The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Privacy Defended: Protecting Yourself Online':
Reviewer amazon.com wrote:
Lots of books have to do with computer and network security, which is to say they explain how to protect your files and other resources from malicious characters. Privacy Defended has more to do with protecting Internet users from themselves. The team of authors makes it clear that Internet entities (mainly commercial interests, though miscellaneous troublemakers fall into this category as well) have tremendous interest in finding out as many details as possible about you. This book goes into considerable depth on the technologies (such as browser cookies) and social engineering techniques (such as contests whose entry forms solicit your e-mail address) that have evolved to circumvent the inherently anonymous nature of the Internet.
Internet users willing to sit down and have a serious look at what this book has to say will be rewarded with a solid understanding of the implications of nearly everything they do online. Readers are, for instance, clued in to the undercover behavior of Netscape SmartDownload (early versions of the software reported your identity and the files you downloaded to a central server) and made to wonder about what other free utilities might be doing. Once they've instilled a bit of paranoia in their readers, the authors offer advice on securing typical home computers (and networks of them) against attack. They compare and contrast commercial products for this purpose, and go into helpful detail on the characteristic risks of cable modems and other broadband links.
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
The introduction states that this is a privacy book for non-
specialists, but the write up seems to deal with computer intrusions
or malware rather than privacy issues.
Part one talks about life in the digital age. Chapter one is an
uncompelling demonstration of how to obtain personal information
online plus more on intrusions and a lengthy outline of the rest of
the chapters in the book. There is a slightly unfocused look at
privacy laws and related issues in chapter two. Various government,
industry, commercial, and other groups and agencies (as well as a few
programs) are described in chapter three.
Part two tells us that the enemy is out there. Chapter four points
out legal threats to individual privacy that people may not know
about, but not in much detail. Illegal threats, such as blackhats,
intruders, identity theft, and fraud (as well as those of questionable
legality, like spyware) are reviewed in chapter five.
Part three looks at protecting your privacy. Chapter six lists lookup
and anonymity tools. Cookies, spyware, some tools, and payment
systems are presented in chapter seven. Spam, malware, and PGP are
discussed in chapter eight, along with miscellaneous other topics
related to email.
Part four advises on securing your PC. Chapter nine reviews SSL
(Secure Sockets Layer) and digital certificates, but because
cryptography has not been explained the background discussion is poor.
(It is also sometimes erroneous: for most people SSL does *not*
authenticate the client.) A collection of random security factors and
tools, by operating system, is presented in chapter ten. (The
division by operating system is not always clear: tools vary on
different versions of Windows, and this is not made clear. There are
also a number of errors: IPSec is an Internet protocol and has nothing
to do with the Microsoft Windows IP Security Policy.) Screen shots of
configuration menus for personal firewalls make up most of chapter
eleven. Chapter twelve deals with viruses (poorly), chat (chat
systems seem to be almost inherently insecure, so it's hard to
understand why), and cryptography (poorly and briefly). Miscellaneous
and random network topics are covered in chapter thirteen.
Part five looks at other devices, in a single chapter, fourteen,
covering various gadgets, threats, and protections--not necessarily
for those threats.
Part six says what to do if your privacy is compromised. Chapter
fifteen mentions kids, mostly rehashing previous material and adding
content restriction. Intrusion detection and a review of other tools
from prior chapters finishes out in sixteen.
This book is not really about privacy, it is yet another attempt at a
general security guide. "Protect Your Digital Privacy" (see reviews
) sticks much closer to the privacy topic. "Inside
Internet Security" (see reviews
) and even "Access Denied" (see reviews
) are better at covering general security for non-
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2002
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