bonzi Buddy" and "Flash".

Re:Is your son a computer hacker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060322)

This story apparently came to slashdot before I started visiting, but having read it, I must say it's one of the better satirical pieces centered around computing that I've read. It was very well written, and the links provided were brilliant. I particularly like how the 'concerned' parent links the word 'spanking' to spanking.com, genius work.

Thanks for posting that article, it was a good read.

you bunch of nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10059949)

why can't my computer take the pill???

Re:you bunch of nerds (1)

5m477m4n (787430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060113)

Maybe you should try the patch [microsoft.com] instead? Then you only need to remember once a week, instead of once a day.

Teenagers? (4, Insightful)

jstave (734089) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059955)

Is there a reason that this information is being aimed specifically at teenagers? I know an awful lot of adults that could use a good straighforward explaination of this material.

Re:Teenagers? (5, Insightful)

Hank Reardon (534417) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060025)

I thought exactly the same thing.

In fact, I've got three machines in my office right now from adults that I've got to fix. They've all responded with variations of "You mean they update the software and I don't have to pay for it?" when I asked when the last time they ran Windows Update.

I guess I just don't understand how somebody can see all of the identity theft, worm, trojan horse, and phishing scam stories in the news and still think they're perfectly safe.

Re:Teenagers? (1)

SuperficialRhyme (731757) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060118)

Having helped out a couple relatives when I visited them with a wide array of such problems I was thinking the same thing. This really shouldn't just be marketed to teenagers. I'll point them towards it but they'd probably be much more likely to read it if it was not marketed straight at teens.

Perhaps then I wouldn't visit and find their internet connection too slow to use - even for simple tasks (on cable) because of the # of viruses and spyware programs their computers contained. (Over 1000 copies of many different viruses!)

Re:Teenagers? (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060122)

Is there a reason that this information is being aimed specifically at teenagers?

Because teenagers are fragile creatures with delicate minds still in formation. You can't expect them to, or their parents to allow them to, read a Dummies book. They need special, age appropriate, handling, or it will take herds of social workers decades to help them deal with the psychological damage of dealing with adult themes in adult language.

In phrasing your question you obviously weren't thinking of the children.

KFG

Re:Teenagers? (2, Interesting)

Ignignot (782335) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060126)

Is there a reason that this information is being aimed specifically at teenagers? I know an awful lot of adults that could use a good straighforward explaination of this material.

How about households with both parents working and the teenage child(ren) unsupervised from 3:00 - 6:00 pm after school? You don't think there is a reason for them specifically to learn about AV protection etc.? And while this book is aimed at teenagers, I'm sure it would be good for less computer literate adults.

Time for "the talk" (5, Funny)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059960)

Wait, let me see if I've got this straight. I should teach my teenagers to always use protection.

But also that Trojans are bad...?

Help me get a free ipod [freeipods.com], and you can get one too!

OT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060067)

Wow, this FREE ______ referral thing has really gotten out of hand. I thought it was bad enough when people were putting in their sigs.

Please, let this new form of spamming stop!

Re:OT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060147)

no shit... and everyone believes it works yet nobody has had a free ipod...

Re:Time for "the talk" (1)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060077)

But also that Trojans are bad...?

Yeah, and so are viruses and worms... the *ahem* internet just isn't safe anymore.

It's about time we had a talk about your sig... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060300)

A free iPod? More like a scam, or more specifically, a pyramid scheme.

I suggest you read this site [pyramidschemealert.org] to learn more about them...

I think P.T. Barnum had something to say about this...

Re:Time for "the talk" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060304)

Help me get a free ipod, and you can get one too!

No no, help me find my car keys and we'll drive out of here!

Why Did (3, Funny)

jstrain (648252) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059966)

90% of slashdotters immediately think of firewalls?

Re:Why Did (1)

elijahao (195433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060069)

Because they're smarter than the sex crazed majority of American Sheep out there. Unfortunately they're not less likely to be sex obsessed if they're between 12 and 25...

backups? (5, Insightful)

joeldg (518249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059975)

There should be a chapter in every computer book made all about backups.
People don't bother to backup data..
People forget to back up data.
People need to verify backups..
SyOps symlink backup data directories and cause $40,000 losses due to data not being backed up.

That is one of the best ways to "protect yourself"..

"jesus saves" and all that..

Re:backups? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060284)

I'm gueesing the easiest way is to just use the backup function in WinXP Home Edition.

Oh, that's right, backups aren't necessary for home installations, that's why Microsoft left it out!

