Harley Hahn's
Internet Insecurity

A Personal Note from Harley Hahn...


During the twentieth century, the human race made so much progress that we came to believe that, given enough science and technology, we could control our own fate — if not as individuals, then at least collectively. What the Internet has shown us is that this assumption is false. As you will see in this book, we are influenced by strong forces that are far beyond our control.

The Internet is so complex, so powerful, so important and so new, that no one can truly explain what it is. Nobody knows why we built the Internet or what it really means to us. As a result, our society is awash in an enormous amount of misinformation.

Most of our worries and concerns about the Internet come from misconceptions and from our inability to understand our motivations clearly. It is my job to explain those misconceptions, and to put everything in perspective — to explain what is happening and why.

Have you noticed how much the world has changed since the mid-1990s when the Internet began to spread so widely? Have you also noticed how, in such a short time, the Internet has insinuated itself into every important aspect of our lives?

I do not want you worrying needlessly about things that are not really a problem. For example, regardless of what you might hear, you do not need to worry about computer viruses or about unknown perpetrators breaking into your system — not if you take a few simple precautions (which I will explain in Chapters 10 and 11).

There are far more important things I want you to think about: how the Internet affects your privacy, your security, your money, your relationships, your work, and your family.

In this book, I am going to explain a lot of ideas that other people don't want you to know: Why are companies so mean-spirited when it comes to treating people well? Why is government so ineffective when it comes to standing up to big business? Why do people love to pass on misinformation to their friends? Why do so many "experts" try to scare us?

I am also going to explain ideas that are crucial to using the Net well, but are mostly ignored in our popular culture. Do we have a biological need for privacy? What is money, and why is it important to us? Why do we need relationships, and what happens to them when we start using the Internet?

The Internet is a lot more than a global computer network. It is a permanent part of our everyday life and, if you and I are to use it well, we must first understand ourselves and our culture.

For this reason, I am going to talk about much more than technology and computers. I am going to discuss psychology, history, philosophy, science, money and relationships. Although these may seem like unrelated topics, I promise you that, by the time you finish reading this book, it will all come together.

I hope by now you understand that this is not a normal computer book, not by a long shot. Indeed, it is my hope that you will find this book to be unlike anything you have ever read.

If you buy this book, I will make you several promises:

  • I promise to explain everything you need to know to use the Internet in a way that makes you and your family safe and comfortable.
  • I promise to show you the best strategies for protecting yourself against the strong forces that control so much of our society.

And finally,

  • I promise that, as long as you are reading this book, you will never be bored.

I want you to read this book for two reasons. First, it is interesting and useful. Second, by the time you finish, you will understand the world a lot better than you do now.

I promise.