In This Chapter
Understanding the dangers of going online
Using a firewall
Avoiding trouble online
I know that you've heard horror stories about hacking: Big corporations and big government installations seem to be as open to hackers as a public library. Often, you read that even entire identities are being stolen online. When you consider that your Mac can contain very sensitive and private information in your life — such as your Social Security number and financial information — it's enough to make you nervous about turning on your computer long enough to check your eBay auctions.
But how much of that is Hollywood? How truly real is the danger, especially to Mac owners? And how can you protect yourself? The good news is that you can easily secure your data from all but the most determined hacker — in fact, depending on the hardware that you're using to connect to the Internet, you might be well guarded right now without even knowing it.
In this chapter, I continue a quest that I've pursued for over a decade now — to make my readers feel comfortable and secure in the online world by explaining the truth about what can happen and telling you how you can protect your system from intrusions.
One quick note: This chapter is written with the home and small-business Mac owner in mind. Macs that access the Internet through a larger corporate network are very likely already protected by that knight in shining armor, the network system administrator. (Insert ...