10 Don’ts on Your Digital Devices: The Non-Techie’s Survival Guide to Cyber Security and Privacy

Now available at Amazon, Apress, and Barnes & Noble.  Also available in print at the University of Virginia Bookstore.

"10 Don'ts" co-author Eric Rzeszut was thrilled to present a copy of the book to reddit founder Alexis Ohanian!

“10 Don’ts” co-author Eric Rzeszut was thrilled to present a copy of the book to reddit founder Alexis Ohanian!

In nontechnical language and engaging style, 10 Don’ts on Your Digital Devices explains to non-techie users of PCs and handheld devices exactly what to do and what not to do to protect their digital data from security and privacy threats at home, at work, and on the road. These include chronic threats such as malware and phishing attacks and emerging threats that exploit cloud‐based storage and mobile apps.

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to use any of your cloud-synced assortment of desktop, portable, mobile, and wearable computing devices to work from home, shop at work, pay in a store, do your banking from a coffee shop, submit your tax returns from the airport, or post your selfies from the Oscars. But with this new world of connectivity and convenience comes a host of new perils for the lazy, the greedy, the unwary, and the ignorant. The 10 Don’ts can’t do much for the lazy and the greedy, but they can save the unwary and the ignorant a world of trouble.

10 Don’ts employs personal anecdotes and major news stories to illustrate what can—and all too often does—happen when users are careless with their devices and data. Each chapter describes a common type of blunder (one of the 10 Don’ts), reveals how it opens a particular port of entry to predatory incursions and privacy invasions, and details all the unpleasant consequences that may come from doing a Don’t. The chapter then shows you how to diagnose and fix the resulting problems, how to undo or mitigate their costs, and how to protect against repetitions with specific software defenses and behavioral changes.

Through ten vignettes told in accessible language and illustrated with helpful screenshots, 10 Don’ts teaches non-technical readers ten key lessons for protecting your digital security and privacy with the same care you reflexively give to your physical security and privacy, so that you don’t get phished, give up your password, get lost in the cloud, look for a free lunch, do secure things from insecure places, let the snoops in, be careless when going mobile, use dinosaurs, or forget the physical—in short, so that you don’t trust anyone over…anything.

Non-techie readers are not unsophisticated readers. They spend much of their waking lives on their devices and are bombarded with and alarmed by news stories of unimaginably huge data breaches, unimaginably sophisticated “advanced persistent threat” activities by criminal organizations and hostile nation-states, and unimaginably intrusive clandestine mass electronic surveillance and data mining sweeps by corporations, data brokers, and the various intelligence and law enforcement arms of our own governments. The authors lift the veil on these shadowy realms, show how the little guy is affected, and what individuals can do to shield themselves from big predators and snoops.

What you’ll learn

After reading 10 Don’ts, you will understand how to:

  • detect and report phishing scams
  • choose better passwords and how to manage and safeguard all of them
  • use cloud‐based storage services more safely
  • avoid malware infections from suspicious software installers and “drive by downloads”
  • shield your data from the prying eyes of government agencies, data brokers, corporations, and criminals
  • steer through the risks of public wireless networks and shared computers
  • select and configure apps for your mobile devices without unknowingly compromising your privacy and security
  • protect yourself from “dinosaurs” — obsolete hardware and software — that can put your data at risk
  • avoid the deceptive hazards of “social engineering”
  • lock, protect, and erase your physical devices

Who this book is for

The primary target audience for 10 Don’ts is just about everybody—namely, non-techie individuals who routinely use computers, smartphones, and tablets in their daily lives but who are nagged by persistent worry that they are exposing themselves to personal insecurity, intrusive surveillance, and criminal violation. The secondary readerships for this book include employees of small businesses lacking dedicated IT specialists, whose owners want to give their workers a short and entertaining book to reduce the risk of business loss from unsafe practices; households with multigenerational users, ranging from incautious teenagers to gullible grandparents; and private and public professionals who curate third-party personal data and are liable to litigation or discipline if data is stolen or otherwise compromised.

About the Authors

DGB HeadshotDaniel G. Bachrach, PhD, is a Morrow Faculty Excellence Fellow and Professor of Management at the Culverhouse College of Commerce at the University of Alabama. He has published extensively on employee and team performance drivers, transactive memory systems, and organizational citizenship behavior. He also is co-author of the books “Transformative Selling: Becoming a Resource Manager and a Knowledge Broker” and “Management 13e” and is co-editor of the “Handbook of Behavioral Operations Management: Social and Psychological Dynamics in Production and Service Settings.”

EJR HeadshotEric J. Rzeszut, CISSP is an information technology and security professional with two decades of experience in the industry. Eric is the Help Desk Manager at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. Previously, he was an IT Manager at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and a founding member of the UAB Enterprise Information Security Council. He regularly makes information security presentations and consults to a variety of academic, nonprofit, and corporate groups.