Does your computer sometimes crash for no
reason—or act strangely? Are you seeing unexpected lag or sudden
dropouts when playing online games? Has your Internet connection
gotten slower? Are mysterious pop-up windows appearing at strange
times? Have you discovered that someone has impersonated you on an
instant messenger program without your knowledge? Are you OK with
strangers (or friends or family members) knowing everything you do
on your computer? Have you ever wondered which of those amazing
e-mail offers are actually true?
This book was inspired by a call I recently
received from my nephew. For some reason, his computer desktop was
just vanishing at random times—usually a few minutes after
turning on his system. It turned out his computer had been
infected with a nasty program called a computer virus.
Now my nephew is smart. He knows not to
download and run programs unless he knows where they come from. He
knows what a virus is. Yet, to my surprise, he didn’t have an
up-to-date virus protection program on his computer.
The next week I helped a friend of his out
whose computer was attacked by another program called a Trojan—I’ll
tell you more about that in the book.
It turns out that teens actually have more
sophisticated security needs than most adults. It’s not enough
for you to know about firewalls—you need to know how to keep one
up while playing online games. You’re much more likely than most
adults to be using Kazaa or other peer-to-peer file services, and
you’re much more likely to be downloading files. The kinds of
identity theft you are likely to experience are very different
from those experienced by your parents. And because in many
families teens know more about computers than their parents, it
can sometimes be difficult to find help when problems occur.
This book covers all of these issues and
more. It’s a book about computer security—the first one ever
written for teens and young adults. It goes far beyond the usual
“beware the dangers of chat rooms” warnings to teach you
everything you need to know to protect your computer, your
privacy, and yourself.
Even if you are a beginner now, by the time
you finish this book, you’ll know more about computer security
than almost everyone you know. You’ll know how to clean viruses
off a system (and maybe even get paid for it). You’ll learn how
antivirus tools and firewalls work—and how they can fail!
You’ll know how to play online games without opening your system
to attack by outsiders. You’ll know how to surf the web and shop
without leaving traces for advertisers (and others) to follow.
You’ll even know about cyberterrorism, and how you can help
And best of all, you’ll be able to help
your friends and family members clean up and secure their systems.
Because let’s face it—they probably need all the help they can