Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

Discover the most prevalent cyber threats against individual users of all kinds of computing devices. This book teaches you the defensive best practices and state-of-the-art tools available to you to repel each kind of threat.

Personal Cybersecurity addresses the needs of individual users at work and at home. This book covers personal cybersecurity for all modes of personal computing whether on consumer-acquired or company-issued devices: desktop PCs, laptops, mobile devices, smart TVs, WiFi and Bluetooth peripherals, and IoT objects embedded with network-connected sensors. In all these modes, the frequency, intensity, and sophistication of cyberattacks that put individual users at risk are increasing in step with accelerating mutation rates of malware and cybercriminal delivery systems.

Traditional anti-virus software and personal firewalls no longer suffice to guarantee personal security. Users who neglect to learn and adopt the new ways of protecting themselves in their work and private environments put themselves, their associates, and their companies at risk of inconvenience, violation, reputational damage, data corruption, data theft, system degradation, system destruction, financial harm, and criminal disaster. This book shows what actions to take to limit the harm and recover from the damage.

Instead of laying down a code of "thou shalt not" rules that admit of too many exceptions and contingencies to be of much practical use, cloud expert Marvin Waschke equips you with the battlefield intelligence, strategic understanding, survival training, and proven tools you need to intelligently assess the security threats in your environment and most effectively secure yourself from attacks. Through instructive examples and scenarios, the author shows you how to adapt and apply best practices to your own particular circumstances, how to automate and routinize your personal cybersecurity, how to recognize security breaches and act swiftly to seal them, and how to recover losses and restore functionality when attacks succeed.

What You'll Learn

Discover how computer security works and what it can protect us fromSee how a typical hacker attack worksEvaluate computer security threats to the individual user and corporate systemsIdentify the critical vulnerabilities of a computer connected to the InternetManage your computer to reduce vulnerabilities to yourself and your employerDiscover how the adoption of newer forms of biometric authentication affects youStop your router and other online devices from being co-opted into disruptive denial of service attacks

Who This Book Is For

Proficient and technically knowledgeable computer users who are anxious about cybercrime and want to understand the technology behind both attack and defense but do not want to go so far as to become security experts. Some of this audience will be purely home users, but many will be executives, technical managers, developers, and members of IT departments who need to adopt personal practices for their own safety and the protection of corporate systems. Many will want to impart good cybersecurity practices to their colleagues. IT departments tasked with indoctrinating their users with good safety practices may use the book as training material.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. What’s Biting Us

Who and What Does CybercrimeCybercrime Hurt?
Abstract
Cyberspace has become a dangerous place. Cybercrime danger has grown during the last two decades. Computers used to be the domain of scientists and engineers with pocket protectors and too many ballpoint pens, not sophisticated criminals and menacing bullies. Almost every computer is connected to every other computer in the world via the Internet, offering unprecedented opportunities for communications and simultaneous opportunities for remote exploitation. This chapter summarizes the cybercrime problem, which ranges from annoying social media trolls to well-planned corporate attacks that strike tens of millions of victims.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 2. Why Is Computer Security So Weak?

Come On, Guys! Can’t You Do Better?
Abstract
In the early days of computing, placing computers under lock and key protection was enough to secure them. Computing began with the elaborate mechanical computer plans of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace in the 19th Century and was carried on through the reinvention of computing prior and during World War II. In the second half of the 20th Century, computers became personal devices that could be used by anyone. Networks, the Internet, and the World Wide Web transformed computers into globally accessible communications tools for everyone on the planet. This access explosion neutralized lock and key protections and fostered ubiquitous cybercrime. The industry is scrambling to catch up.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 3. How Does Computer Security Work?

