Book Review: Cybersecurity for Everyone

How do you secure your home or small business network? A recently released book by Terence L. Sadler offers practical, helpful answers.

by / May 15, 2016

I often get asked technology questions from friends, family, colleagues and new acquaintances who consider themselves to be computer novices, or at least not technology professionals. The inquiries usually come at community events or drinking coffee after church or walking the halls of government buildings or after speeches at conferences or at extended family gatherings.

No doubt, this “non-geek” and “non-nerd” crowd has become much more tech-savvy of late. Most of them know more about the intricacies of Facebook than I do.

Nevertheless, they struggle when it comes to most topics related to online security.

Some of the questions are fairly straightforward (and quick), but many questions require a deeper look and much more time than we have. For example: “How do you recommend setting up a home network?” Or “How can I set up family-friendly filters?”

Other questions relate to modems, routers, passwords, Web browser security, smartphones and more. I try my best to answer their specific questions, and occasionally point to my books Virtual Integrity (2008) or BYOD for You (2013). Still, some people want more current technical answers or approaches.

A New Security Resource

Recently I enjoyed reading through: Cybersecurity for Everyone: Securing your home or small business network. This is a well-written 135-page basic primer by Terence Sadler that I am happy to recommend as a helpful resource.

Here is a related quote from Sadler:

“There are a lot of online resources available to help anyone interested in being safe on the Internet, but they are not comprehensive nor are they all in one place. ... This book is written to allow you to take it as a whole or pick and choose what works for your situation and knowledge level.”

The book is laid out in an easy-to-follow format with the following chapters:

    One: Home User Computer Security Overview – Covering the reasons for this book and a commonsense approach to security.

    Two: Modems & Routers – Covering access controls, wireless options, wireless security, DNS services, Norton ConnectSafe for Home, Google Public DNS & Comodo Secure DNS and image searches.

    Three: Security Software – Covering Anti-virus, online virus scanners, firewalls, Internet filters and accountability software, all-in-one suites and encryptions software (with precautions).

    Four: Physical Security – Covering external hard drives and USB memory, data erase and reuse, free clearing/ purging software, commercial clearing/ purging software, physical destruction, laptop/phone theft and uninterrupted power supply (UPS).

    Five: Operating System Security – Covering common best practices, firmware/BIOS passwords, encrypt home directories/folders, power down and summary.

    Six: Encryption – Covering keylogger protection, whole disk/folder/file/cloud encryption and file-level password protection.

    Seven: The Challenge of Passwords – Covering mnemonic method, altered passphrase, combining and altering words, password derivations, significant meaning, YubiKey and password management software.

    Eight: Web Browser Security – Covering security when browsing, updates, settings, passwords, enabling phising and malware protection, disabling java plug-ins, javascript, ActiveX filtering, cookies, Mac browser security, quick browser check-up and sandboxing.

    Nine: Email Security – Covering spam and several other email topics.

    Ten: Mobile Devices – Covering smartphones, tablets, operating system updates, physical security, security apps, Bluetooth, location services and secure email settings.

Appendix Examples & Helpful Links

There are also three great appendices that cover security focused software, a list of self-help videos and tutorials along with sample network documentation.

I think the helpful information in the appendices alone make the book worth reading. These helpful resources and links offer a very valuable “go-to” guide through tricky situations, which we all seem to find ourselves in at some point.

Final Thoughts

I am keeping this blog review short, but my main message is simple. I recommend using this book as an excellent primer to assist in setting up your home or small-business network. Also, consider using Cybersecurity for Everyone as a tool you can point others to for security help at home.

Terrence Sadler is a security pro with a great background and a wealth of information over a 30-plus-year career. His military background and academic achievements as well as experience in the private sector give him a good mix of experience to write this easy-to-read book on security for those who are not cyberpros.