March 2001óLast month we took a
look at possible improvements to your broadband connection and
hopefully theyíve garnered some improvement for you. Tweaking can
lead to itís own kind of madness trying different things attempting
to squeeze the last byte out of your connection so recognize that
and donít forget to go out and enjoy no earthquakes.
To make a
short story long, no damage at my shop north of Seattle. This is my
third big earthquake (LA in í69, SF in í89) but the first time I was
out and about (trying to find my way around the grocery store for
something to eat that didnít require cooking skills as my wife was
out of town) and I recognized it for what it was so I scurried (the
image of a cockroach with the light on comes to mind) to the back of
the store away from the shelves and drop ceiling.
The product breakage was impressive. Catsup, mustard, salad
dressing, et al, everywhere. Literally a clean up on every aisle.
But the hardware survived just fine. Nary a power glitch. So
thanks for all your emails of concern, everything is fine in my neck
of the woods.
Persistent Connection Issues
Unlike a dial up connection a full time connection offers an
always on target for those that go around rattling locks to see if
the door is unlocked. Is there great exposure? I canít judge that
for you, but after installing software to detect such things you may
be surprised at the number of people who come poking around seeing
what they can find. Probably better to be safe than sorry.
Checking Your Security
Two sites that provide security testing are
dslreports and Steve
"Shields Up" service.
Thereís no harm to using both and they will both give you a
pretty good idea of where your current security stands. I feel that
the dslreports test is
a bit more comprehensive but again, youíll want to try both.
Types of Security
If youíre not running anything other than standard Windows
security youíll probably want to consider some extra security.
Usually referred to as a "firewall" it can be either hardware or
software. For most home applications software is far less expensive.
Hardware security is typically fairly expensive. Iíve installed
firewall appliances for clients that run into thousands of dollars
but a relatively recent product on the market is the
Linksys connection sharing
router. Not only does it provide an outstanding hardware solution to
sharing a connection between multiple networked computers but it
also includes an excellent firewall. If you need connection sharing
I highly recommend the Linksys device.
Because I prefer hardware solutions in my setup I havenít tested
all the software solutions on the market. Among those I have are
Signal 9, BlackIce, Conceal and ZoneAlarm. Itís been a while since
Iíve used these and they all had their quirks, but drop by the
Gibson Research Site and check out their
ratings as they are current.
You probably donít have anything to worry about, but with your
always on connection youíll want to take some extra care and make
sure that you havenít left the front door open for just anyone to
wander in. An ounce of prevention and all that.
Until next month stay connected.