×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Symantec Guide To Home Internet Security

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the protect-ya-neck dept.

Book Reviews 139

r3lody writes "There are many households that have high-speed Internet connections, yet most people are simply not doing enough to protect themselves from the many exploits that exist. The Symantec Guide to Home Internet Security by Andrew Conry-Murray and Vincent Weafer was written to speak to those people. Symantec Press is the publisher, yet it remains reasonably vendor-neutral. This book is for non-technical people. Its ten chapters cover a relatively slim 240 pages, so it should not intimidate someone who is not a computer professional. Also, you do not really have to read the book front-to-back, but you can focus in on the chapter or chapters that interest you and have fairly complete information." Read on for the rest of Ray's review.The first chapter gives the reader a basic overview of the risks of using the Internet without some steps to protect yourself. Fraudsters, those who ply you with get-rich-quick schemes and other spam-delivered scams, are distinguished from hijackers who compromise your machine for local data or to make it part of a “bot farm”. The remaining chapters discuss various aspects of security exposures, how to protect yourself from them, and conclude with a checklist of high points and “Helpful Resources” that contain web sites, phone numbers, and occasional additional side-bars with more in-depth examples.

The next chapter is a very informative chapter on preventing identity theft. This part of the book is worthwhile, even if you don’t use the Internet for financial transactions. The authors mention how your personal data can be stolen from company databases, despite precautions you yourself have taken. There are discussions on social engineering and dumpster-diving, as well as phishing scams and keyloggers. The best part of the chapter is the “Recovering from Identify Theft” section. Hopefully you will never need the information there, but it’s very helpful to see it collected in a simple bulleted list. The second side-bar at the end discusses a personal account of a brush with identity theft.

Chapter 3 covers firewalls, which most people think is the only protection they need. It discusses the basics of Internet Protocol (IP), and what firewalls can and can’t do. Lists of both free and commercial firewall products are provided. It wraps up with a few sites that can test your firewall settings to see if you are really protected or not. There were a couple of minor errors (for example, 192.101.432.156 is offered as an IP address, but the third number can’t be more than 255), but most non-technical people need the product lists provided.

The following two chapters cover the various forms of “malware” (viruses, worms, adware, spyware, and Trojans). Conry-Murray and Weafer provide several preventative actions you can take to avoid infection — the most important involves using your common sense (e.g. “Use a firewall” and “Don’t Open Strange E-Mail”) They wrap up by describing how to remove malware via the available anti-spyware programs.

The final category of unwanted Internet debris is spam. The authors state that for most people “spam is an annoyance rather than a plague.” However, they go on to disclose figures that estimate anywhere from 50 to 90% of the 30 billion e-mails sent each day are spam. To explain why spam works, a side-bar talks about Jeremy Jaynes, who was convicted in November 2004 for spamming. He generated about 10,000 credit card sales per month. Two-thirds of those were returned, yet he still netted more that $100,000 a month.

Chapter 7 covers securing Windows XP. At the time of publishing, Microsoft had come out with XP Service Pack 2, with the Windows Security Center. A large section deals with installing SP2 and configuring the Security Center. It’s kept at a level that most users can comprehend and follow, making it another very worthwhile chapter. The following section describes securing Internet Explorer 6 in great detail. The authors do suggest, however, that you might want to use a different browser, such as Firefox or Opera. The thinking is that Firefox and Opera will be more secure because fewer exploits are targeted towards them.

Locking down Windows and IE is not enough to keep your family safe. That’s why they devote the next chapter to “Keeping Your Family Safe Online.” Pitched mostly to parents of younger kids, chapter 8 starts by talking about blocking objectionable content using IE’s Content Adviser. Sexual predators is the next topic, and the authors give the reader good information on how to monitor your children’s online activities, as well as how to report solicitations to the authorities. The final topic revolves around file-sharing software. While they mention the prospect of downloading viruses, the legal ramification of potentially housing illegal downloads is the most important lesson to take away from this section.

Many homes are now using wireless access points. Unfortunately, poor configurations open them up for eavesdroppers and bandwidth hijackers. The simple precautions of changing and hiding the network name (SSID) and changing the password will do a lot, but encryption using WEP, WPA, or WPA2 will help a lot more. They also go into the security issues of public hotspots, including the prospect of “Evil Twins” (user computers that offer a look-alike access point just to steal your personal information).

The book wraps up with a chapter on “Privacy and the Internet.” Anyone who conducts any transactions over the Internet has their personal data stored on a computer that might be accessed online. The key precaution is to not divulge any information you don’t absolutely have to. Data Brokers collect amazing amounts of information on each of us. Three major companies, Acxiom, ChoicePoint and LexisNexis are individually described, with information on how to get reports on what information they’ve recorded, and possibly how to opt-out of having it stored.

Andrew Conry-Murray and Vincent Weafer conclude the book by giving the reader five basic steps to protect themselves online. However, I prefer their final, single simple rule: Use Your Common Sense.

The Symantec Guide to Home Internet Security, though a slim book, is packed with a lot of valuable information pitched to the non-technical user. I believe that anyone with a computer connected to the Internet would benefit from reading this book.

You can purchase The Symantec Guide to Home Internet Security from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

139 comments

Hmm... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211490)

The Symantec Guide to Home Internet Security

Oxymoron?

Re:Hmm... (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211522)

Indeed. I'd have a hard time trusting anything about security from a company that has put out some of the worst anti-virus and firewall software I've ever seen.

Re:Hmm... (5, Funny)

holyspidoo (1195369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212130)

Install norton and the computer becomes too slow to run anything, thus making it safe. Flawless. Next week, Norton Car Safety: how filling your tank with cool aid and your oil tank with mountain dew will keep you from crashing your car.

Re:Hmm... (1)

headwick (247433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212566)

It is absolutely horrendous. We just uninstalled symantec endpoint 11 and obtained a refund for our entire enterprise. There are numerous bugs with the product that cause it to render various servers useless for no valid reason. Our choice was reboot 3 times a day, or uninstall. We had 4 major errors that symantec had open and were waiting for a fix, all of which caused us considerable pain. I used to be a big supporter of symantec for the corp side, and somewhat of a supporter on the home user side. Now I have been soured against them completely...

Re:Hmm... (3, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213092)

Norton used to be really hot stuff. Their products were fantastic, and even as replacements for tools supplied by the OS (chkdisk and later scandisk, and defrag) they were worth the price of admission because they worked so much better. It was like night and day.

When they were bought by Symantec, they maintained their quality for a while, but eventually, they just didn't work. Antivirus was really the last utility to fall, but even it finally did. I used to wholeheartedly recommend Norton (and later, Symantec's Norton line) products to anyone who ran Microsoft OSs. Now, my recommendation is unquestionably to uninstall it, download the full removal tool, and run that, too.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22216246)

I can remember recovering source code from a crashed disk using their sector recovery tools back in the day. Saved me at least a week of work. It's sad how far they've fallen.

Re:Hmm... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213702)

The network I'm administering had been using Norton Antivirus Corporate, with its supposedly wonderful centralized server software, and I could never get the updating on workstations to work correctly. What a pile of junk. With the annual subscription up a couple of weeks ago, I recommended we drop this steamy pile of monkey droppings, and we went with F-Prot. It's pretty simplistic as far as distribution, but that's fine by me. It has a significantly lower footprint that Norton's garbage.

Re:Hmm... (1)

themelv (1000816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213558)

It's a shame that in their travels they destroyed Atguard, the best windows firewall software I've ever seen.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213744)

Indeed. Symantec's memory leaks keep bringing our servers down. Maybe that's a security feature; you don't get spam if you don't get mail, and you don't get viruses if nothing runs.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Jansingal (1098809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214036)

>>> worst anti-virus and firewall software I've ever seen

can you expand on that?

Re:Hmm... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214690)

The firewall is horribly buggy, often drops the network. The AV software has got memory leaks that it make it terrible on workstations and much worse on servers. The "centralized" corporate edition is godawful at distributing updates.

In short, it's junk.

Re:Hmm... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211640)

Seriously, you want security just go mac. I mean mac can do pretty much anything a PC can do but sleeker and nicer. I have an iphone and it can play movies. I don't know what the deal is with people who buy DVD/HDDVD/BluRay players. You have to go buy the disc, which is bigger than the iphone (that tells you how obsolete they are) and you have to manually insert it into the player. I'm not a manual laborer, I am an artist and I don't want to have to waste space on having a green-unfriendly post consumer waste Disc case plus the disc itself which I suspect isn't biodegradable and probably has carbs (I have a carbon footprint of 0 btw). I mean you get itunes and your iphone and you have your movies. Iphones do more for world peace and the environment than any ugly PC and obsolete technology. Al Gore has an Iphone and he won a nobel prize.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211902)

(I have a carbon footprint of 0 btw)
I'm sure you're forgetting to account for the foul gas that you emit whenever you open your mouth.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22212416)

i use mac with my brother sometimes... its very cool... my brother is 30 years old hes pretty smart... he has 45 iq its the same as heis shoe size.. pretu good considaring 100 is full.... mac is cool but visat is beter... i am takeru on msn... bcz when i play halo for the second time i knew what was going too happen befor eit happend... so im takeru... its pretty cooll... is anyone else here mac... thatwould be prety cooll... sonic is cool... i dont like tails though bcz hes sonics girlfrend... i want2 be sonics girlfrend.... sonic is so fast and handsome its increddibnle... sometimes... mac... together... my mom and dad are brother and sister... its prety cool i gess... i herd its prety normal in america.... they love eachother like a father and daugher... theyr so cute together... together... sometimes... mac... my brother is in wheel chair... but hes cool because hes smart... yea... the boy in the basements said he isnt smart and he say bad thing about my dad... but its no mater... he is chained up... in basement... together... vista... yea... maybe... mac is pretty cool bcz they are like copmuters... and the y hav leaf powers btu in mac their in the sfrari... and im there too because im takeru... together... sometimes... i hear screaming from basement... dosnt mater... the boy there is happey.... yea...

Re:Hmm... (1, Redundant)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212378)

Al Gore has an Iphone and he won a nobel prize.
Ah, so that's what he won for.

I have a carbon footprint of 0 btw
Son, I want you to re-read that line you wrote, then smack yourself in the head. Hard.

Someday, you'll understand, and thank me.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22212500)

So are we ignoring the rant about DVD players? The reference suggesting that a disc has carbs and the fact that it's modded funny?

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22212858)

Never thought I'd ever run into a super hippie of this magnitude.

Your comment made my brain hurt

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22212996)

Try and make a better job of detecting irony when you see it. It'll do your brain good.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22214108)

nice to know it works for you, some people like to play games on there machine to.

in other words, just like the jesus freaks out there...shut the f*ck up and leave me alone

Re:Hmm... (0)

iago-vL (760581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212376)

Despite the easy jokes at Symantec's expense, I used to work under Vincent Weafer and he's a smart guy. Whether or not you like their software, they do a lot of good research and have a lot of smart people, including most of the old SecurityFocus guys where I worked, in Calgary.

