(PRWEB) May 10, 2005
A free resource to help beleaguered Internet users counter the cyber-crims is the latest anti-scam initiative from security expert and author Bill Hely. His Take Back The ÂNet campaign offers a free Internet self defense course to PC users concerned about their online security.
If statistics are any guide there will be plenty of takers. A recent survey by JupiterMedia revealed that a whopping 52% of computer users indicated a strong interest in stories and articles about Internet security and privacy.
ÂThe average PC user is completely defenseless in the face of a flood of threats from the InternetÂ, says Hely. ÂMany people cringe at the thought of downloading files. They worry about making online purchases. TheyÂre running scared of viruses, worms, trojans, hackers and other threats they canÂt even name. And so they should be - there are plenty of traps awaiting the unwary and the unskilledÂ.
The Take Back the Net initiative was inspired by the Take Back the Night campaigns that spread out from Europe in the early 1970s. Concerned citizens actively campaigned against violence, stalking and threats against the person, and many previously hazardous communities were transformed for the better as a result.
Hely believes the virtual community of the Internet can be reformed in a similar manner if enough people take the right action. ÂWithout mass action there can be no real improvementÂ, he said. ÂThereÂll be no cyber police coming along to put things right for us. We have to learn to protect ourselves. If the easy marks disappear so will many of the predatorsÂ.
The Australian author has already received wide acclaim for his e-book ÂThe HackerÂs Nightmare: How to keep hackers, worms and other germs out of your PCÂ. With this latest initiative he is offering his expertise free of charge to computer users who may not be able to purchase his book, which is sold only online.
Hely acknowledges that not everyone can make online purchases. ÂWhile The HackerÂs Nightmare is the ultimate security resource for all PC and Internet users, I want everyone to have the opportunity to learn at least the basics of Internet self defenseÂ he said.
Most Internet users are sitting ducks, according to Hely, because they don't possess even the most basic self-defense knowledge. ÂBut I can show them how to change thatÂ he promises.
If feedback from readers of his book is any guide, that promise is not an idle one.
Andrew Oscianko, a photographer from Victoria, Australia, said: "The Hacker's Nightmare helped me tighten up my own security by at least 200%. It also offered valuable information about many other privacy issues and provided me with literally dozens of incisive instructions and tips involving online safetyÂ.
New Yorker Alan Saltz, President of YellowPagesProfit.com, agrees. "If everyone with a computer would read The Hackers Nightmare, those dead-beats would have to find a new job", said Saltz of the many malicious programs that had invaded his computer.
Online security is not just a matter of frustration and inconvenience. Bill Hely insists that the Internet really is a community where violence can occur.
Violence in cyberspace?
"Well, let's start with harassment and stalkingÂ he said. ÂThere is an enormous amount of information on the Web, including a lot of personal data on individuals. Much of it is accessible to those who know where to look. There may be enough information available to allow someone to become a real nuisance. Your home address, phone number and a great deal more may be available to a determined searcher".
Hely warns that it is quite possible to suffer many of the consequences of physical abuse even in cyberspace. Just as in the real world, a Web user can be robbed, conned, ripped off, over-charged, impersonated, belittled and maligned quite easily if appropriate precautions are not taken. ÂIn cyberspace the thugs don't need knives, guns or batons. Information misuse is the weapon of choiceÂ, he said.
Even other experts are full of praise for HelyÂs efforts to educate Web users. Thomas Brownsword, a US computer scientist and security analyst, recommends The HackerÂs Nightmare to all small business operators: "I'll just say I wish I could have written this book. The problem is that I quite simply don't have the patience to track down all of the little details that Bill Hely provides for the reader, nor do I have the ability to explain things quite as well as he does. Bill breaks down the technology into terms that almost anyone can understand, without omitting anything you need. If you care about your business, then you need to read this book."
Internet users who are about ready to give up and cancel their Internet connections can take heart. Hely assures his readers that most of the online activities often deemed unsafe are in fact quite usable if certain precautions are taken - precautions which he says anyone can learn to implement.
The Take Back The Net initiative offers a series of eight free articles, each dealing with a different aspect of PC and online security. ÂEach article contains practical and relevant information that can be implemented immediately for little cost or effortÂ says the author. ÂThereÂs a lot more in the book of course, but if all a computer user ever does is read and follow these articles, heÂll be a lot safer and a lot better offÂ.
The technically challenged need not fear that the tutorials will be over their heads. Hely emphasizes that both The HackerÂs Nightmare and the free tutorials were written expressly to empower the average computer user. ÂMany experts have my book and recommend it to their own clients, but it certainly wasnÂt written for experts. It is plain-language stuff that any PC user can follow, and IÂve adopted the same style with these articlesÂ, he said.
That claim is supported by Lucy Fisher, Executive Director of the Private Hospitals' Association, in Brisbane, Australia. Although a heavy user of computer technology and mainstream software applications from a senior executive perspective, Fisher admits she is not a technologist and doesnÂt aspire to become one: "It's the first computer related thing I've read that makes sense to me as an IT illiterate!"
Bill HelyÂs free Take Back The Net self defense articles can be delivered daily as a safe PDF attachment to anyone with an eMail address. Just register your interest at http://HackersNightmare.com/TakeBackTheNet, and the first article in the series should arrive at your inbox within minutes.
For more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with Bill Hely, please leave a message on 07-3262-6679 (from within Australia) or 617-3262-6679 (from outside Australia). Alternatively send eMail to: Author@HackersNightmare.com
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