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CHAPTER 13 Internet Security: Protecting Your PC
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such as credit card numbers, between web client (your PC) and web server computers You ll know it s a secure site if the http in the browser s URL address bar changes to https (the added s for secure) and/or a padlock icon appears in the status bar at the bottom of the browser (see Figure 13-6)
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https and padlock icon denote SSL-secured server
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Figure 13-6
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SSL-secured web server indicated by https and the padlock icon
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Although our PCs sit safely in the confines of our homes and offices, their online links to the Internet expose them to the unsavory elements of the virtual world The Internet community is employing SSL and other tools to ensure Internet security, but all their security measures go for naught if we netizens don t do our part, too This chapter identifies points of vulnerability and presents specific approaches that can be implemented to create a secure personal computing environment The threats are real, so I encourage you to adopt these suggestions and build an envelope of security around your personal computer and its stored information
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PART FIVE
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What You Can Do on a PC
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CHAPTER
Building a Software Portfolio
A PC is a virtual university, providing interactive instruction and testing It s an entertainment center with singleplayer and multiplayer games It s a canvas for a painter It s a video telephone It s a CD player or a DVD player It s a home library It s the biggest marketplace in the world It s a print shop It s a recorder It s an alarm clock that can remind you of appointments It s an expert partner that can help you perform hundreds of functions that require specialized skills, such as preparing taxes, drafting legal documents, building a shed, and much more However, to offer these applications, the PC must have the right software This chapter begins a four-chapter sequence devoted to demystifying PC software This overview chapter introduces you to the world of PC software and to the concept of building a personal software portfolio The next three chapters are intended
Copyright 2004 by The McGraw-Hill Companies Click here for terms of use
Personal Computing Demystified
to expose you to the breadth and scope of PC applications, with multimedia and graphics applications and gaming applications being covered in the last two chapters
PC Software in Perspective
Let s put software in perspective Software is the instructions that tell the computer what to do An office suite application, such as Microsoft Word, can have millions of instructions that do your bidding when you enter or select a command
Imperfect PC Software
With millions of instructions compiled in a complex labyrinth of syntax, you would think that a few programming errors might make it to the retail shelves Well, they do Microsoft, Corel, IBM, and other major software vendors create amazing software, but my four-decade search for error-free software continues The propensity to rush a product to market is, has been, and will always be common in the software industry Today, I tacitly expect minor glitches, and, sure enough, one of my programs will freeze, not permit interaction, several times a week On rare occasions, my entire system freezes and I must restart my PC The good news is that we have the Internet and the Check for Updates option in the Help menu Mostly, these periodic updates provide patches to programming oversights
PC Software Trends
Several trends are apparent in personal computing software, all of which ultimately impact our bank accounts One trend is unbundling, the separation of software from the cost of the hardware When I began a career in computers, IBM, Univac, Honeywell, and other major hardware manufacturers sold the hardware and provided the software as a service, free of charge IBM unbundled its software from the cost of its corporate mainframe computers in 1969 and, almost overnight, the software industry was born Until relatively recently, new PCs were sold with the operating system and a nice complement of applications software Now, the trend to unbundling is repeating itself in the PC market If you have shopped for PCs recently, you ve probably noticed that the price of PCs has dropped to as low as $499 Much of this reduction in cost can be attributed to the fact that software that used to come preinstalled on the sys-
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