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Chapter 29. Internet Security > Setting a Security Policy

Setting a Security Policy

By its very nature, the Internet is an insecure place. Packets of data move from machine to machine across connections that anyone with a little technical knowledge can tap into. On the Internet, simply clicking a link can download and run a program written by someone you've never met, whose motives you can't even begin to guess. When you transmit sensitive data over the Internet, it can be intercepted by complete strangers. If you run a server program, a stranger can connect directly to your computer with consequences you might not be aware of. There's no need for paranoia, but everyone who accesses the Internet should have a healthy respect for its risks.

Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 5.0 (IE5) include a broad set of security tools. Before you can properly configure these options, however, you need to establish a security policy. This policy should balance the need to protect sensitive data against the undeniable value of open access to information and the wealth of information available on the world's largest network. Different environments have different security requirements as well: With a dial-up Internet connection at home, you might not worry about the risk of break-ins, but on a corporate network, firewalls and other sophisticated security precautions are a must.


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