Nope (2, Insightful)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10059987)

I'm sorry but regardless of how good the book is and how relevant it is, it will never achieve its intended goal. A kid is never going to read anything like this. You wouldnt expect a kid to read a book about the perils of not eating their vegetables, so why this? Especially as stubborn as kids are nowadays, I think this author might have a case of bad timing. :-/

Scoundrel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10059993)

Did the reviewer actually use the world scoundrel?

Wow. Next thing you know, words like rapscallion and lollygag will come back into common practice.

Oh, the brave new world of this still-young millenium!

Breaking things is how you learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10059995)

Does it really matter if junior infects the PC with malware? Reformat and move on. Breaking things is part of learning.

The Best Protection (4, Insightful)

wackysootroom (243310) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060005)

The best way to protect your children and your PC is to spend quality time with them, teaching them the basics of PC protection and chat room safety.

IMHO, these things are better taught in person than with a book. The reviewer did not mention actually spending any time with your kids. I hope the book does, because too many people are using books and products like these as a substitute for teaching thier kids in person about computer safety.

Re:The Best Protection (4, Funny)

jstave (734089) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060092)

No! Teaching them about it will just make them think that its OK and they'll do it more! The best thing to do is to explain to them that abstenance from computing is the only way to be really safe.
Wait... what were we talking about again?

The best protection is DON'T USE WINDOWS (0, Flamebait)

revscat (35618) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060124)

The best way to protect your children and your PC is to spend quality time with them, teaching them the basics of PC protection and chat room safety.

Insofar as buffer exploits, virii, trojans, etc. etc ad nauseum, are concerned, the best protection is simply not to use the most insecure, bug laden operating system on the planet. Ditch it and get Linux or a Mac. Simply put, the biggest security threat to modern computing systems also happens to be the OS that is most widely used: Windows. And it AIN'T cuz there are more Windows isntalls out there. It's because Microsoft seems institutionally incapable of making secure software.

The reviewer did not mention actually spending any time with your kids.

Yeah, specifically spending time with your kids and showing them Gnome or OS X's Finder or something.

Re:The Best Protection (2, Funny)

polecat_redux (779887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060169)

The best way to protect your children and your PC is to spend quality time with them, teaching them the basics of PC protection and chat room safety.

That is very good advice. It is important for parents to sit down with their kids and discuss computer security, lest they learn it on the "streets" or from their friends. Next thing you know, your kid will be sneaking out of the house late at night to go download spyware in some sleazy motel.

Re:The Best Protection (5, Insightful)

deepfreeze77 (469651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060278)

Actually, the best protection would be to let them completely break their computer and leave it broken. Give them the install CD, show them how to format the drive and tell them to have at it. After they spend 12 hours reformatting and reinstalling all their garbage once or twice, I'm sure they'll figure out how to stop breaking their systems.

Of course, this doesn't work if you only have one computer in your house, but I suppose that's a whole other kettle of fish...

Why do you think the parents know? (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060311)

OK, I'll agree the average /.er knows. But the average parent is at least as clueless about these things as the neophyte teen.

I think in some cases, a good answer is the parent reading the book, then discussing things with their teen. In others, just read the book, then have your teen read it. Maybe quiz them as part of their test before getting their "internet license" (giving them access).

Why is this aimed at teens? (1)

littlem (807099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060014)

Aiming a book like this at teens sounds like a gimmick to me. I remember when I was 13 priding myself on needing no more documentation than a terse man page to change the world. Maybe it's the youth of today - not so tech savvy, fnarr, fnarr.

when I got my first computer... (4, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060016)

my dad got me this product called "The Keyboard Condom" and said "son, always remember -- No Glove, No Love".

As a teenager (14) who uses computers... (4, Interesting)

Weirdofreak (769987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060039)

Is it really that useful given that I run Linux, don't use chatrooms, don't use P2P software, don't play games and have no friends who both run Linux and give me floppies or CDs (when it comes to it, none of my friends do either)?

Re:As a teenager (14) who uses computers... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060103)

Naaah you're just smart, and in the 0.0001% of teenagers who are smart about computer usage. *as he deletes the zillionth piece of spyware from his Dad's computer that his little sister has managed to install*....gaaaah....

Re:As a teenager (14) who uses computers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060110)

You have no friends who both run Linux?

As a teenager (17) who uses computers... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060160)

I actually do use P2P software, play games, use chatrooms and IM -- but I do it all on Linux. Furthermore, all people ever send me are images, music, and such -- and all my friends have broadband, so I never get CDs from them. In fact, one has a mac, two use Firefox, and one isn't even allowed to install software.

Unless a root exploit is discovered in mplayer, I figure I'm pretty safe.

