Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Guide to Internet Insecurity

I’m always amused to read IT security guides such as this. Not that they are useless or incorrect, but they give readers the false sense of security that, after they’re done reading cover to cover, they’ve mastered some level of skill so that they think they are safe. Of course, then, there are also those other materials that are, in the first place, simply incomplete or sometimes just plainly incorrect.

How much do you expect to learn in 140 pages for just $10.50? Something, hopefully. These books are not useless. But at the very most, if you’re not knowledgeable in these areas to begin with, just remember to think of these materials as an eye opener. You likely to end up with more questions when you understand what they’re trying to tell you. Otherwise, you’ve probably not really understood the materials.

Sigh, IT is complicated. Doesn’t help at all when the people trying to explain things to you actually sometimes makes things worse. Especially sales people.

Just yesterday when I was at Sim Lim Square, I stopped at a shop and was puzzling over two different types of Western Digital portable external hard disks. Both were of 1TB capacity and USB 3.0 interface speed, but they were about $20 different in price. The salesman explained the more expensive one is newer, and it is faster. Really? Of course, I know, despite both being USB 3.0, it’s obviously possible that the actual disk performance be different. The salesman, at this point, attempted to quantify the difference by saying the more expensive one was about 0.2 sec faster. Huh?! Spewing out nonsense to confuse customer? What sort of performance comparison is that, 0.2 sec faster at doing what?

This Ultimate Guide to Internet Security does seem to be quite comprehensive in the range of topics it covers. There are 12 chapters:

  1. Viruses and Trojans
  2. Phishing and Fake Websites
  3. Staying Safe on Facebook
  4. Banking and Shopping
  5. Networking Dangers
  6. Spyware and Adware
  7. Keeping Kids Safe Online
  8. Security Software
  9. Choosing a Security Suite
  10. Planning for the Worst
  11. Cell Phones and Tablets
  12. Glossary of Terms

Just remember that this book doesn’t make you an expert. Knowing half the truth is sometimes quite dangerous if you don’t appreciate the potential dangers of that other half you don’t know.

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