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REVIEW: "PC Pest Control", Preston Gralla

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  • Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Han
    BKPCPECO.RVW 20071119 PC Pest Control , Preston Gralla, 2005, 0-596-00926-7, U$24.95/C$34.95 %A Preston Gralla %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A,
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2008
      BKPCPECO.RVW 20071119

      "PC Pest Control", Preston Gralla, 2005, 0-596-00926-7,
      %A Preston Gralla
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 2005
      %G 0-596-00926-7
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$24.95/C$34.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
      %O http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596009267/robsladesinterne
      %O http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0596009267/robsladesin03-20
      %O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 1 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
      %P 275 p.
      %T "PC Pest Control: Protect Your Computers from Malicious Internet

      Chapter one, as is all too common in books about securing home
      computers, is long on sensational stories and a bit short on useful
      advice. There are suggestions of things to do, and those
      recommendations may even be proper security measures. Instructions on
      actually performing the security actions, however, are mostly absent.
      Much the same material is repeated in chapter two, though in slightly
      different wording and structure. Various computer activities are
      listed, and then some of the risks of those functions are described
      briefly. Once again, there are suggestions about actions to take to
      protect yourself (this time in the form of "checklists"), but no
      directions on how to perform them. A number of pieces of security
      software, mostly commercial, are mentioned in chapter three, but
      requirements for management, or the implications of reports that you
      might obtain from these applications are not covered. Details related
      to the operation of Microsoft Windows' System Restore and Registry are
      given in chapter four, but while the instructions are clear the
      significance of these activities may not be. Immediately after
      telling you to run Windows Update, in chapter five, Gralla provides
      guidelines for disabling it--by disabling ActiveX and not running
      Internet Explorer. (The fact that this would be the outcome of
      following the tutorial is not mentioned.) Chapter six is concerned
      with spyware, and by this time a lot of the recommendations are
      starting to sound very familiar. The definition of "virus" provided
      in chapter seven is worse than is usual even for general home computer
      security books. It asserts that viruses are delineated by requiring
      no user intervention, whereas the most useful distinction between
      viruses and worms is that viruses generally do require some operator
      action, even if uninformed. (That Gralla keeps reiterating that
      "virus" is just a generic term for any type of malware is also
      annoying and misleading.) Along with the (not terribly helpful) text
      on trojans and bots comes a list of names and descriptions of the "top
      five" or so programs in those categories. This is a feature of other
      sections of the book as well, and provides little help (or solid
      information), and, of course, dates very quickly. It is rather
      strange that worms are not included with the related topic of malware
      in chapter seven, but with the subject of email and instant messaging
      in chapter eight, and that spam, which is related to email, is handled
      separately in chapter nine. (Chapter nine also contains an "ANSI"
      table, which, instead, turns out to be a table of ASCII [American
      Standard Code for Information Interchange] codes for text characters,
      the table being used to illustrate a discussion of the alternate data
      representations that can be employed in Web pages.) Phishing,
      anonymizing, and the customary vague rules for protecting kids online
      makes up chapter ten. Chapter eleven's material on safeguarding
      wireless networks will make your home network less subject to attack,
      though not as impregnable as Gralla seems to suggest. The content on
      safety at wireless "hotspots" is less useful. The book is padded out
      with an appendix that repeats material from the text.

      There is a lot of white space, and the inclusion of pointless
      graphics. There is a lot of verbiage. There is little helpful
      information, and certainly nothing like the assistance that can be
      obtained from Thomas Greene's "Computer Security for the Home and
      Small Office" (cf. BKCMSCHO.RVW) or "Just Say No to Microsoft" by Tony
      Bove (cf. BKJSN2MS.RVW).

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2007 BKPCPECO.RVW 20071119

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
      [I]f a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell...
      you will find a broad, hard-beaten road to his house.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson
      (some seven years after his death, Emerson's comment on quality
      was altered to the now famous dictum on innovation, that if you
      built a better mousetrap the world would beat a path to your door)
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