Steve Gibson is the geekiest of computer nerds: he codes programs in assembly language. The practical result: he knows what he’s doing, and the programs he writes are tiny. Of particular interest on his site is the “ShieldsUP!” security test routine. Go there and test your “shields” to see if your ‘net-connected computer is secure or not. You might be very surprised what a determined hacker can do on your system if you’re not properly set up. It’s especially critical if you have a broadband connection (DSL, cable modem, etc.), but you can be vulnerable even if you’re only connected with a modem.
For ongoing interest, be sure to check his Security Now! podcast.
Note: Steve can sometimes be …well… a bit overzealous in his warnings — don’t let anything you find on his site panic you. If his scans show vulnerabilities, read carefully about what it really means as well as how to fix it. You can’t be too safe when it comes to security, but you can overpanic. Just stay calm and, if you’re ever confused, do some research on Google or Ask Leo before deciding what to do.