A Valuable Resource for Young People (limited time offer)

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Over the years, I've gotten to know many people working in security and privacy. Too few have focused on issues relating to children and young adults. Thankfully, one of these people is Linda McCarthy. A security professional with an impressive resume that includes senior positions at Sun Microsystems and Symantec, Linda has had actual "boots-on-the-ground" experience in the practice of information protection.

Linda has written several books on security, including "Intranet Security - Stories from the Trenches," and "IT Security: Risking the Corporation." She also co-authored the recent free, quite popular, Facebook tutorial on security and privacy. I have read these, heard her speak, and worked with her on projects over the years -- Linda is thoughtful, engaging and an effective communicator on the topics of security and privacy. I'm not the only person to think so -- not too long ago she was a recipient of the prestigious Women of Influence award, presented by CSO Magazine and Alta Associates, recognizing her many achievements in security, privacy and risk management.

About a decade ago, based on some personal experiences with young adults close to her, Linda took on the cause of education about how to be safe online. Youngsters seldom have the experience (and the judgement born of experience) to make the best choices about how to protect themselves. Couple that naiveté with the lure of social contact and the lack of highly-visible controls, and toss in a dash of the opportunity to rebel against elders, and a dangerous mix results. Few people, young or old, truly grasp the extent and reach in time and space of the Internet -- postings of pictures and statements never really go away. Marketers, for one, love that depth of data to mine, but it is a nightmare that can haunt the unwary for decades to come.

Long term loss of privacy isn't the only threat, of course. Only last week news broke of yet another tragic suicide caused by cyberbullies; there is a quiet epidemic of this kind of abuse. Also, Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf, spoke a few days ago about being the victim of cyberstalking and sexual extortion. These are not things kids think about when going online -- and neither do their parents. This is the complex milieu that Linda is confronting.

In 2006, Linda began to focus on writing for the younger set and produced "Own Your Space: Keep Yourself and Your Stuff Safe Online," which is a nice introduction that kids seem to appreciate. A few years ago, Linda updated it and under a Creative Commons license it is now available as a free download from Microsoft (among others). I wrote about the release of that update in this blog in 2010.

Earlier this year, Linda released a new book, "Digital Drama: Staying Safe While Being Social Online" (also available en español). This book covers a multitude of issues, including privacy, reputation, online bullying and stalking, avoiding predators, spotting scams, how to manage settings and online persona, and a wealth of other valuable insights for young people -- and therefore it is also of value to their parents, teachers, and an older audience that may not have the expertise but faces many of the same concerns. Linda's book doesn't address all the problems out there -- she doesn't address the really dark side of youth gang culture, for instance -- but this book does admirably cover many of the major issues that face kids who really want to stay out of trouble.

What makes this especially useful is a limited-time offer. In support of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Microsoft has provided support to allow Linda to offer a free digital download of "Digital Drama" from Amazon.com (the Spanish version, too). Parents, teachers, teens, tweens, kids, and the young at heart can all get that free download from 12am on Tuesday, September 24th until 11:59pm on Friday, September 27 (2013; times are PDT). (If you are reading this blog after that week, you should still check out the book.)

To quote from the "About this book" section of Amazon:

Every day, millions of teens log on and make decisions that can compromise their safety, security, privacy, and future. If you are like most teens, you are already using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and have your smartphone super-glued to your hand. You tag your friends in photos, share your location and thoughts with friends, and post jokes online that later may be misunderstood. At the same time, you might not realize how that information can affect your reputation and safety, both online and offline. We’ve all heard the horror stories of stolen identities, cyber stalking, pedophiles on the Internet, and lost job, school, and personal opportunities. All teens need to learn how to protect themselves against malware, social networking scams, and cyberbullies. Learn crucial skills:
- Deal with cyberbullies
- Learn key social networking skills
- Protect your privacy
- Create a positive online reputation
-Protect yourself from phishing and malware scams

Spaf sez, "Check it out."

Comments

Compromising with one’s own safety, privacy and security is a major mistake and young people are often the worst victim. Linda McCarthy is running a wonderful campaign in educating the young and the adolescent to take care of their own safety during adverse times. Keep up with the great work.

Posted by web hosting in india on Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 07:24 AM

Very interesting! Thank you for sharing the links to those books. Cyberbullying and protection of your privacy are important. Teens need to equip themselves as much knowledge as they can on to deal with these things.

Keep the taps flowing.

Jam Dwade

Posted by Jam Dwade on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 03:57 AM

Good read, thank you for sharing!

Posted by t-monkey on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 02:38 PM

I actually have read her book “Intranet Security,” but never knew she had a Facebook tutorial too. Over the years I have just resorted to online writing classes on privacy and how to keep your information safe. I will have to check her tutorial out.

I am also very intrigued that she has a book geared towards kids,“Own Your Space.” This will be a great book that I can show my children to illustrate the importance of keeping your data private online. That seems to be something that you cannot drill into their heads enough! Ha!

Thanks for the post!

Posted by Joe Cotant on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 05:35 PM

I actually have read her book “Intranet Security,” but never knew she had a Facebook tutorial too. Over the years I have just resorted to online writing classes on privacy and how to keep your information safe. I will have to check her tutorial out.

I am also very intrigued that she has a book geared towards kids,“Own Your Space.” This will be a great book that I can show my children to illustrate the importance of keeping your data private online. That seems to be something that you cannot drill into their heads enough! Ha!

Thanks for the post!

Posted by abdo fathy on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 12:22 PM

I’ve been looking quite a while for literature aimed at children that start using Facebook. I stumbled upon your summary and read the Facebook tutorial. Many thanks! Very helpful insights and something to talk about with my daughter. Since I am dealing half of my life with security and flash memories on a professional basis, security and data protection has become somewhat my 2nd skin…
Kind regards and greetings, Hans from Germany

Posted by Hans Zimmermann on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 02:38 AM

Extremely helpful information specially the last part smile I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

Posted by kesehatan Kulit dan Wajah on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 04:56 AM

Thank you for sharing the links to those books. Cyberbullying and protection of your privacy are important.

Posted by Kesehatan Gigi on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 04:57 AM

Thank you for sharing the links to those books. Cyberbullying and protection of your privacy are important. Extremely helpful information specially the last part smile I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a long time.

Posted by noteber on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 09:00 PM

I think you have done a really nice job on this website and really appreciate the information you have provided.  Thanks so much for taking the time to share your insights with the rest of us.

Posted by Joanne@children books on Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 08:36 PM

I actually have read her book “Intranet Security,” but never knew she had a Facebook tutorial too. Over the years I have just resorted to online writing classes on privacy and how to keep your information safe. I will have to check her tutorial out.

I am also very intrigued that she has a book geared towards kids,“Own Your Space.” This will be a great book that I can show my children to illustrate the importance of keeping your data private online. That seems to be something that you cannot drill into their heads enough! Ha!

Thanks for the post!

Posted by Banjar Bungas on Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 04:04 AM

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