I really enjoyed this book; it is accessible reading for the general audience of computer users. I think Rootkits for Dummies is a necessary read and up-to-date for most anyone who is securing one's own computer for work or home use to go online. The book is not for a very light user who goes online occasionally, but it is definitely a worth while read to those who setup PCs, and laptops for others who go to online. There are so many things people must do to "harden" their PC in order for it to stay safe relatively speaking online. Malicious activity online has grown expotentionally over the last few years. Viruses, malware, and rootkits have become much more sophisticated and harder to detect for those infected. There are so many new users who go online with their PC not adequately protected and without solid knowledge of defending themselves, thus making them part of the malware problem.
Eventhough I consider myself a computer user at the intermediate-to-advanced level: meaning I believe know a lot about web related applications and internet technology but my knowledge is very limited in areas such as hardware. My own personal knowledge of malware is spotty at best. In the area of cyber crime, my niche knowledge is that of phishing scams (emails and websites set up to steal identities, credit card and/or banking information from unususpecting end-users)
Consider this, as recently as 1999, I had little or no protection on my home PC when I went online. That year was the first time I tried anti-virus software, F-PROT. I was still using dialup at the time, but by that time, there were plenty of viruses out there. Nowadays, if one hooks up a PC loaded with Windows XP unprotected, it takes less than an hour for it to get infected. This book fills in the gaps for me of my own spotty knowledge. There are anti-rootkit programs recommended in the book that I already use, but there are still many I have not used yet and look forward to.
This book, like most of the Dummies series, is set up in a reference format. I have used the accompanying CD,and enjoyed GMER particularly. Additionally, I know there are some other very good useful freeware products one can use to defend oneself online. I will come back and update this information after I have used some more of the recommended programs.
My favorite chapter is 2 which mentions the three Rs of Survivable Systems: resistance (being difficult for malware attack), recogination (detecting and identifying infection) and recovery (bouncing back after a malware attack). This chapter helps me visualize what I should to protect my PC. The other chapters tell you how to secure your network, hard drive, your applications, your OS and everything else that could possibly get one infected when going online. The book has an occasional funny cartoon about the very topic of rootkits. It also contains a very useful index helping one to find the page for the topic they are interested in. One of the best finds of the book for me currently is making an backup of my entire hard drive using ISO image files. This is a great find for me personally as I recently had a hard drive failure and I only backed up files I created and some programs, but not the essential files related to the brand of PC I have. I also lost the key to my Windows XP home OS.
One thing many infected end-users do not know about is that they can post their problems to helpful free anti-malware websites. There is a chapter in this book outlining the ones the authors recommend. There are some great folks deeply dedicated in helping people who have various computer problems for free. This type of effort is probably still not well known to many people who are online, even for some who have been surfing for years.