Security: Firewalls

Written by Richard Lowe

If you spend a lot of time onrepparttar internet and you are not behind a firewall, then you are living on borrowed time. Putting some protection between you andrepparttar 132096 internet is probablyrepparttar 132097 third most important thing that you can do (after getting virus checking software and performing regular backups).

The diagram torepparttar 132098 left shows an unprotected system using a DSL modem. As you can see, someone onrepparttar 132099 internet can attachrepparttar 132100 computer system easily asrepparttar 132101 DSL modem provides no protection (some DSL modems have built-in firewalls). An attacker can get through any type of modem - DSL, cable, 56K, 28.8 or whatever. Ifrepparttar 132102 device gets you onrepparttar 132103 internet, you are vulnerable.

For those with a DSL, cable modem or other "always-on" connection, you MUST get a firewall. This is critical, as your machine is always live and it most likely has a fixed IP address. This makes it easier for your system to be "found" and attacked.

What a personal firewall does is isolate your computer fromrepparttar 132104 rest ofrepparttar 132105 internet. It does this by inspecting each packet of data to determine if it it should be allowed to get to (and in some cases from your machine.) The best protection completely hides your computer - this is called stealth mode.

You haverepparttar 132106 option of installing a software firewall or a hardware firewall.

Software Firewall - A software firewall runs on your computer system inrepparttar 132107 background. It intercepts each network request and determines ifrepparttar 132108 request is valid or not. Software firewalls offerrepparttar 132109 following advantages:

- They are generally very inexpensive

- They are very easy to configure

They haverepparttar 132110 following disadvantages:

- Since they run on your computer they require resources (CPU, memory and disk space) from your system.

- They can introduce incompatibilities into your operating system.

- You must install exactlyrepparttar 132111 correct version for your operating system.

- You must purchase one copy for each system on your home network.

Hardware Firewall - A hardware firewall is generally a small box which sits between your computer and your modem. In general, hardware firewalls haverepparttar 132112 following advantages:

- They tend to provide more complete protection than software firewalls

- A hardware firewall can protect more than one system at a time

- They do not effect system performance since they do not run on your system.

- They are independent of your operating system and applications.

They haverepparttar 132113 following disadvantages:

- They tend to be expensive, although if you have a number of machines to protect it can cost less to purchase one hardware firewall than a number of copies of a software product.

Password Safety

Written by Richard Lowe

If you've been onrepparttar internet for any length of time, you've collected about a zillion accounts and their associated passwords. Personally, I have over 500 different active accounts all overrepparttar 132094 web and probably a thousand more inactive or unused accounts.

Most people don't have anywhere near that number, but I'll bet you have at least a couple of dozen. Let's see, you've probably got an account at your bank's website, a few credit cards, egroups, perhaps a few webrings, your ISP, email, hotmail, perhaps AOL, and a few others that you don't use as often.

If you are like most people, you cannot even come close to remembering it all. In fact, a lot of people simply createrepparttar 132095 same account name and password everywhere ... and that's extremely dangerous.

Let's say a hacker figures out your AOL account and password. If every other account that you own hasrepparttar 132096 same username and password ... well, you getrepparttar 132097 idea. Now all he has to do is figure out where you have accounts ... but he could just try it at a number of say, banking sites or credit card sites, and perhaps he will get lucky. You may make it even easier for him by mentioning your sites in your AOL emails or on your web site.

So how do you protect yourself? First, make sure your passwords are all different. Don't userepparttar 132098 same password on all of your accounts ... and try and use a few different usernames if you can.

Next, be sure and choose some password that are not so easy to guess. Avoid names (husband, wife, kids, cats and so on), social security and phone numbers, addresses and anything else that someone could figure out if they knew anything about you.

Also avoid some common words. Did you know thatrepparttar 132099 most common password is simply "password". "God" is also common, especially amoung system managers. Avoid common words such as these.

All right! Now you've got all of your 30 or so accounts set up with different account names and different difficult-to-guess passwords. How are you going to remember them all?

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