Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons

The best beginner’s guide to all things security and privacy

Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons
Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons (Source)

I started listening to a lot of podcasts at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and one of those had the best possible name: Firewall’s Don’t Stop Dragons. As a massive fantasy nerd, I, of course, needed to dive deeper. Run by Carey Parker, a cybersecurity & privacy advocate, author, podcast host, and informational speaker, Firewalls is a catch-all privacy and security guide for beginners. It’s fill with great interviews and advice for more experienced folks as well, but is absolutely the best entryway into this convoluted world that I’ve yet to find for those who are less inclined toward tech exploration.

So, when I realized that Cary had based his podcast on his bestselling book of the same name, I knew I needed to get a copy. It turns out to be just as solid as I’d hoped, brimming with step-by-step instructions, detailed yet accessible overviews of all the common tech terms and situations, an a host of practical and simple advice that anyone can follow to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones online.

“Why should I care about my privacy if I have nothing to hide?”

It’s astounding how many times I’ve heard that, or a variation thereof. Because your privacy does matter, and, like it or not, we all have things that need to be kept secret and kept safe.

We all take responsibility for our physical safety: keeping an eye on our possessions, locking our car door, maybe even installing some sort of security system on our home. But when it comes to being secure on the Internet, people for some reason try to make it into a moral argument. But Internet security and privacy are not moral arguments!

One way I’ve seen this explained is that Internet Privacy is that it’s sort of like vaccinations. By getting vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself from some of the worst outcomes of an illness, you’re creating herd immunity and making it harder for others (including the most vulnerable) to get ill as well. Sure, things can still go wrong — people still get sick — but your actions will have helped mitigate some of the damage.

Internet security and privacy work the same way.

  • By taking care of your personal security…
  • by promoting good laws around Internet privacy and security (which largely has to do with breaking up tech monopolies),
  • by securing your communications,
  • by supporting your friends and family with privacy-conscious options…

YOU are helping to build “herd immunity” on the Internet. And what’s so excellent about Firewalls is how accessible this sort of building up of privacy and security can be.

There are now just two books that I hand out to people who need a primer on the modern world of tech. Cory Doctorow’s How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism, and Firewalls Don’t Stop Dragons.

Hi there! I’m Odin Halvorson, a librarian, independent scholar, film fanatic, fiction author, and tech enthusiast. If you like my work and want to support me, please consider becoming a paid subscriber for as little as $2.50 a month!

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