Firewall


Back in the days of dialup connections to the Internet (no offense to those still on dialup), you didn't really have to worry about hackers because every time you dialed into your provider, they would give you a new IP number. Today with DSL and Cable, you may have a static IP number that never changes or if you have a dynamic one, that number may not change for months at a time. This gives hackers a chance to come back to your IP number if something looks interesting to them.

How are hackers going to find your IP number? Well, if you have a domain name, finding the IP number is as simple as doing a nslookup. Even if you don't tell anybody about your IP number, you're still in trouble. Hackers don't sit there and manually try every IP number in the world, they have software programs scripts that will do that for them. Once they find an interesting IP number, they can then scan through all your port numbers to see which ones are available for attack. This is also done by software.  That's why sometimes hackers are referred to as "script-kiddies".

If you want to see how exposed your computer is, go to GRC.com and click on "Shields Up". Test your shields (and photon canons) and then ask them to "Probe your ports". You may be surprised at what information they can show you.

The chances that you'll get hacked are slim right?  Wrong.  Let me tell you a little story. I put together a server to serve streaming audio. I installed windows 2000 advanced server and applied the sp1 service pack. I the connected the server to the network and within 10 hours, somebody started to use my server as a storage space for his pirated material. Apparently the default settings in windows 2000 allows many openings to the outside world and he found a way in. (Linux users must love this story). 10 hours! Can you believe that? 

A firewall is a must.

One of the best firewalls out there is ZoneAlarm.  The basic version is free and works very well.  I highly recommend using ZoneAlarm.  I have 2 guides here on how to install and configure ZoneAlarm on your webserver.

Some people use software firewall programs and other people use hardware routers with firewall protection. My recommendation is to use both. A hardware router will put distance between your computer and the Internet and also afford protection by method of NAT. Then each computer on your network should be running a software firewall. This will offer maximal protection from the elements.



Network

Additional Information
Step-by-Step: Resources: Products: