IntroductionIntroduction: Ignore This Book at Your Own Peril!
And identity thieves.
These are eight good reasons why you should buy this book, plus one arbitrary reference to a British salad condiment from Heinz that I love, just to keep the list interesting.
If you run Windows XP, the most insecure computer operating system ever invented, these eight nasty threats will rob you blind and torment you within an inch of your digital life and make your glorious and shiny minivan existence starkly miserable and mud splattered.
These computer nasties are a big fat plague. Good thing salad cream was invented.
And the worst of it is that very few computer owners know how bad it really is. No salad cream jokes here. In all seriousness, the state of computer security today is just ugly.
Here's the good news, however. I can help. And not only will I help, but I'll do it without forcing you to spend much more money than you already have spent on your computer. Almost everything I'll teach you in this book is done using mostly free software, easy-to-understand techniques, and analogies that often use small furry, chittering creatures.If you don't find at least one nasty program that shouldn't be on your computer, come back and buy Danielle Steele's latest novel over in the romance section because you don't need my help.
In this book, I'll show you how to cleanse your computer, halt further infections, do major damage control, and lock down the most insecure computer operating system you have ever seen. I know I said that earlier, but XP is just awful. You'll also enjoy 1,329 other really good bits of information that will be equally compelling.
When you're done with this book, you'll want to dance until you wear out your pants. And in fact I encourage it often in these pages. Then you'll want to go help your grandma because you'll know that if you're at risk, she's in deep grandma trouble with her computer. Then I want you to tell your neighbors and help them. And become the gal or guy who everyone goes to for help on home computer security. And here's the kicker: You don't even have to be a geek. Nope, you can continue to dress fashionably; eat good, wholesome food; and hold eye contact with handsome men and pretty women in elevators. Geeks are actually cool. But you don't have to become one to learn about personal computer security.
All I ask is that you read one chapter at a time. Start with the first seven, which detail the key threats you'll face in computer security. I'll scare the socks off you and then make it all better with easy-to-understand, geek-free help.
How This Book Is OrganizedChapter 1Viruses: Attack of the Malicious Programs
In this first and vividly exciting chapter, I tell you what viruses are, why they are a problem, and how to get rid of them. Plus learn secrets, such as the real reason people write them in the first place.
Chapter 2Spyware: Overrun by Advertisers, Hijackers, and Opportunists
This is a modern day computer pandemic. Your computer is probably rife with this malware. Bad companies are making money with it learning what you do on your computer. At the same time, spyware is also slowing your computer down. Most people experience a 30%50% performance boost when they get rid of spyware for the first time. How's that for an upsell?
Chapter 3Hackers: There's a Man in My Machine
Who are these people? Why do they want to get on to your computer? I tell you why and then show you how to shut them out. And I make a good joke about cheese in this chapter.
Chapter 4Identity Thieves and Phishers: Protect Your Good Name and Bank Account
These people are going to suck your bank account dry. And they trick you into helping them do it. I show you how to stop them.
Chapter 5Spam: Unwanted Email from Hell
Junk mail is a deluge, but like a Shop Vac on spilled ketchup, it's easy to clean up. I'll show you how in only a few pages.
Chapter 6Wireless Network Snoops: Lock Down Your Wi-Fi Network
Let's pretend you're free of all the other nasties in this book, but I bet if you have a wireless home network, your neighbors are using your Internet connection and maybe even snooping in places they shouldn't be inside your computer. I help you stop them.
Chapter 7Privacy Snoops: Cover Your Tracks and Your Reputation
Do you surf places on the Internet that are naughty? Do you plan birthday presents for nice people in your home? Do you keep exciting secrets on your computer? Keep the snoops out of your personal business. I'll show you how.
Chapter 8Let's Smash-Proof Windows: Tweak Windows XP Nice and Tight
In the second part of this book, I'll walk you through how to lock down Windows XP so tight that you'll think it's the most secure operating system ever. All with freebie software!
Chapter 9Starting from the Beginning: Wiping a Hard Drive and Rebuilding from the Ground Up
And if you are really ambitious, I'll also show you how to wipe your computer clean and start fresh (it's like gallivanting among tulips the first time you do it) and then I'll show you how to lock down Windows XP so it's more secure than a bucket of Brussels sprouts at a birthday party.
Chapter 10Ongoing Maintenance: Fend Off Future Threats!
Of course it's fine to be safe now, but what about tomorrow and the next day? Well, clever me, I've thought of that. I show you how to keep your computer secure tomorrow, next week, next month, but not next year because I want to sell you another book.
Chapter 11Selecting Software: Steals, Deals, and Software Duds
Next, I'll go over what the story is with lots of different security software. Do you have to buy it or can you get it all free?
Chapter 12Tools of the Trade: Security Products You Should Own
And in the final chapter I'll tell you what software is really good and where to get it.
Also, my talented assistant Sarah Hammond has written the best and most exciting glossary you have ever read. It's really scintillating and has been nominated for glossary of the year.
Special Elements Used in this Book
You'll also see a lot of help in the margins of this book. Here's how it looks and what it means.
Note - This is stuff that I figured I should tell you when it popped in my head. Notes aren't essential reading, but I urge you not to skip them as you'll learn a lot of extra stuff here that you might not find elsewhere.
Tip - These succulent bits of info should help you with odd problems or give you insight into issues that are confusing. Don't skip these! Here, you'll find faster ways to accomplish tasks, insider tidbits, and expert tips I've accumulated along the way.
Caution - These blurbs keep you out of trouble. I hope. If you don't read these, you're asking for trouble. Security is risky business. I've done my best to point out common pitfalls, gotchas, and other assorted nasties.
Occasionally, I've added some additional information that's ancillary to the main topic, but still worth reading. Think of these as important stuff that didn't fit anywhere within the confines of the chapter you're reading, but are too important to skip.
Reader Competition...of Sorts
If you are one of the first 10 people to tell me by email what page the Monica Lewinsky reference is on and whether it's a note, tip, or caution, I'll send you a Cyberwalker T-shirt or a Cyberwalker thongyour choice. Both are nice and if you don't believe me, ask Rick Kughen, my editor at Que. He wears his fishing.Size (of the thong or T-shirt) is also helpful.
Finally, if you want to contact me and say nice things, tell me about how you saved your grandma with advice from this book, or send me chocolate cake (which I also love), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you've read this far, go buy this book. I am almost out of salad cream.
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