It’s Harder Than It Looks
Abstract
Cybersecurity is a highly technical subject that uses many tools. It starts with the protection rings built into the chips that power the computer. The basic hardware rules enforce more complex security policies. Security also depends on the way the software is deployed and used. Hackers attempt to exploit flaws in the security system to circumvent or penetrate barriers to their access to valuable resources. This chapter explains some of the basic tools and principles that are used in secure computing.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 4. Your Computer Is a Target

What Are the Shady Hombres After?
Abstract
Your personal devices are not as tempting to hackers as business and government computer systems. These systems are treasure troves of payment card data for millions of customers, myriads of personnel and health records, and whole libraries of secret innovations, laboriously collected customer data, marketing plans, and business strategies. Some enterprises are willing to pay any ransom to avoid interrupting their business. Each treasure has a price on the black market. Nevertheless, individual smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops are still vulnerable. For less skilled hackers, unprotected personal devices are easier and safer targets. What these criminals lack in skill, they make up for in numbers. They can steal and sell your data the same markets used by advanced hackers and they are ready to take over your computer and use its capacity for their own purposes.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 5. Misuse of Computers

When Personal DevicesPersonal devices Break Bad
Abstract
Misused computing is a threat that secure computing practices will not mitigate. When computing is misused, security is usually not breached. Instead, normally legitimate computing capabilities are used to harm individuals and society. Many innovations have both good and bad consequences. Today, many of the bad consequences of computing, such computer fraud and fake news on social media, are prominent and undeniable. We can’t stop child pornography with better backup practices or stronger passwords. In many cases, our laws do not clearly distinguish between harmful and innocuous practices. However, with improved understanding of the issues, we can change laws and plan for a better future.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 6. Cloud Threats

CloudsCloud Are Good, But Not All Good
Abstract
Clouds are everywhere today. Massive online retail sites like Amazon and Ebay rely on clouds for reliability and performance. Email and instant messaging are built on clouds. Services like Uber and Spotify would be hard to imagine without clouds. The great search engines like Google and Bing that comb the Internet are implemented on clouds. Social media like Facebook and Reddit are also cloud implementations. The term is everywhere, but exactly what is a cloud? And do clouds compromise our security and privacy? The answers to these questions are complex, but this chapter offers them.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 7. Why Doesn’t Somebody Stop It?

Where Are the Authorities?
Abstract
Cybercrime is rising for many reasons. One unfortunate reason is that cybercriminals are often able to avoid detection and prosecution. Cybercrime presents obstacles to law enforcement that are not easily overcome. Law enforcement training in cyber-forensics has improved steadily, but enforcement agencies, particularly in local agencies, are still behind. Cybercrime is usually remote crime. Investigation frequently requires probes into unfamiliar jurisdictions. These probes can be expensive and are less likely to be successful than an investigation on familiar turf. When investigation reveals a remote suspect, bringing the suspect to trial usually requires extradition, which is also costly and risky. Consequently, low-dollar remote cybercrimes are difficult to prosecute and often unpunished.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 8. What Has the Industry Done?

Have They Made Any Progress?
Abstract
Prosecution of cybercrimes is becoming more effective, but it still has many challenges. The computer industry has not been idle. The Twenty-first Century marked the identification of security as critical to the progress of the computer industry. Industry leaders acknowledged that lack of security and the rise of cybercrime would halt the advance of computing. The response was dramatic. Security and dependability became bywords. The entire development process was rethought to build security into allsoftware. The result has been more secure software and establishment of processes and institutions aimed at making cybercrime difficult or impossible. Securing the software base is a work in progress against an army of intelligent and inspired criminals, but software is becoming more secure.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 9. Personal Defense

Stay Safe
Abstract
This chapter covers a wide range of practical topics. Previous chapters have shown that the Internet and computing today is a dangerous place. There are many ways in which a criminal can invade your computer and harm you. The industry has recognized security and cybercrime as a significant danger, but they are also committed to making computing easy and trouble free. However, “easy” and “secure” are often contradictory. The advice here is intended to help you establish your own balance between convenience and safety. Following the advice, you may still be vulnerable, complete safety is impossible, but you can greatly reduce the dangers.
Marvin Waschke

Chapter 10. Disaster Recovery

When, Not If, You Become a Victim
Abstract
This chapter tells you what to do when bad things happen. Even if you follow all the advice, you can still be a victim, either because someone else was negligent or because your system is breached despite your best efforts. Sometimes, it is just plain bad luck. However you become a victim, you can still minimize the damage and recover. Although being hacked is always an annoyance, it does not have to be a disaster.
Marvin Waschke
Additional information