I just went high speed. What do I need to know ?

For the first time, high speed connections became available to my area. I’m all signed up and I installed an ethernet card and the cable guy is coming this afternoon to hook it up.

What tips or advice can you give me ? What do I need to know about firewalls ? Is it really always online or only when I go to internet explorer ?


Yup, you’re always on. What you need to know about firewalls: get one. Okay, there’s more to it than that, but my husband is our “system administrator,” so I’m fuzzy on the details. If you don’t want to get a hardware firewall (or until you do), you may want to use a software firewall like BlackIce Defender. Just to see what your vulnerabilty is (after the cable guy hooks everything up), visit this site and click on the Shields Up! link on the bottom half of the page.

Yes, what skeptic_ev said. Get A Firewall.

First thing you do.




Zonealarm do a free one which seems to be pretty well regarded, though there are others.
Without a Firewall anyone can probe your PC any time it’s switched on. Zonealarms one is pretty much just download and run install, you can do all kinds of configuration with it but you can learn about that on the net.

Just because it can’t be emphasized enough: Get a firewall. Zonealarm is excellent; follow the link that TPWombat inserted; download the freebie and run the install - it will walk you through the configuration and you can tweak it later as you go along.

The other thing that is really important is Anti-Virus Software. One like Norton that is always on in the background will help defend against viruses that come in through your email and that might load from suspicious websites. Be sure to activate the automatic update feature, too. Because your broadband connection is always on, Norton can zip out to it’s home webpage and automatically download new virus definitions to keep the software current without you having to do anything special.

The final thing I would recommend, for any web connection, is an anti-spyware program like Spybot Search and Destroy which will scan your PC for malicious dialers and other spyware.

Is there a good free anti virus software I can download ?

If you don’t want to have a software solution, you can get a network router which will work as a firewall. These go for $20-40 down at the computer store and go between your computer and your cable modem. Most come with 4 ports on the back which means you could connect up to 4 computers at the same time and they would all share the connection. That’s what I have at home and it works great.

Other than that, ask the cable guy what the lights on the front modem mean. There will be times when the network goes down and by looking at the LED’s you can figure out if it’s the cable network having the problem or if it’s something on your end.

Also put the tech support phone number into your speed dial because when the network’s down, you’ll need to get in touch with them as soon as possible because you won’t be able to live without it :slight_smile:

Oh and, which one of those zonealarms are the free ones ?

AVG is till free. I can recommend it.

Free Zonelarm

Software/“personal” firewalls are overrated, but in my opinion having one is better than nothing. I recommend ZoneAlarm because it’s free and it works well. I do recommend you turn off the alerting feature, though - all it’s likely to do is make you paranoid because it’ll trigger all the time. Just because people are walking around on the net trying doorknobs it doesn’t mean someone’s specifically targeting you to be hacked - if your doors are locked, they’re not getting in, so they just move on to the next doorknob.

Always, always, always install the critical updates from Microsoft’s Windows Update. Always. I can’t stress this enough. Most of the time the virus du jour is exploiting a security hole Microsoft patched months ago and only idiots who never install the critical updates from Microsoft are being infected.

One common misconception people seem to have is that dial-up internet access is “safe” and broadband is “dangerous.” It’s not so - you’re just as hackable on dialup as on broadband. It’s just that broadband means your computer’s more likely to be found by someone randomly scanning the net for vulnerable systems because it’s online more hours of the day, and it often tends to stay at the same IP address, meaning someone who does compromise it can more easily come back later to tinker with it some more. But being on dial-up doesn’t protect you from being hacked, or even from being found again if you are hacked and your IP address changes (it’s possible for compromised systems “phone home” in one way or another).

So, the moral of the story is to run a firewall of some sort no matter what kind of internet access you have.

You should have a router. Good for protection and sharing the connection if you want.They are real easy to set up too. You may also be able to do away with the network software that comes with the cable connection and just use the router. The software that comes with SBC DSL is very annoying and I got rid of it.
I have Zone Alarm Pro, Spyware Blaster and AdAware installed on all our computers. You can run an online scan at Sygate to find out what ports are open on your current connection and they will advise on how to close them. They make good software as well.

dragongirl, Im curious to know what highspeed connection you’re getting, e.g. Cable modem, DSL modem? What ISP? Comcast? Are you using XP?

I’m getting a cable hook up and I have windows 98. That’s about all I know.

You’ll need to know this:

Once you’ve been on high-speed, you’ll never be able to go back to dial-up.

I love my cable modem. I have found one thing though. For some reason my Norton does not like Spybot at all. I get all kinds of errors. So I deleted spybot. I got an external router and that was the best 30 bucks I spent…No worries.

Do you need a firewall if you leave your cable modem off when not surfing?

I thought you were looking for advice more along the lines of “See a lot of movie trailers, download the newest game demos, and get some porn.” But listen to everyone else about firewalls :slight_smile:

Yes. In instances of known exploits it takes scant seconds for an attacker to break into your system. Just because you’re sitting at the computer and actively using it doesn’t mean some jerk is messing with it on the back end.

And my .02 on firewalls: Get a hardware one. Most any broadband router will work. ZoneAlarm and it’s ilk are overrated and unnecessary overhead if a broadband router is installed.

Good advice.

Do you know why online cable modem users would be more at risk from attackers than online dial-up users?

I’d have to disagree. But that’s just me. I am indeed behind a Linksys 8 port router, but still use ZoneAlarm, to catch the strays that do indeed wiggle through.