So, in short, think what you want about their software, but it doesn't mean everybody there is dumb.

Re:Hmm... (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212434)

Exactly my thoughts on it upon seeing the title. I was once explaining to a friend how to configure port forwarding on his computer, and he had Norton Internet Security. Needless to say I didn't manage to make any rule work in that damn firewall.

Re:Hmm... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213132)

Actually, this could work, you know...

Have Symantec do your home security & if it's anything like their PC products, the speed of any burglar's passage through your house will be reduced to an absolute crawl plus your house windows will keep popping open in order to distract him...

"Cheat Sheets" (0, Redundant)

webword (82711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211518)

Are there any cheat sheets available in the book? I'd be happy to shell out some cash to get the quick and dirty tips inside the book. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, etc.

Also, how well does this cover Mac topics? I'm curious about the (ugh!) integration sometimes required to connect PCs and Macs, especially for individuals and small businesses.

Re:"Cheat Sheets" (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211562)

Dude, those cheat sheets are all over the web. Or, you could always hit up a forum and ask nicely (that's how most of us learned what we know).

If you really want, post a JE. Plenty of us here with nothing better to do than help a brother out.

Re:"Cheat Sheets" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211936)

Dude, those cheat sheets are all over the web

Step 1: Don't trust a web forum post that begins with 'dude', and which fails to provide you any useful information.

Step 2: Most 'cheatsheets' miss many details, are way out of date, or are strongly biased towards a particular vendor's product, even if the product sucks.

Step 3: Antivirus software (with live heuristics) will slow your system down like molasses. I practically need a second processor and 256MB of ram JUST to run the AV software (with live heuristics).

In the last 10 years, I've gotten 2 pieces of malware on my system. How the hell do people get all these infections?

MOD PARENT, GP "-1 DUDE" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22212064)

Step 1: Don't trust a web forum post that begins with 'dude', and which fails to provide you any useful information.
Duly noted dude.

Re:"Cheat Sheets" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211904)

Step 1: Download (on a different machine) some decent Anti Virus software. I would suggest Grisoft AVG. Under no circumstances use Symantec.
Step 2: Install the Anti Virus software on your target machine. Ensure it is enabled.
Step 3: Switch on Windows firewall. This is more than adequate for protecting you from inbound threats.
Step 4: Connect your machine to the internet.
Step 5: Update your Anti Virus definitions.
Step 6: Run Windows Update and install all the latest patches.
Step 7: Install the latest Firefox and make it the default browser.
Step 8: Install Thunderbird if you need a mail client.
Step 9-OVER 9000: DON'T DOWNLOAD AND RUN SHIT OFF OF RANDOM INTERNET SITES. DON'T CLICK ON ODD LINKS. USE YOUR BRAIN.

Alternatively, use something that isn't riddled with gaping security holes like MacOS X or Ubuntu.

That last step's a doozy... (2, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213470)

Too many people find that last step too difficult...


I've been using Kaspersky as my anti-virus, and while it's usually rated as one of the most effective, it's gotten really annoying. At first it was just the hundreds of megs of log-files, though I've mostly limited those. But some time in the last six months, its virus tables added some pattern that's in most of my Eudora mailfile backups, and it'll tell me file names but not position in the file. AFAICT, I received some email that either contained a virus or contained a string that Kaspersky thinks looks like a virus signature, and either it's still there or (more likely) I deleted it but hadn't compressed the mailbox file to get rid of it at the time I did the backups. I've cleaned up a few instances of this, but there's some I just can't find sigh.


Re:"Cheat Sheets" (1)

word munger (550251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212000)

Yes, I'd definitely like to know how well Macs are covered. If all the book does is list PC-only security apps, it doesn't do me much good.

WTF (0, Flamebait)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211526)

$20 for information that can be quickly gleaned in 5 minutes from a couple of big sites like about.com? Oooookay.

Nice review. No idea why you posted it here though.

Re:WTF (4, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212052)

$20 for information that can be quickly gleaned in 5 minutes from a couple of big sites like about.com? Oooookay.

Nice review. No idea why you posted it here though.
Maybe because some of us have clueless relatives and being able to hand them a relatively simple (and authoritative in their eyes) book to read, rather then spend 3 hours trying to pound common sense into their heads is an attractive concept. Yes pretty much everyone on slashdot knows all this stuff, and further knows how to research anything we don't know, but trying to impart that information to others is often a trying experience, particularly in the case of relatives that often as not are not particularly inclined to listen to someone they don't view as an authority figure. We know Symantec is crap, but for a large portion of the population it's what they think of when they think about AV and Firewall software, and recommendations coming from them will most likely be given more thought and consideration then the same coming from "that one cousin that's into that computer stuff".

Re:WTF (0, Troll)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212128)

Yes pretty much everyone on slashdot knows all this stuff, and further knows how to research anything we don't know, but trying to impart that information to others is often a trying experience

Which is why I mentioned about.com as my example. It's a mainstream site, and it contains all the information this book does, and more, for free as in beer.

