Author Archives: peterhgregory

About peterhgregory

Published author of over forty books on security and technology, including Solaris Security, CISSP Guide to Security Essentials, and IT Disaster Recovery Planning for Dummies.

Why I Wrote Chromebook For Dummies, 2nd edition

I’ve experienced the computer revolution throughout my adult life, from mainframes that I operated while at University, to minis, PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. I’ve used RSTS, TOPS-10, Unix, DOS, Windows, iOS, and macOS. The capabilities of personal computing platforms are remarkable. From the 1980s onward, I’ve witnessed the birth and development of Usenet, and from it, the Internet and the world wide web.

The capabilities of today’s desktops, laptops, and tablets are nothing short of astonishing. But most citizen computer users are poorly matched to their computing: they use highly-complex, over-engineered, multi-purpose operating systems, all in support of… a browser.

Yes, there is a downside to all of this. The complexity shows in two ways: first, there are way too many “dials and knobs” on computers that consumers buy – they’re way too versatile and powerful. Second, they are far more expensive than they need to be. The result: I’m the IT department for many family members who all occasionally get stuck and cannot figure out their overly complicated machines. There are millions like me in the world, citizen IT for the tens or hundreds of millions who cannot figure out how to keep their computers working correctly.

This is why Google designed the Chromebook.  Chrome OS is a new browser-based, Internet-centric operating system. Simply put, a Chromebook is a laptop with a browser, and just enough OS to run it.  The result: a simple, low-cost, high-performance laptop perfectly designed for 99% of the world’s Internet users.

Chromebooks account for 60% of the computing purchased for K-12 in the United States. Let that sink in. Enterprises are offering them to employees: in the age of all web applications for business and online document and office software, Chromebooks are uniquely and perfectly positioned as a platform of choice.

I wrote Chromebook For Dummies, 2nd Edition, to further help the masses understand how to buy a computer that will actually work for them – reliably, and nearly perpetually – and at low cost. Chromebook For Dummies helps ordinary citizens understand how to select and use a Chromebook, whether they want to surf the web, stream music or videos, look at pictures of family members on vacation, or write poetry.

Chromebooks are brilliantly simple and powerful machines. Chromebook For Dummies helps users use and enjoy them.


A reader recently asked me about the CISM versus the CISSP. Specifically, he asked, “How hard is the CISM for someone who passed the CISSP?”

Having earned both certs (and a few more besides), and having written study guides for both, I felt qualified to help this individual. My answer follows.

CISM is much heavier on security management and risk management than CISSP. You’ll have to study these topics, and the business side of information security.  To paint with a broad brush, you could say that CISM is for CISO’s while CISSP is for security engineers. That, in essence, is the distinction.

Oh and there’s a great study guide out for the CISM:

I passed my CISSP almost 20 years ago while I was still a hands-on technologist.  I studied for my CISA two years later. I learned through my ISACA CISA study materials (provided by my employer) that ISACA has a vastly different vocabulary for infosec than does (ISC)2.  Think of it as a business perspective versus an engineering perspective.  Both are right, both are valid, both are highly valued in the employment market.  But they are different.  Master both, and you’ll be a rare treasure.

Study guides for CISSP:

CISSP For Dummies

CISSP Guide to Security Essentials

Study guides for CISM:

CISM All-In-One Exam Guide



Linksys Velop, Day 36

It’s been over five weeks since I installed our Linksys Velop 3 node WiFi mesh system.  Despite the somewhat rocky start, WiFi performance in our two-story mid-century home has been fantastic. We moved the main upstairs living room TV to the Velop last week, and like everything else in our home, it has performed flawlessly.

We have not had to reconfigure, reset, restart, or change anything, anywhere, since day 1.

We have only a couple of devices left to move over to the Velop system, at which point our old WiFi system will sit unused for another few weeks before we power it down and eventually remove or repurpose it.

Contributors to CISM Exam Guide

My latest book, CISM [Certified Information Security Manager] Exam Guide – published by McGraw-Hill, was released a couple of weeks ago. I need to give a much-deserved shout-out to several individuals who were instrumental in getting this book written and completed.

  • Carole Jelen – my literary agent. If you want to write a tech book, or if you have written tech books but don’t have an agent, look her up.
  • Wendy Rinaldi, Editorial Director for the International & Professional Group at McGraw-Hill Education, and sponsoring editor for this book. She performed executive oversight for the entire authoring, editing, and production process.
  • Claire Yee, Acquisition Coordinator, who managed the project from week to week.
  • Jody MacKenzie, Editorial Supervisor, who managed the editing process.
  • Vivek Khandelwal of Macmillan Publishing Services, Ltd., who managed the entire copy editing process.
  • Kim Wimpsett, Copy Editor, who made sure that spelling, grammar, and tone were correct and consistent.
  • Richard Camp, Proofreader, who ensured that copy editing was done correctly.
  • Jack Lewis, Indexer, who produced the index for the book.
  • James Kussow, Production Supervisor.
  • Jeff Weeks, Art Director, who oversaw the creation of the draft and final cover art.
  • Jay Burke, Tech Reviewer and a former colleague of mine, who served as my right-hand man and subject matter expert in all things related to information security management. At my request, Jay wrote many examples, and generally made sure that everything in the book was correct, complete, and made sense.

There are many more at McGraw-Hill and elsewhere whose attention to quality has resulted in a high-quality book that will help aspiring information security managers learn more about the profession and earn their Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification.

Linksys Velop: Day 2

Pretty uneventful really. No problems since Day 1. Macbooks, iPhones, television are all working well.

