Harley Hahn's
Internet Insecurity


What do you think an editor does?

I bet you think an editor is a kindly, wise person — an insightful, knowledgeable professional who cares enormously about the written word. Perhaps you imagine that every writer has an editor to act as a personal advisor, someone who is always available with support, ideas, inspiration and infinite patience.

Until I started to write books professionally, over 15 years ago, that's the way I thought it worked. Well, I'm here to tell you that it doesn't work like that at all. There are a lot of people in the publishing industry with the word "editor" in their job title, but they are nothing like the mythical person I described above.

To be sure, there used to be editors like that. Perhaps the most well-known was Maxwell Perkins (1884-1946), one of the most important editors of the twentieth century. Perkins worked at the Charles Scribner's Sons publishing house. During a long and distinguished career, he worked with Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, James Jones, Ring Lardner and many other talented authors, helping them to develop their talent and ideas. Perkins was a lot more than an advisor; he was an advisor and collaborator, always ready with ideas, suggestions and encouragement.

It is the dream of every serious writer that, one day, he will be able to work with an editor of this stamp. However, modern publishing is driven by budgets, not by artistic value. Virtually everyone in every publishing house I have ever known is horribly overworked. In such an environment, where are you going to find an editor who respects the writer's talent so much that he is willing to spend hours helping to shape a manuscript, one idea at a time? If you had asked me, before I started this book, if I thought I would ever have the chance to work with such an editor, I would have answered, no; people like Maxwell Perkins don't exist anymore.

I was wrong. There is one such person, and his name is Greg Doench, a senior editor at Prentice Hall PTR, the publisher of this book.

Greg helped me in every stage of the writing of this book, from the initial discussions, through the planning, writing, editing, book design and marketing. For more than a year, Greg and I spent many hours talking and working together, often at night and on weekends. No detail was too small; no idea was too trivial for Greg. He was there when I needed him, willingly giving me the time and advice I needed to produce the very best book I could. Truly, if I can see farther than other people, it is because I am standing on the shoulders of a giant.

Next, I want to mention the one person whose contributions to this book were so important that it would be difficult to overpraise her (but let me try anyway), Lydia Hearn, my Chief of Staff.

Lydia is a Professor of English at De Anza College in Cupertino, California. In spite of her heavy schedule as a teacher, Lydia found time to participate in numerous strategic meetings with Greg and me. During one of these meetings, Lydia was instrumental in helping us choose a title for the book. Lydia also copy edited all the chapters, and took infinite pains to ensure that everything turned out perfectly (which it did).

So how did this book get started? The idea arose in a conversation I had, well over a year ago, with Greg and Jeff Pepper. Jeff is the head of Prentice Hall PTR (Professional Technical Reference), the company that published this book. Officially, Jeff's title is Publisher, which means that he spends a lot of time in meetings, eating M&Ms, adding up columns of numbers, making marketing projections, and planning new meetings (at which he will eat M&Ms, add up columns of numbers, make marketing projections, and plan even more meetings).

This is the fourth book that Jeff and I have done together, although the first at Prentice Hall. (He used to work for a division of McGraw Hill.) What I like best about Jeff is that he comes up with an idea, asks me if I'd like to write a book about it, and then leaves me alone to do the book the way I want.

More than anything, this is a book of ideas, and good ideas take a long time to develop.

More than anything, this is a book of ideas, and good ideas take a long time to develop. When I first started planning, I spent an evening with two good friends of mine, Hal Kopeikin and Suzanne Delmerico, debating and discussing. By the end of the evening, I was able to use a single piece of paper to conceptualize the ideas that would, eventually, form the nucleus of this book: Trust, Comfort, Relationships, Security, Excitement and Responsibility. (You know, if I could raise 50 million dollars, I could run for President on that platform.)

A number of people helped me with gathering material. First, there are two of my long-time researchers: Kelly Murdock-Billy, chief researcher for this book, and Elaine McIntyre, who contributed as an adjunct researcher. (If you want to read a story about Kelly, see the beginning of Chapter 13.)

In addition to the research done by Kelly and Elaine, I learned a lot from various people who were kind enough to talk to me regarding specific topics about which they are particularly knowledgeable. These people and the topics we discussed are: Alex Taylor (virus protection), Bruce Slane (privacy), Dave Buckingham (online auctions}, Hal Kopeikin (psychology), Joel Macnamara (early macro viruses), Kurt Albershardt (security), Len Babin (security) and Terry Keramaris (online chatting).

Once the chapters were written, I sent them to another group of people, my technical reviewers. Their job is to read each chapter, look for mistakes (always hard to find in one of my books) and make comments. These reviewers, to whom I am indebted for their time and expertise, are Alex Taylor, Eugene Katunin, Len Babin, Michael Schuster, and Tammy Cravit.

This book is offered in two formats: the print edition, published by Prentice-Hall PTR, and the Web-based edition (the one you are reading). The content of the two editions is virtually the same. However, preparing the Web-based edition required a great deal of extra work.

With respect to this work, I would like to thank two people for inspiring me: Terry Keramaris, whose idea it was to produce a special design that would work well for the Web, and Eric Johannsen, who introduced me to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and convinced me to learn the system.

The basic elements of the design were created by Brandi Valenza, a talented and hard-working artist. Using Brandi's design, I was able to create the various CSS styles and format the text of the book. If are interested in CSS and you would like to see the styles that I used, take a look at this page:

I am grateful to these three people for another reason. While I was working on the design and formatting of the Web pages, Brandi, Terry and Eric looked at each chapter and helped me by making a great many valuable suggestions.

To complete the acknowledgments, I'd like to thank the people who work at the IBM PC Company Product Reviews Lab for hardware support: Sid Baker (the manager), James Lumpkin, Loring Montague, Michael Redd and Robert Armbruster.

Finally, I'd like to thank Suzanne Delmerico for patience, kindness, wisdom, and understanding during the writing of the book, qualities which are so important, and which I greatly appreciate.