Should I write a book about how to _really_ protect yourself?

Re:As a teenager (14) who uses computers... (0, Troll)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060162)

Is it really that useful given that I run Linux ... don't play games and have no friends

I'm sorry, but you're really asking for it with a comment like that.

Talk to your parents... (5, Insightful)

nearlygod (641860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060047)

I think that the net would be a lot better place if we all talked to our parents about safe computing.

The problem with these sorts of books... (4, Insightful)

BluhDeBluh (805090) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060081)

is that it uses the assumption that teenagers - a group that have grown with modern technology - do not understand the basic concepts of computing, privacy etc. I would argue this isn't actually true.

A better audience for a similar book would be the average parent PC user who doesn't understand why their PC is giving him those stupid Messenger messages, why they should run Windows Update or the average 419 scam to make them better equipt for the world. In my admittedly limited travels, it's been a lot easier to explain technical stuff to the teenage generation, and I'm sure each teenager has a /.-reading PC geek in their class. And, we can assume, any responsible parent who knows about scams, clichéd chatroom use, P2P virii etc would educate their children about this stuff anyway. It's not exactly complicated to explain to people who have grown up with this stuff.

I also assume the book includes a degree of uninformed scaremongering. Firewalls are not required - indeed, you can safely use the internet without a software firewall simply because they can be easily bypassed by anyone caring enough to bypass them - ie trojan writes. Viruschecking software is not essential if you are smart enough to know what you're running and don't run the average VBS file or P2P fraud (PHOTOSHOP 7.0.REAL.EXE). 4 years with yearly virus checks confirms this.

And I'm sure that parents treat children like idiots regarding the average "chatroom" use. No doubt the fools who previously gave their names and telephone numbers to random people on the 'net must have got the message by now, and that assumes that there are large amounts of people gullible to be taken in by it.

Infected CDs? (2, Interesting)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060085)

He's careful to include other avenues of attack besides the Internet, such as infected floppies and CDs cut by well-meaning friends.

Has anybody ever gotten a virus from an infected CD?

Re:Infected CDs? (1)

flying_monkies (749570) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060173)

When I was working front line tech support for a backup software vender, I had a customer explain to me that his system was infected with a virus during the OS load from a CD he received from DEC. Dunno if that was true or he was an idiot (ok, after him explaining how the system crashed I knew he was an idiot).

Re:Infected CDs? (1)

5m477m4n (787430) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060204)

Yes! Back in the day of System 7, I got a virus from a CD that came free with MacAddit magazine. I wrote them a nasty email and never bought another issue.

Re:Infected CDs? (2, Informative)

White Roses (211207) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060276)

Well, I did get an infected CD with a copy of MacAddict once. I don't recall the exact situation, or which virus it was, but MacAddict was very responsive to my concerns and posted information on avoiding it to their website, as well as sending an uninfected copy out to at least me, if not the entire subscription base (yes, yes, both of us, very funny). I think the circumstances were that they had sent the virus-checked master to replication in the very small window of time between a virus appearing in the wild, and being nerfed by the virus companies. Turned out there was a virus (or maybe it was a trojan) on the master that was so new it hadn't been caught yet. What I remember most is that MacAddict was very helpful, so I guess it's a PR win for them, but that's offtopic.

It happens rarely, but it happens. And this was a major publisher. I trust CDs I get from my friends less than that.

Re:Infected CDs? (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060312)

Yes. In fact, a worm that spread almost exclusively by CD, the AutoStart 9805 Worm [macintouch.com], was basically the only real worm threat on the Mac for that particular year, and IIRC even managed to get onto a couple of magazne CDs.

Who ever would have thought? (1)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060123)

A geek at a computer would have to read a 'pamphlet' on 'using protection'.

Seriously though, most of what it takes to protect your computer should be common sense by now to most people. Don't open strange attachments, don't download warez infested with virii, and run a firewall (hardware or software or both) and an antivirus package of your choice. Oh, and don't give out personal info all over the web.

If you follow these rules, you'll mostly be ok. But kudos to anyone who trys to help the uninformed of the world. Surely, there will come a day when the majority are safe users instead of the other way around. This will benefit us all.

viruses (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060275)

don't download warez infested with virii, ...don't try to make up psuedo-Latin plurals that don't make any sense...

Great, Protection from protection? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060127)

First we are encouraged to use Trojan's for protection...

Now people are telling us to protect ourselves from Trojans!