Re:WTF (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212334)

And good luck trying to convince someone to read that. I don't know why, but it's often easier to talk someone into reading a book about something then it is to get them to go to a website about it. Another factor is how well laid out the information on about.com is. Will the person doing the research have to know to search for certain terms? Is there a single "page" with links to all the information provided, or is it divided up into different sections. If it's not all available without having to do any searching at all, that's often a deal breaker with the technically inept.

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213436)

We know Symantec is crap

That may be true for values of "we" that are Windows power users, but what about those of us whose solution to avoiding Windows viruses is "open all files in a different OS"? We've got clueless relatives to support too, you know, and that's hard when we're equally clueless. My dad's job requires him to open Office documents from "high virus risk" senders (so a book that educated him alone would be insufficient), yet the Norton virus scan on those documents is so slow that he's looking at upgrading the (otherwise still speedy) computer. Surely "we" know more than "Symantec is crap" - could that perhaps be elaborated to "Symantec is crap; Office hasn't been susceptible to macroviruses since 200X" or "Symantec is crap; Antivirus software Y won't bog down your computer"?

Re:WTF (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213688)

I'm not entirely certain I'm following you here, but I think you're asking for elaboration on why Symantec is crap and/or a recommendation for non-crap AV. If that is in fact what you're asking, then first of all Symantec is crap because it's an absolute hog and your system might actually perform better if you un-installed Symantec and installed the spyware instead. Second I can recommend three AV solutions, one of them free for home use, and the other two requiring paid subscriptions. First there's Avast [avast.com] which is free for personal use and generally does a decent job, but may not be up to the task of protecting a computer that has to open a lot of files from "high virus risk" senders as you put it. Second is AVG [ewido.net] which is usually reviewed as one of the top recommended AV products out there, and generally finishes at the top of the pack in any AV software benchmarks. Last up is a little known one called NOD32 [eset.com] which was recently rolled into a bundle called ESET SmartSecurity by it's manufacturer. NOD32 is nearly always the best rated AV product for detection of viruses, and is probably the best bet for a high risk environment. Any of those three should do a better job then Symantec, although the last two may work out better then Avast. For a home user, I'd recommend Avast any day, but for commercial environments, either AVG or NOD32 are probably a better choice.

Re:WTF (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214008)

I think you're asking for elaboration on why Symantec is crap and/or a recommendation for non-crap AV.

Well, I was hoping to be informed that Microsoft had eventually figured out not to run unsandboxed executable content in a document editor, thus making anti-virus scans of Office files unnecessary, but "a recommendation for non-crap AV" is almost as good. Thank you very much.

Nothing about PEBKAC? (4, Funny)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211534)

This is incomplete.

Whats a BOFH to do?

Re:Nothing about PEBKAC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211594)

I'd suggest throwing a chair, but you might find yourself infringing on MS's turf.

I bought a Mac... (2, Interesting)

EchoD (1031614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211552)

There are many ways to secure yourself, and one of the easiest is to use an operating system that doesn't fill a huge percentage of the market.

I'm not a blind Mac Fanboy, but I have sight enough to see Apple offers computers that are more than sufficient for average home use. The flaws they had have disappeared. Admittedly, Windows has its place as well. I still keep a Windows box for gaming, I use Windows at work, and I troubleshoot it for friends and family who haven't made the switch.
But, for me, security is no longer a chore.

Re:I bought a Mac... (0, Troll)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211714)

I was once like you too.
But then I coverted the rest of my family (parents, brother in law +sis, mother in law, sis in law) and a couple of friends to Macs, so I no longer need to do tech support for them. (Nothing worse than cleaning up spyware during a Christmas break over a 56k connection while everyone else is sipping cider..)
And then I replaced my gaming windows machine since Enemy Territory Quake Wars plays natively on Linux, so I don't even have to worry about the critical updates any more.
Good job, and good luck.

Re:I bought a Mac... (0, Redundant)

EchoD (1031614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212224)

Many of my family and friends have already made the switch. Due to space restrictions, I no longer have my Windows machine set up and do all of my gaming on either my Wii or Xbox 360.

I get a few support calls from friends regarding their Mac's, but it's usually related to their router or a problem with internet service rather than the machine itself.
Certainly fewer headaches.

Re:I bought a Mac... (2, Interesting)

letchhausen (95030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213900)

This is so odd to me because I have a bunch of computer illiterate relatives and they never have security issues with Windows. In fact, the questions I get are from the Mac users in the family who can't figure out how to do something or want me to turn off something. Usually related to the retarded IPod/ITunes interface and library and the confusion that it spawns for them. That or asking me how to hide that goddam dock waving at them all the time.....of course if the MacBook Air hadn't been such a stupid product I might have gotten one of those and ran Parallels but since Jobs totally muffed it I guess it's XP64 for me......and I have few security issues with Windows (mostly spyware I pick up from surfing in dangerous waters) but I take care of things proactively so I have no worries....I'm hoping that Windows 7 isn't as lame as Vista.......

The Short, SHORT version... (3, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211570)

Buy our stuff.

(Apologies for the title to the Bishop in "Spaceballs")

Symantec? Uh, anyone else have an opinion? (1)

MikeTheCannibal (1162647) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211606)

I am of a younger generation and perhaps I am missing some things, but I was always under the impression both of my own and fellow co-workers that the Symantec line of products flat out sucked. Loaded, bloatware, horrible performance... In all respects, what are my fellow /.'s opinion on Symantec in general? And following with that, why should I believe a damn thing they have to say at this point?

