The NCSA Guide to PC & LAN Security

Stephen Cobb, CISSP

Chapter 1: Security Matters


to the Web pages that accompany The NCSA Guide to PC & LAN Security published by McGraw-Hill. This page is packed with links so be sure to add this URL to your Bookmarks (NetScape Navigator), or Favorite Places (Microsoft Internet Explorer), or Personal Favorites (various versions of Mosaic). And be ready to use the Back button. This page consists of the following sections:

Web Enabled Book

The idea of the Web Enabled Book is to extend the value of a printed text by using the publishing capabilities of the World Wide Web. On these pages you will find files, links, and other information that supplement the book, including:
  • Corrections, by chapter, as reported by readers or discovered by the author.
  • Security-related news and product developments since the book went to press.
  • Comments and advice from the author and readers accrued since publication.
  • Documents and programs to download, as they become available.
Of course, these pages don't contain the text of the book and aren't meant to be as a substitute for reading the book. The idea is that reading the book enables you to understand the fundamental concepts of information security which are discussed in these pages and elsewhere on the Internet, including the NCSA's Web site.

Need a Copy?

To buy the book, all 700 pages and 250 illustrations, plus 3.5 inch disk containing 5 megabytes of files, ask at your local bookstore. You can also order direct from NCSA by calling 1 717 258 1816, Extension 210. If you are an NCSA member you can get a discount on the book if you order direct. You can also initiate an order via the NCSA online catalog.

Why does this page look funny?

Hopefully it does not look "funny" to you, but if it does, the reason may be your browser. For example, if the text overlaps the dark portion of the left border, then your browser probably does not support "tables" and other useful features. This is the case with older versions of Mosaic, such as the one that CompuServe has been distributing. We recommend NetScape Navigator, as long as you stay away from old versions and beta versions.

Major Typo!!!

We must apologize most humbly for the terrible typo in the first chapter where "ncsa" is spelled as "ncga" in the W.E.B. page URL. If you have arrived here via the National Corn Growers Association, well done! How this happened I don't know. I can say that W.E.B. connection feature was added at the last minute and I did not get a chance to proof-read the final version of that page. I realize that this is no excuse and normally heads would roll, but this was one of the last books produced by McGraw-Hill's Blue Ridge Summit facility, which is now closed. Many of the folks who worked on this book did so while facing considerable personal uncertainty and I appreciate them soldiering on under such circumstances. Rest assured that the spelling will be changed in the next printing.

Computers Versus Books?

Books are great because you can read them at your leisure, at your desk or in the hot tub. You can even write in the margin. But computer security is changing so quickly, no book can ever hope to be completely up-to-date for long. That is why we have pages here on the Web that allow the book to form the basis for an ongoing learning experience. If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, or the book itself, please email me and let me know. The one thing I will not promise to provide is flashy graphics. If you are lucky enough to be browsing the Web with a DEC Alpha sitting on a T3, then you probably know where to find hot graphics already. The primary purpose of this site is to deliver information, not provide entertainment (for a visually exciting, but very demanding, Web site, check out Altavista Software and, if your browser can handle it, choose the frames option).

Where to go next?

Below you will find a table of contents that will take you to the other chapters. If you start with Chapter 2 you will find links to surveys, basic sources, security hot lists and other places that are useful for staying in touch with security developments in general.

Table of Contents with Links to Chapters

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This page updated by Stephen Cobb, Summer 2002 © Copyright, 1996-2002, Stephen Cobb