Broadband Security

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Broadband Security :

How big an issue is security for the Internet, broadband and my computer?

Companies that want to sell security-related products and services will paint the Internet as Crime Alley, filled with sociopathic teenagers, Russian Mafia hackers and con artists working out of a deadly jungle of worms, viruses and Trojan horses.

Companies that aren’t in the security business argue that there are no problems, which means they may not be eager to fix flaws in their programs.

Alas, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

So, should I worry about security issues?

The Internet was created by and is used by people, some of whom are criminals. But, then again, that’s not unlike the offline world, is it? That said, some simple precautions — the online equivalent of locking your front door — will keep you safe from all but the most determined criminals.

What’s the worst that can happen?

reminds me of a familier soft drinks advert !

Someone could read, delete or alter files on your personal computer.
A hacker could hijack your computer to send e-mail with your name on it.
Somebody could crash your computer or erase your programs.
IF you keep private passwords, financail files etc these can all be read.
How can they do this?

Every computer using the Internet has an identifying number called an IP address. There are several companies that assign names to numbers, which is why you didn’t have to type in numbers to get to arize-development, global broadband Web site.

When you go on the Internet, your computer becomes part of the Internet, just like the big computers at Yahoo or Microsoft. When you surf the Net or download e-mail, the information you’ve requested is sent to your personal IP address. However, things you don’t want — viruses, junk e-mails and unauthorized intrusions — also can invade your computer if someone knows your IP number.

Dial-up Internet service customers, who turn on and off their connection all the time, are assigned a temporary IP number when they’re online. Usually, they’ll get a different number each time they go to the Internet. That makes it difficult, but not impossible, for hackers and their ilk to find them.

Broadband connections, on the other hand, usually get permanent IP addresses because they’re always on. That, in turn, makes them easier to find. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem were it not for the fact that hackers are smart, and they’re always finding tiny points of entry and new ways to access other computers. That’s why you need protection.

Why would they go after me?

Some hackers go after everybody. They scan for IP addresses and attack everything they find. Other hackers try to steal credit-card or sensitive personal information stored on personal computers.

Why don’t I just turn off my computer?

First, the always-on connection is one of broadband’s major benefits. Second, it wouldn’t help anyway. Most hackers use programs to do their work for them. These programs can check your IP address to see when you’re on and when an attack should be mounted.

What kind of protection do I need?

A firewall, which monitors your Internet connection and refuses to let anything suspicious in.

Firewalls come in hardware and software varieties. Hardware firewalls are boxes that you plug your computer into. Many broadband routers and modems now come with built-in firewall protection.

Software firewalls, are programs that you download from the Internet to your personal computer. These applications scan for hackers, just as anti-virus programs look for bugs that can disable your PC.

How does a firewall work?

It monitors your Internet traffic and compares what’s coming in to what’s permitted. Most firewalls are set to let Web pages and e-mail pass through, but won’t let telnet or ftp requests in, unless the person has a password.

A firewall also monitors traffic in the other direction. Some programs called Trojan Horses try to take control of your computer and then send a “mission accomplished” signal to their builders. (Back Orfice is one example). A firewall won’t let this signal be sent from your computer, and will sound an alarm to let you know that something funny is going on.

Some firewalls can block objectionable Internet sites — that helps if you have children — or remove advertisements from Web pages.

How much does a firewall cost?

Visit our Broadband Products page, we list and compare a number of top selling security solutions.

Firewall software can range from nothing up to £50. Hardware firewalls range from £300 to several thousand pounds.

Can home networks be hacked from the Internet?

Yes. If a computer can be hacked, anything attached to that computer also can be hacked.

What can I do right now to protect myself?

  • Get a good anti-virus program and have it scan your computer each week.
  • If you have a Microsoft computer, turn off the file-sharing function.
  • Don’t run a program or open an e-mail attachment without first running a virus scan.

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