The Internet can bring the world to your door—international news, long-distance education, connections with friends around the globe. It lets you discover things you would never see otherwise…like a guy demonstrating how to turn a toaster into a video game console. But where there’s good, there’s bad, and the dark side of the Internet can be very dark indeed.
You’ve seen the stories in newspapers and on TV about Internet-enabled identity theft, data theft, fraud, and a thousand and one other scams. Saboteurs turn home computers into zombie slaves and force them to send streams of pornographic junk mail. And there’s the old-school stuff: system-crashing viruses, password-stealing programs, and garden-variety hackers swiping bank account numbers right off hard drives.
Sounds scary. Knowing what’s out there, there’s really no excuse not to take precautions for safer computing. This chapter gives you an overview of how to protect yourself (netbook included) from the evils of the Internet. Along with the right software, common sense is your best weapon: Learn how to spot the signs of a scam or virus. Knowledge, after all, is power. And a good firewall helps, too.
Top-ten lists are a dime a…er, dozen. The following are general suggestions everyone should know for staying safe online.
Use security software. Windows computers are a huge target for malicious software. Protection programs may drag down your netbook’s ...