Re:Symantec? Uh, anyone else have an opinion? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211884)

Once upon a time, there was a guy called Peter Norton. He wrote a load of really neat software. The Norton Utilities were essential on any DOS system (and navigating a filesystem without Norton Change Directory still feels clunky to me). Another piece of software his company wrote was an antivirus package. More on this later. At the same time, he wrote some really great technical books.

In 1990, he sold his company to Symantec. Since then, their products have been gradually rebranded and have consistently sucked. Symantec seem under the delusion that their brand is now worth what the Norton brand was worth in the '80s (which, if you ignore inflation, it might be...).

Re:Symantec? Uh, anyone else have an opinion? (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212162)

Symantec is crapware. It's not much better then a lot of the spyware floating around the internet, a certain competes with it for annoying popups and resource hogging. That being said, the reason you should listen to what this book has to say, is because a fellow slashdot reader read it and says they did a good job. The review however points out that this isn't a book for the likes of your typical slashdot reader, but rather one that you might want to pick up so next time an annoying relative asks you a question about internet security, you can lob this book at their head and hopefully get back to doing something useful.

Re:Symantec? Uh, anyone else have an opinion? (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214796)

the reason you should listen to what this book has to say, is because a fellow slashdot reader read it and says they did a good job.
I wouldn't put too much weight on that though. Your "fellow slashdot user" [slashdot.org] doesn't seem to be too much of a user, with apparently only 5 comments to their name (dating from 2004/2005!), and nothing in the last two years.

Funny, then, that their next appearance is to pop up with a review of an out-of-date book from about that same time, but submitted [slashdot.org] last Tuesday...

They expect Joe SixPack to read this? Yeah right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211608)

NO, book on security, technology, etc, that is anything more than a couple of pages long is going to interest is going to be anything Joe SixPack buys and reads to teach themselves what they need to know. Joe SixPack or my grandmother is not interested in knowing or learning about the technology, they just want it to work.

Just like driving a car, they don't care how it works, just how to use it and that they need to take it in for maintenance at regular intervals. Joe SixPack or my grandmother should take their computer in for maintenance or have someone competent set it up and that competent person create a "dummy guide" of make sure your subscriptions to anti-virus, anti-spyware (or setting them up on Ubuntu), etc are up to date and click here for help and do this if this happens. If anything else happens call someone for help.

Dell and others are helping nobody by including trial versions of "anti-virus" programs. I can't even count the number of times those trials have expired and the people haven't gotten virus definition updates for 6+ months.

Joe SixPack's Computers for Dummies (3, Funny)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214298)

Chapter One: The Computer

The "computer" is the rectangular box with a few buttons on the front. The "monitor" is the box with the pretty pictures. These two terms are not interchangeable.

Chapter Two: The Internets

Also known as the "web", this is where porn comes from.

Chapter Three: Computer Security

Both the computer and the Internets are very dangerous - Terrorists use both. To keep your computer absolutely secure, DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING, EVER.

THE END

Here's how to protect yourself (0)

madhatter256 (443326) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211614)

Here's one, and only one, way to protect yourself from virus.

Don't visit porn sites; warez; emule.

That ought to keep you safe from viruses/trojans...

Re:Here's how to protect yourself (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212904)

Or you know, you could configure your browser to be secure (easier in some browsers than others), and just not run any crap you download from said sites (including installing strange codecs).

personal firewalls suck (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211616)

Personal firewalls suck, it has been proven that they usually can be penetrated from both sides.
They also confuse the user and teach him to "click accept or nothing will work", which is barely something you want your user to do.

It's a much more sensible advise to tell your user to turn off unnessesary services, especially since there are now simple applications which do that work for you.

http://www.dingens.org/index.html.en [dingens.org]

External Hardware Firewalls are critical (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213788)

Personal-firewall software running in Windows isn't perfect, and it's running on Windows, so if something else breaks Windows then it can break through the firewall. They're still not a bad thing (except as you noted, teaching users to always hit "ok".) And one long-term usefulness is that they do make it harder to install some kinds of malware that you might do by naively clicking some web link.


More important, though, is having an external firewall that keeps the riff-raff attacks off your computer, at least long enough for you to download Windows updates and anti-virus updates to a new computer. Typical Windows XP computers without them tend to get owned before they have time to get their updates in place, and by keeping out some of the noise, they also reduce load on the computer's operating system. While NAT is overall an abomination that breaks the Internet End-to-End Model, it does at least block some kinds of attacks, and makes it harder for computers that do get owned to send out packets with forged source addresses.

Re:personal firewalls suck (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214722)

"Personal firewalls suck..."

Speak for yourself, it depends on the firewall. I use Sunbelt kerio firewall and I wouldn't go back to a 'non-firewalled' existence. It has an application monitor which allows to gracefully disable and block 'phone home' or other 'ping/contact company server' on applications and to see what your apps are really doing behind your back.

Many apps these days try to communicate to a company server if just to ping it and/or send data back. All behind your back. No one can be trusted when money and IP is involved.

They won't read it (4, Insightful)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211620)

Non-technical users don't want to read a book. That's why they are non-technical and that's why they give Symantec money to ostensibly keep them safe.

Re:They won't read it (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211718)

So, basically the whole book is a scam to educate a user enough to where they think they need security software ($ymantec), but not enough to where they can actually understand that throwing money at the problem of security doesn't make it go away. Safe practice is the only way. Using reliable systems, ie Linux, helps, but still it comes down to being educated.

All in all, I'm gonna go ahead and call this a worthless read.

