Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

12.1. Should I worry about security?

Answered by Dave Taylor (

The answer to this thorny question really depends on what you're using the Internet for and how private you want your files and electronic mail to remain. Perhaps the best way to answer this question is to talk about my own perspective on privacy and the Internet. Right up front, it's important to remember that if you're on the Internet, you're probably using a machine that other people are using, too. Certainly when you send electronic mail, your message will travel through other systems in route to your correspondent.

Security therefore encompasses a variety of aspects, including account security, file security and electronic mail security. Despite what you will read in this chapter (believe it or not) I really don't think you need to worry much about security at all.

The main reason is that most systems are set up to be "pretty secure"; that is, secure enough so that casual interlopers won't be able to wander through your files or e-mail. Combine that with the tremendous traffic rate on the network, and you can see that so much is going on that you and I are safely just part of the crowd. Don't ignore security issues entirely. Take the simple precautions outlined here and you'll be fine.

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