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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Internet Privacy Kit
Author:
Marcus Goncalves et al
ISBN:
0 7897 1234 2
Publisher:
Que
Pages:
370pp+CD
Price:
£37-49 *
Reviewer:
Francis Glassborow
Subject:
security; internet
Appeared in:
10-1
As the Internet has moved from being the information resource and playground of a small group of technological enthusiasts and academics to becoming a general public utility it has acquired an increasing number of dangerous participants. The vast majority of ordinary users of the Internet and World Wide Web have little no more idea about what they are using than they have with TV, video recorders and desk top computers.

This causes serious problems. While you might abhor the thief, the vandal and the graffiti artist you do not make life easy for them by leaving your doors unlocked, your possessions lying out in the open or tins of spray paint piled next to a blank wall. Most of us do not need to be told not to do such things, common sense guides us. If you take a Rolls Royce and park it(fill in your own unsuitable location), leave the keys in the ignition and your jewel case on the back seat you know how much sympathy you will get from the forces of law and order. And rightly so because you did nothing to protect your property.

When we come to modern technology most of us do not have the experience and understanding with which to develop common sense. Worse still, the World is changing so fast that what was once sensible is no longer so. It used to be that you had to do something before someone else could invade your computer (that is apart from reading material provided elsewhere. We get into a way of thinking that says that passive participation is safe. Firewalls, encyphering sensitive data and the like are for large corporations to protect themselves, individuals have no need of such. That is no longer the case. If you use your computer for any private purpose which you would prefer to keep strictly to yourself you better not connect it to the Internet.

Having decided that that last sentence is too restrictive you better discover what risks you are taking and how to reduce them. This is where this book comes in. When you buy it you get three things.

First you get the text which is reasonably free of scare mongering while being informative and as up-to-date as is achievable (you will find out about some of the problems in Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x but not 4.x). Little here will be new to the expert (but are you sure that is you?) and it is still over the head of Joe Public but those with a reasonable understanding of computers should be able to cope with it.

Second you get a CD with a number of useful/interesting products such as a copy of FW20B (a personal firewall). Some of the material is actually on the CD and some is provided via links from the CD. The CD itself acts as a local WWW site and all parts of it can be accessed from your normal browser.

Finally the CD contains by way of a bonus (CD filler) substantial excerpts from three other Que books (the Special Editions on HTML, CGI and Java 1.1). I do not know how complete these are but they make a welcome and substantial addition. One feature is that the texts have suitable embedded hypertext links.