Re:They won't read it (1)

ewrong (1053160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214092)

So, basically the whole book is a scam to educate a user enough to where they think they need security software ($ymantec), but...
No the scam is convincing us lot that buying and distributing this book will prevent calls from our mum/brother/gran asking why their internet connection is so slow and why no matter how many times they click the "ok" button those damn pop-ups wont go away.

Re:They won't read it (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212058)


That is exactly the attitude that I see in the world around me. People install Symantec and then think (without regard to whether the software license is up to date or not) that it should stop any kind of malicious software or hacking attempt ever.

That kind of thinking is the FAULT of Symantec et al. Yet, these same people would not drink old milk, or trust an aging condom? Go figure.

Re:They won't read it (1)

anthw27 (1101749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213446)

Saying people wont read is hitting the nail on the head. Two of the biggest problems I see when people ring for help is they fail to (1) Listen to what they have been told (2) Dont read the content on the screen. This alone proves the point that people want the technology without the responsibility of having to learn. Some comments here say "just use a Mac" but thats not the solution becuase serious attacks are appearing againt Macs and Linux. I use both Windows and Linux, and prefer Linux for ssecurity reasons, however it does require a level of education. If the computer security Industry wants to make products for the Windows based platform that will keep people happy, then the KISS principle is needed. Have a set of automatic security level templates based on Hardened, Average and Low. Users would love this. The other problem which someone else noted is firewall notifications, users hate them becuase it forces them to interact, this too could be changed tolimit the amount of feedback in to only popup when a predetermined (user controlable) threat or seriousness occurs. Thats the challenge.

Hmmmm.... how about: DON'T USE WINDOWS (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211630)

Isn't the reality that unix derived systems are largely immune to virtually all known pathogens?

If so, just buy a mac or better yet use Linux.

That is all.

Wireless security (5, Informative)

paulius_g (808556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211652)

I personally simply hate the fact how router vendors don't put enough emphasis on how important wireless security is! The only thing that most router manuals say about encryption is that it will slow down the speed of the wireless network. Without further ado, let me bash a bit about this book:

Many homes are now using wireless access points. Unfortunately, poor configurations open them up for eavesdroppers and bandwidth hijackers
You got that right!

The simple precautions of changing and hiding the network name (SSID) and changing the password will do a lot
No it will not! Changing your SSID doesn't do anything in terms of security. All of the data transferred via the network is in the clear. Changing the admin password of the router helps a bit, but there exploits out there which can crack some of these passwords. The goal here is to prevent the bad guys from getting onto your network in the first place. Hiding? In Kismet, you press one button to reveal the hidden APs in the area. Hiding it pointless.

but encryption using WEP, WPA, or WPA2 will help a lot more.
WEP is useless. It can be cracked in less than 60 seconds these days. In fact, it's easier to crack a WEP key than to write it in! WEP is BROKE, and let's make sure that people get the message. WPA and WPA2 are, if you're using a nice and long non-dictionary password, uncrackable. The only attack that can be done on WPA or WPA2 is a dictionary attack. In addition, make sure that you're using AES with WPA, and not TKIP. TKIP is an implementation which uses less CPU, but is very similar to the way how WEP works. It's weak.

They also go into the security issues of public hotspots, including the prospect of "Evil Twins" (user computers that offer a look-alike access point just to steal your personal information).
Very true, but let's be honest here for a second... Am I the only one who's paranoid of entering my PayPal or CC info on an unencrypted public access point? I don't care if it's an AP ran by some mega-trusted corporation, the signal is still out there and anyone can get it.

There. My 2 cents are deposited.

Re:Wireless security (2, Informative)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212070)

WPA and WPA2 are, if you're using a nice and long non-dictionary password, uncrackable.
Don't be lazy, set up a RADIUS server.

Re:Wireless security (1)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212082)

If you use unencrypted public access points, I'd strongly recommend setting up a VPN at home and tunneling whenever you use them. This provides you with encryption and also prevents the owners of the access points from eavesdropping, to an extent.

If you've got a crappy connection at home, it may suck, but it beats being out in the open.

At my university, ever since WEP was broken, most access points on campus have required users to log into the school's VPN to secure their connections in lieu of wireless encryption.

Re:Wireless security (4, Funny)

XorNand (517466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212146)

WEP isn't useless. It will keep 99.99% of freeloaders off a wifi network. And 99.99% of people trying to connect to a wifi network that isn't theirs is just a freeloader. Path of least resistance, man... WEP will continue to be at least marginally useful until Windows ships with Clippy that pops up with "The network you're trying to connect to is WEP-enabled. Would you like to crack it?"

Re:Wireless security (1)

edashofy (265252) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212194)

Am I the only one who's paranoid of entering my PayPal or CC info on an unencrypted public access point? I don't care if it's an AP ran by some mega-trusted corporation, the signal is still out there and anyone can get it.


Um, do you really enter your PayPal or CC info on a non-HTTPS connection? Because if you're on an HTTPS connection, there shouldn't be an issue. Your browser and the site itself have done a key exchange with RSA and are communicating with a very secure block cipher at that point. It doesn't matter whether the connection to the router is encrypted or not, since you've already got very strong encryption within the signal itself. If the signal is also encrypted with WEP or WPA, then you're doubly encrypted, at least for that first hop.

Re:Wireless security (2, Informative)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213524)

There have been attacks on web sessions that go over http (not https), even when some parts of the session were protected using SSL. The idea is that sensitive information may be encrypted, but non-sensitive information will just go over http in for speed and ease of use. However if you can hijack the session through the non-encrypted requests, you can log in as the user without ever knowing their passwords, and then you might be able to do all sorts of nasty things.

