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"Personal Firewalls"

If you’re a user of broadband Internet access like Cable Modems or DSL, your computer is prone to a myriad of attacks from computer hackers or maybe even that strange neighbor across the street. At first thought, it may seem that the idea of someone hacking your computer is probably very unlikely. After all, what could they possibly want from your system? For starters, some people are just plain nosy and like to snoop around. While someone snooping around inside your computer is probably harmless, others might be interested in more frightening scenarios like checking out the bank account information you store in your accounting program. Regardless of the reasons behind the potential for mischief, this is probably a much larger problem than previous figures have suggested. In fact, according to most recent estimates, about one in ten high-speed Internet users will experience some type of encounter.

There are several alternatives that are available in order to protect your system from these attacks. The first option is to check with the company that provides your Internet services. They may have a security system available for broadband services that greatly reduces the difficult task of securing your computer. This option may not be available in all situations, but is probably the preferred method of protection if it is. Shasta IP Services, a division of Nortel Networks, is following up their very successful Dial Up and DSL security options with a plan allowing Internet service providers the capability to configure personal firewalls for their cable modem users. With the recent launch of the plan called Secure Cable, your service provider may soon offer this option if they currently do not have a security plan available. The system uses network-based firewalls to protect each cable connection for a very safe and reliable 24/7 Internet connection.

Another option is to protect your system with one of the many software products available for this purpose. Until recently, the very tedious task of securing your system via software should probably have been left to experts. However, recent updates have further simplified the process allowing a relatively novice computer user to set up a personal firewall of their own. Although the process has been simplified, it is still not completely intuitive and may take a little more time and effort on your part to set the software up.

The third option, available in certain situations, is security built into some cable and DSL modems. A joint venture between Check Point Software and Texas Instruments is developing personal firewalls that will be built into the actual hardware components of cable and DSL modems. Based on Check Point's Stateful Inspection technology, the HomeSecure! software will be designed initially on Texas Instruments' cable modem platform. Additionally, it will support virtual private network and bandwidth management.

With the number of users of broadband technology increases daily, the demand for basic, secure access solution for these high-speed connections is elevated. If you happen to be one of the lucky few who currently have one of these connections, your personal firewall options are increasing daily.

  - by Clayton Crooks

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