I agree on the whole abstinence thing... My life would be so much easier if my friends didn't call every time their computer gets screwed up...

stereotypes (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060177)

As a 15 year old, I resent the implication that teenagers aren't knowlegable. Even as I sit here, dist-upgrading my server farm through a dancer's shell, I can feel the network shuddering as spam is relayed through my parents two computers, out onto the internet. It would take me less than 30 seconds to find a windows box at school that is thoroughly compromised, and spamming / DDoS'ing something. It's not like we write the code that gets exploited..

a book isn't the the answer (1)

Nuttles (625038) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060179)

If a person is willing to pick up a book about a computer and go through it, doing what it says, then they will probably be alright when in comes to security. The problem is that people don't generally care about security. They think that it will happen to someone else. When something does happen to them, they wonder why, but only until someone fixes their problem. In the end, as long as someone gets them back and running they still don't care. The answer is not a book, no matter how good it is. I don't pretend to know the answer to the problem of security, but what I think is that first people have to care enough about it to put their time into it. Right now, I don't think people in general care that much.

Nuttles
Saved by Grace

Don't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10060193)

Protection doesn't work.... we must preach abstinence to our children...

Just stay off the internet until you're 18, kids... (and you have your own damn computer/network to infect)

Are you kidding? (4, Funny)

xYoni69x (652510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060211)

I am a teenager, and it's *my* job to secure the network, install Firefox and an anti-virus on computers used by my family, and basically be the IT department around here, because nobody else knows how.

It should be the other way around. If my parents and sisters read such a book, maybe I'd get less tech support requests.

Rewrite it for Geriatrics (1)

macz (797860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060213)

The Pre-baby boomer generation needs to have this sugar-coated pablum shoved down their e-mail virus opening, AOL using, hanging bare ass off the internet without a firewall with a windows 9x machine using, throats. Forcibly if necessary.

Somebody rewrite it in the same ouvre that Caroll O'Connor used so effectively in "All In The Family"

"Awww geeeez! Don't open that email you meathead!"

They invented the stuff, let us use it.

(I'm just pissed that they will always be able to hold that "saved the world from hitler" thing over us for eternity.)

And for those of us not running Windows?? (2, Interesting)

talexb (223672) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060217)

Funny, my 16 year-old stepson is using the Mandrake Linux installation I set up for him -- he can boot to Windows 98 to play games, but that's a vanilla installation, and not configured for networking. My LAN is protected by a dynamite router by NetGear -- the only port that responds is 22, and that goes to my Linux box. So really the only part of this book that's relevant is the part about identity theft.

NEW FLASH! (1)

agtorange (804364) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060257)

In a related topic freestyles one of the worlds largest condom manfature recently placed a bid to buy out Symantec.

10/10 ? (2, Insightful)

ab762 (138582) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060264)

Is this really a perfect technical book? or is the reviewer a close friend of the author? Nothing is dated, nothing is misunderstood?

I've never read a technical book I'd rate 10/10 ... 9/10 is reserved for the greats like Tannenbaum on networking, K&R on C - and books only get that rating in retrospect. (Usually when I buy the second copy, either because I wore one out or to have one at home and one at work.)

from my experience... (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060282)

...it's the parents who need this book, not the kids. The older the user, the more likely that user is to be completely and utterly clueless.

When I was teaching kids computers, aside from the occasional porn background image (like farts, it never seems to get old to teenage boys) they weren't the ones I had to worry about. It was the teachers and administrative staff that continually fucked up the system.

Max

Online games and firewalls - Halo (2, Interesting)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060289)

Firewalls are discussed in detail, as well as their possibly unintended consequences (an online game refuses to run because a critical port is being blocked by the firewall, for example)

This reminded me of a recent disturbing incidedent at a LAN party I was hosting. We were playing Halo, behind my router, configured with a firewall and NAT; DMZ was off, one of my guests was hosting the server so no unintentional rule in the firewall would've been forwarding him traffic from the outside (he was also DHCPed, further reducing the likelyhood, AND I checked the rules later), we had set up no additional firewall rules to allow people on the internet to connect to the Halo server, to our surprize and my chagrin, people outside my router were able to connect to the server apparently being run inside my LAN, somehow bypassing my firewall. Everyone at my LAN party has a good bit of network and computer experience, but this left us scratching our heads. We had always assumed Halo did the standard client-server thing and waited for clients to connect to it on some port. To this day I'm still not quite sure how it happens; my best guess is Halo connects to some master server which instructs to connect to the client machines, or (more likely) clients connect to the master server and data flows through it on its way to the game server. Anyone know for sure how Halo's doing this?

kids these days (4, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10060314)

Gheez, Back in my day, the only hazard of using computers was getting your tie caught in the chain printer.
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