The attack was famously performed against people using Gmail, but it could work against many websites.

Re:Wireless security (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212384)

I personally simply hate the fact how router vendors don't put enough emphasis on how important wireless security is! The only thing that most router manuals say about encryption is that it will slow down the speed of the wireless network.


I just opened my new D-Link DI-724GU [dlink.ca] wireless router and gigabit switch today and was honestly impressed at the warning posted inside that pointed out how any wireless networking product can leave your network exposed to third parties and insecure and that proper security measures should be taken (with some basics like how to configure passwords and WPA).

Credit to the people who bother.

Re:Wireless security (4, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212394)


WEP is useless.

Hardly. While WEP isn't very secure, it's enough to say "this is my network, don't connect to it". The lock on my door is probably pickable in 60 seconds too, with about as much skill involved.

It's true that WPA and WPA2 are a lot more secure, and there's little reason not to use them.

make sure that you're using AES with WPA, and not TKIP. TKIP is an implementation which uses less CPU, but is very similar to the way how WEP works. It's weak.

Not everyone agrees that security of your network is the MOST important thing. Compatibility, speed, etc is important too. TKIP is more than secure for the vast majority of people, and I'm unaware of any viable attacks on it.

Re:Wireless security (1)

sketchydave (924305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212420)

You should write a book, and I'm completely serious about that. Hell, write a pamphlet. These are things that we know and the masses don't and industry isn't doing a very good job of getting that information to the end-user and simple things like a guide on what dropdown to choose are hugely helpful. The average user doesn't know what AES is or what TKIP is. Thank God that A comes before T in the alphabet because thats their default choice because that was what was already in there first!

Re:Wireless security (2, Informative)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212428)

In addition, make sure that you're using AES with WPA, and not TKIP. TKIP is an implementation which uses less CPU, but is very similar to the way how WEP works. It's weak.
There is more trouble than that out there. Try running a wireless network with WPA2 and a number of different devices. You'll soon find out that your favorite Linux distro doesn't support the same options as your Mac, and let's not even get me started about windos broken support (which provides you absolutely no helpful error messages to tell you what the problem actually is). Oh, did I mention that it sometimes depends on your wireless card and the driver version?

So I run TKIP, because it happens to work with the setup I have here.

Am I the only one who's paranoid of entering my PayPal or CC info on an unencrypted public access point?
What does that have to do with wireless encryption? If you enter your CC data into anything that isn't SSL encrypted, i.e. end-to-end, then you are crazy. Adding another encryption on top of that, wireless or not, does not improve your security.

Re:Wireless security (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212984)

Am I the only one who's paranoid of entering my PayPal or CC info on an unencrypted public access point? I
What about SSL?

Re:Wireless security (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213638)

The simple precautions of changing and hiding the network name (SSID) and changing the password will do a lot
No it will not! Changing your SSID doesn't do anything in terms of security.
Be wary of going to one extreme when fending off another.

Changing your SSID can, in fact, help with security, in the proper context. It's true that just changing it doesn't really help, however if you're using WPA with a PSK, changing your SSID may well keep you safe from a rainbow table crack.

Changing the admin password of the router helps a bit, but there exploits out there which can crack some of these passwords.
I don't know of any exploits which do this, but I don't know of any wireless routers which reject logins attempts after too many failures, either. However, this mostly implies that the user has access to the network already, so it's probably not something to worry about. We want to keep them out entirely.

Hiding? In Kismet, you press one button to reveal the hidden APs in the area. Hiding it pointless.
Again, you're going to the other extreme. Hiding it isn't /pointless/. It will keep out the casual leecher.

Irresponsible ISPs (2, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211654)

One ISP I used to be with - I don't remember clearly which one now, but it was a big national ISP - said that all you needed to do to keep secure on their connection was to disable Windows filesharing. That's it.

Now, some people really need to use it, if they have more than one computer in the house. And there was no mention of protecting yourself from attacks coming from the Internet.

Simply irresponsible, I say, and by rights the ISP ought to be liable for it.

But... (4, Funny)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211706)

...can you remove it from your bookshelf without sending all of the other books aflame, and causing the shelf itself to collapse into shavings?

Data Brokers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211752)

Maybe this is mentioned more in the book but companies like Acxiom aren't relegated to only collecting online data. Acxiom provides data mining and tracking for large retail stores like Walmart. Anytime you don't pay with cash at these mega retailers, Acxiom will get your personal data and spending habits. I'd be interested in reading this just to see how they recommend opting out of these companies. If they don't get you online, they'll get you at the cash register.

That's the whole trouble (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211764)

"a slim 240 pages"

That's the whole problem. If we need that much space to explain people how to be online without being owned, 90% of 'em won't read it, and will get owned.

Until we've solved that problem - and it's not a technological one, there is no geeky solution here - there is no real security for the average computer user.

Re:That's the whole trouble (1)

holyspidoo (1195369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212026)

"a slim 240 pages" You have plenty of time to read it TWICE while Norton security suite is installing.

Re:That's the whole trouble (1)

Tikkun (992269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212390)

I hate to say this, but there isn't a 240 page book you can read that will prevent you from getting ripped off. When you sign a contract, you need to read the fine print. If you cannot read the fine print, you need to hire a lawyer to do so.

