Tony Bradley, CISSP-ISSAP, is the Guide for the About.com site for Internet / Network Security. He has written for a variety of other web sites and publications including SearchSecurity.com, WindowsNetworking.com, Smart Computing Magazine and Information Security Magazine. Currently a security architect and consultant for a Fortune 100 company, Tony has driven security policies and technologies for antivirus and incident response for Fortune 500 companies and he has been network administrator and technical support for smaller companies. He is Microsoft Certified as an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) and MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator) in Windows 2000 and an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) in Windows NT.
He has on average over 600,000 page views per month and 25,000 subscribers to his weekly newsletter. He created a 10-part Computer Security 101 Class which has had thousands of participants since its creation and continues to gain in popularity through word of mouth.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Computer Security for EveryoneNov. 19 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
One of the first things to know about this book is that it doesn't try to be a complete reference for computer security, and it keeps it focus very well. It doesn't try to be a computer security book for the top 5% of the technically inclined, either. Instead, it tries to be a computer security book for the masses and covers topics that they'll need to know to keep their computer safe. The book outline why this is important to the average user: your own data will be kept safe and your computer will be kept problem free, and your computer wont be a problem source for everyone else.
The book does a decent job of laying out what it will cover and mostly picks topics that matter most, require the least amount of extra effort to make it happen. The book isn't just for one situation, either, and it covers some home network setups which include wireless routers and such. Overall, it seems to have picked its territory well.
It covers this territory in an OK fashion, which is to say that it gives an adequate treatment to the important topics but leaves a few spots uncovered. I'm pleased that it covers some basic WinXP stuff, like how to secure your accounts and such.
The chapter on passwords was OK, and about what I expected. Obviously these are important, as bots that perform brute force attacks to get in are as popular as ever. The chapter on patching is OK, but seems incomplete. It should have done a better job of covering Windows Update a little more thoroughly (it felt like it stopped short of this important feature) and a bit more on how to use built-in vendor supplied "I have an update available" stuff that is increasingly popular.
Part II is what's probably unique about this book, and gives some of the best meat around for this level of a book. It covers home networking safety (ie keeping the neighbor kid from using your WIFI and keeping your computers safe and usable behind a DSL firewall), email security (both your account credentials and attachment security), and spyware, adware, and general web-browser security. I would have liked to have seen the book advocate (with great reasons) Firefox over IE and Windows Defender in addition to AdAware and Hijack This.
Part 3 is about maintenance and backups, and it's decent. It slips into Linux advocacy in Chapter 12, which we could have done without.
The appendices are good, well reasoned and well executed. The case study and the basics covered complement the book well.
Overall the book does a decent job, and targets the kind of person who would like to know enough to participate in some popular forums and contribute, so they have some technical skills that they're growing. It wont do so well with people who are not very technically inclined, and that's not unsurprising.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Book for Home and Small Business UsersNov. 19 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is a really compact overview of computer security for non-technical users. But, at the same time, it's technical. Not too technical, but technical enough to walk the reader through setting up a home firewall, a secure network (wired or wireless), and anti-spyware to name just a few.
There's a lot of goodies in only 278 pages.
A lot of books that have come out lately on home computer security are either too light to be of value, or focus more on identity theft and fraud prevention. These are important topics, but Tony sticks to bread-and-butter technical measures home users need to understand.
There's real meat in here that goes into surprising detail that's easy to follow that I've haven't seen in other recent books. Tony does a good job of covering setting up Local Security policies on Windows machines, for example. This is something I've only seen in hardcore techie manuals that probably wouldn't normally be seen by most home users.
There's a great chapter on disaster recovery, how to follow security bulletins from Microsoft and apply patches regularly. And, for the daring home use, even a chapter on setting up Linux.
The case study for a small business is also well done and can provide valuable insight for a home user setting up their own network.
Essential Computer Security is complete yet simple and achieves the goal of its title.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The best book on the subject in yearsNov. 12 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
If you have ever wished that your company's IT staff had more time to
help you understand why you should not open email from people you do
not know or how an IP address relates to the DNS, this book is for
you. If you have ever wanted a personal network security consultant
always on-call to explain the workings of daily network security
issues, this book will meet that need at a fraction of a percentage of
The author sketches the general framework of a both wired and wireless
networks. He then discusses in detail the risks associated with each
application that uses those networks -- email, web browser, etc. In
each case, his explanations are well-worded such that, by the end of
any section, the reader feels like they grok the philosophy of
security and has always known what the author just taught them. He
does not obfuscate the content of the book in unexplained acronyms and
unnecessary details but keeps his task of empowering the average user
always in view.
Aside from covering the basics of network dynamics and applications
used by the average internet user, the book offers two other boons for
small and medium business users. For those who are unsure what a
computer firewall is and how to deploy one effectively, the author
offers an in-depth discussion of the subject via a case study. In
addition, for those who are frustrated with Windows security lapses,
another chapter offers a comprehensive discussion of alternatives to
Windows applications and offers counsel on how to migrate to Linux.
Unlike other books, the author does not talk down to the reader but
shares his extensive knowledge as a co-labourer in the reader's
efforts. I wish I could have given this book to users when I worked
for a major university -- but then I would have been out of a job!
Simply put: This is one of the best computer security books for users
that I have seen for several years.
Dated but GoodJan. 27 2014
Bart L. Schairer
- Published on Amazon.com
While Essential Computer Security is dated most of the information it contains is still relevant. Due to its age I wouldn’t pay a premium price for it, but if you can get it used, as I did, it is definitely worth your time. If you are new to computer security this book is an excellent place to start; if you are already very knowledgeable in the subject then you can probably skip this book. I suppose the book’s strength is to people fairly new in the subject as it is easy to understand and covers the most basic concepts while moving into more complicated ones. Most people will find material they can use in the book and will find other sections that are either too basic or too complicated for their expertise.
I got the book to learn more about wireless security. While the book was published in 2006 I was able to learn what I needed from it and along with what I knew about more recent advances I obtained all the information I needed to secure my home wireless network that consists of older devices along with new equipment. The book also covers the basics about passwords, user accounts, internet security, IP addresses, malware, VPNs, security settings, Windows issues, fixing things once you have a problem, and it even dabbles in Unix and Linux a bit.
Again, I don’t think this book is worth full retail due to its age, but if you can get it used at a decent price unless you’re an expert already you’re sure to find something you can use that makes it worth the cost.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great intro to infosecSept. 29 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
Driving on the information highway, users face threats ranging from worms to scams. The Essential Computer Security: Everyone's Guide to Email, Internet, and Wireless Security can serve as the owner's manual for anyone serious about ensuring the security of their computer and the data contained therein. Many victims of identity theft could undoubtedly have protected themselves had they followed the basic rules outlined in the book.
Essential Computer Security does not attempt to be an encyclopedic work covering the esoteric realms of computer security. Rather, author Tony Bradley takes a "just the facts" approach and covers the essentials, focusing on the two applications average consumers use most: e-mail and the Internet.
In 12 lucid, easy-to-read chapters, Bradley covers all of the necessary topics end-users need to understand, from the basics of Microsoft Windows security to passwords, patching, malware, wireless, e-mail security, and more.
The text does have a technical angle for readers who want that level of detail.
Too few IT security books are written for the typical user. This work lives up to its title and fills an important need.