Main Velop unit in upstairs hallway. Note temporary black Ethernet patch cord connection.

Velop LEDs are still red. I did a “send feedback” on the mobile app but don’t really expect an answer. I will do an online chat some time this week.

The dashboard is happy. Last night I inventoried the devices connecting to the Velop system and identified all of them. Our guests have a couple of devices I can’t identify; I think one is an X-Box and the other might be an Android phone. Both show up as “network devices.”

I successfully got live views from the Ring doorbell that I logically moved over to the Velop. This is highly important to us, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on it.  We have a second Ring doorbell that is still on the old Linksys repeater that I’ll swing over later this week if the first Ring unit remains happy.

Front door view from Ring

Linksys Velop: Day 1

WiFi in our mid-century split level home has never been pleasant. Built with heavier framing and flooring materials than are used today, compounded by a massive brick chimney that acts like a blockade across the middle of the home, WiFi signals have a hard time getting around.

We are Xfinity broadband customers, and the service has been highly reliable. We have used a mid-grade Linksys access point on 2.4 and 5 GHz, with Linksys repeaters at each end of the home to get signal into the entire home. All these are on the main level; downstairs suffers a bit but it’s not too bad.

I have a detached home office out back, connected by a hard Ethernet line and an Apple Airport Time Capsule for WiFi and backing up my three Mac computers.

Back to the main house. The real problem with WiFi was that we have to connect to different access points depending on where we are in the house.  WiFi signals overlap, so often we’d be on one access point with a really weak signal and poor throughput, and would have to manually reconnect to a closer access point for better performance.  I was growing weary of this.

I’ve been reading reviews (such as this one, and another from PC Magazine) of Grid WiFi systems for months, and put my money down on a Linksys Velop system.

I unboxed the system yesterday and started to set it up. I put the first one in the upstairs hallway on a table, where I could run an Ethernet connection back to the Xfinity modem and where there was power nearby. I downloaded the mobile app (which you must use for setup).

I ran into what is apparently a bug in the setup program, the access points, or both. The Linksys unit should have received a DHCP address from the Xfinity modem, but it didn’t know that it did, and it complained that it did not have an Internet connection.  I struggled with this for over an hour. I finally assigned a fixed IP address to the first Velop unit, and confirmed on the Xfinity modem that it was indeed connected.  However, the Velop unit bitterly complained that there was no Internet connection. Frustrated, I finally decided I was going to ignore this for the moment and proceed with configuration of the Velop unit anyway. I configured the SSID, guest wireless, and other settings. The mobile app was really great for this, and made it really easy.

So here was the surprise. After setting up the first Velop unit, its LED glowing bright red, meaning, no internet connection.  But I thought, what the heck, and I connected to it anyway. I went to my favorite speed test site,, and voila, I was in fact connected to the internet and was getting great throughput (82Mbit/s on my 80Mbit/s service).  The Velop unit’s red LED says one thing, although the mobile app did say everything was fine.

I proceeded to set up the other two Velop units. The mobile app guided me through this and it was a breeze. Each unit took just 5-10 minutes, including downloading the latest firmware updates automatically.

The LED unit on each unit glows bright red, but the system is working pretty well.

I configured two of my Macbook Pros to use the new WiFi, as well as my iPhone. My wife reconfigured the master bedroom television to use the new system as well.  Our downstairs guests are using the guest access, and they told us that it seemed faster than what they were using before.

Our Ring doorbell does not seem to like the Velop unit. But to be fair, I probably should have reconfigured the Ring in the location where it is used. For now, we can’t get a live view but it does send alerts. I will try again tomorrow.

McGraw-Hill and Peter H Gregory Partner to Publish CISM Study Guide

Peter H. Gregory


Seattle, WA – March 12, 2018 – Author Peter H. Gregory has announced that his latest book, “CISM Certified Information Security Manager All-In-One Exam Guide,” has just been published. The book will be available in paperback and electronic editions worldwide.

Peter H Gregory is a well-known author of books on many topics in information security, including certification study guides for CISSP, CISA, and CISM. He has authored over forty books in the past twenty years, beginning with “Solaris Security,” which he wrote in 1998-1999 in the midst of the dot-com boom when most servers on the Internet were powered by the Solaris operating system from Sun Microsystems, and when internet security was just becoming a concern.

“We’re pleased to have partnered with best-selling author Peter Gregory to create CISM All-in-One to support senior cybersecurity professionals who want to achieve this gold standard certification,” cites Wendy Rinaldi, Editorial Director for the International & Professional Group at McGraw-Hill Education. “The breadth of knowledge and experience needed to become a CISM is enormous, and our All-in-One series provides a complete study solution as well as reference for after the exam.”

Gregory has long been passionate about helping aspiring security professionals break into the information security profession. For eight years he was the lead instructor for the University of Washington professional and continuing education in a nine-month course on cyber security, helping mid-career IT professionals pivot into security careers.

“The fact that McGraw-Hill agreed to publish this book on the CISM certification is a testament to the prestige of this certification that was first released in 2002,” cites Gregory. “There is a critical shortage of program-level security professionals, and the CISM certification is the best mainstream certification on security management available today.” To date, over 30,000 professionals have earned the CISM, according to ISACA, the organization that manages CISM and other certifications.

About McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education is a learning science company that delivers personalized learning experiences that help students, parents, educators and professionals drive results. McGraw-Hill Education has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions available in more than 60 languages. Visit us at or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Peter H Gregory

Peter H Gregory is a career information security and technology professional who is an executive advisor and virtual CISO for clients in North America. He is the author of over forty books on information security and emerging technology. Visit him at

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