When you use a computer, you need to understand what you are doing. If you cannot do this, you need to consult with a professional who can tell you if you're doing something that will get you pwned.

Initially.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211772)

I read this as "Symantec Guide to Homeland Security" and got very frightened! :P!

Re:Initially.. (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211932)

I read this as "Symantec Guide to Homeland Security" and got very frightened! :P!
Actually, even Symantec could do a better job than the TSA.

Symantec Guide (4, Funny)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211778)

The first rule of Symantec Home Internet Security, is don't install Symantec Home Internet Security.

Re:Symantec Guide (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211974)

Damn you're right. The title sounds like "50 Cent's guide to quantum mechanics"

Re:Symantec Guide (1)

tloh (451585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212602)

Well...yes.
Haha and all that.
What about us poor suckers who have the unenviable task of supporting systems with Symantec preinstalled? My father was given an HP a year ago running this piece of crap on XP and it has given me no shortage of headaches. The fucker takes ages to boot up and more than half the time it refuses to acknowledge the network. I got so tired of wasting time with the damn thing I gave him a lesser box running Ubuntu. Not a word of complaint since. Still, I keep the HP around because it has some other software that makes me reluctant to hose it. It'd be nice to hear how others have come up with good ways to solve the problem *without* avoiding it in the first place.

Re:Symantec Guide (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212774)

To anyone who might reply, "Just uninstall it" - Easier said than done.

In my opinon, most Symantec products are more difficult to clean from a system than the malware they're supposed to protect against. The only way to get rid of it is to nuke and repave Windows.

Re:Symantec Guide (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22213812)

Norton can be a real bastard. I had one of the version 11 corporate edition workstations just give constant errors. There's a utility on the Norton site that will do something (modify hokey registry entries???) and then you can uninstall it.

I'm not afraid, of course, to just go into the registry, and simply wipe out an offending program from system services. That's the fastest way to kill Norton's Internet Security crapola.

Re:Symantec Guide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22214810)

It's the only way to be sure.

Security from Symantec? (0, Redundant)

joshtheitguy (1205998) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211788)

Right... a book on home internet from security from Symantec. I'd defiantly trust pointers on internet security from a company which makes anti-malware software which is incapable of stopping threats or detecting them in the first place.

It's an old book (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22211796)

The book was published in September of 2005. So don't expect much of anything to be current.

I was wondering why there wasn't any mention of Vista in the review.

Re:It's an old book (1)

RedHelix (882676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214038)

I got this sent to me for free a few years ago when I worked in Geek Squad hell. I didn't want anything to do with it until our resident grizzled-veteran (yes, we were lucky to have one of those at my 'Precinct') came in one day saying it's actually pretty unbiased and accurate. In some sections where you're recommended software to execute certain tasks (like a spyware scan,) Norton isn't even listed.

It's a good read; don't write it off.

Misread the title (1)

argmanah (616458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22211990)

When I looked at the title of this /. article, I read "The Symantec Guide to Homeland Security." Given how Homeland Security has performed since its inception, it sounded very believable that Symantec would be writing a guide to it.

AOSS is the way for the general public. (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212060)

As an experienced IT professional, I'm comfortable setting up WPA2-PSK (AES) on my laptops, desktops, and other wireless bits like my Wii and Smartphone.

But for the average schmuck who just stolled home with a new "link-sees" wireless box and new wireless laptop 'puter - they won't bother setting up security, they'll stop when the lights are blinkin' and the porn is streaming.

AOSS seems to be the way to go if more manufactures supported it. Push a button on the access point, and it goes into training mode for 60 seconds. Push a button in the AOSS client program on the device and the two setup a nice encrypted connection without nary a password prompt or "WEP, WPA, or WPA2?" question.

"Security for Absolute Idiots" is what we need... or just disconnect those dumbasses from the internet.

Re:AOSS is the way for the general public. (1)

igb (28052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22214996)

As an experienced IT professional, I'm comfortable setting up WPA2-PSK (AES) on my laptops, desktops, and other wireless bits like my Wii and Smartphone.
Likewise. Indeed, I'm starting to write a simple security policy for the house, which I'll agree with my wife as the other stakeholder, so that I have a canned basis to agree or disagree to things other users (wife, kids, visitors) may want to do. Consider is ISO27001 for small companies. I've built firewalls, hardened Unix boxes, and indeed was probably one of the first people to run TCP/IP on JANET in the mid-80s. All that said, I had to shorten the WPA2 passphrase in order to get my AppleTV to play ball with my base station: as it's twelve characters generated from /dev/random I didn't worry too much, but the previous twenty characters was even better. As someone else said upthread, WPA2 is actually surprisingly tweaky to get working (I've got Apple, Linksys, several Linuxes around the house).

ian

In other news... (1)

esmrg (869061) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212272)

Today, in a bold move, Symantec Inc. has re-branded their renowned Internet Security software package. "Our research shows that customers relate better with hybrid names and acronyms." Said a Symantec representative. "We feel that our new product, Symantec InSecurity captures the uneasiness customers have with our product and the internet in general."

Target audience (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212396)

This book is for non-technical people.
No Kidding! No-one technical uses Symantec products. Well... never more than once...

My guide (2, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22212684)

Having tried this firewall for myself when I eventually got XP (before going on to Linux), is that their new firewall was the fastest way to get my brand new clean install of WinXP on a dual core computer to it's knees in it's speed of use. I did another clean install just to get the speed of a dual core machine back, the computer ran like it was on a 486 with that firewall. Wasted my money.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...