Thursday, August 6, 2015

10 Don'ts On Your Digital Devices

10 Don'ts On Your Digital Devices
© 2015 Eric Rzesut, Daniel Bachrach
180 pages



Networked computers are no longer the hulking monsters of the 1970s,  only found in  industrial and military installations. In the second decade of the 21st century, they are as common as phones -- in fact, for many of us, they are our phones.  Their ubiquity allows us to connect all the various aspects of our lives to an infinite degree; we can do taxes or engage in research while traveling,  stream lectures during exercise,  and lose ourselves in TriviaCrack while on dates that aren't going so well.  But the pervasive natures of web-connected devices doesn't  just create space  for leisure, education, and personal work, however:  it's also an opportunity for parties interested in accessing and exploiting our personal data -- businesses,  criminals, and the government. In Ten Don'ts On Your Digital Devices, Eric Rzesut and Daniel Bachrach offer a crash course in basic digitial security, one which fairly well covers the basics for people who never realized that the same smartphones which allow  them access to a world of information also expose them to a world of quicksand, disasters, and predators.

 This is a technological briefing that doesn't get too technical, allowing even the most tech-oblivious to get a handle on the new territory they're covering.  Some lessons are utterly basic, like remembering that phones, tablets, and laptops can now contain information just as sensitive as that found in a wallet of credit cards and government identities, and should be guarded with the same ferocity.  Others pass along information gained only by experience, like learning to detect phishing attacks -- emails disguised as legitimate correspondence containing innocent-looking links that lead one's digitial information to being plundered.  Even the paranoid, myself included, may find updated threat information here: I wasn't aware that some phones are enabled by the manufacturer to automatically connect to whatever wireless networks are in the area, exposing unwitting users who check their bank statements on the phone without realizing it's switched to Johnny Ne'er-do-Well's network instead of their service provider's. Ever section includes a basic review of the issue, followed by suggestions. Some are behavior-related (as in, "Don't pay your credit card bill on a McDonalds wifi connection",  but some list alternatives and relevant tools.   Short but full of useful information, Ten Don't's is a good review of basic personal digital security that offers a lot of suggestions for people who want to tread more carefully.

Related:
Internet Police: How Crime Went Online (and the Police Followed), Nate Anderson
@ war: the military-internet complex, Shane Harris

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how even otherwise smart people completely trust their phone or computer to 'do the right thing' without ever thinking about what's really going on. A bit less blind trust and a bit more sensible paranoia would (rather oddly) make the world a safer place. It's sad that books like this are needed but they are.

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