Question: I just bought a computer and I will be using dial-up service for the Internet. Do I need to get a firewall to protect my home computer from hackers? The sales rep at the store said to me I do not need it but I want to double-check. – M.L.
Answer: When you use a dial-up modem, your IP address changes every time you connect. As you may know, an IP address is your computer’s numeric address on the Internet. (Find out what your IP address is). Your Internet Provider will assign a temporary IP address every time you connect from a pool that they control.
Since your IP address changes with each login, it’s hard for a hacker to find you repeatedly, which is what they need to do to break into your computer. It’s kind of like moving apartments in an apartment building every day. A thief that wants to rip you off is going to have a hard time locating you.
So the answer: a firewall is not necessary for dial-up users. For those who have high-speed always-on internet connections, however, a firewall is recommended. I recommend Xeon Personal Firewall. Or get started with free basic firewall called Zone Alarm.
If you’d like to read more about the potential for hackers to attack your computer, please see this feature article.
TechnologyTips Tip! Since this article was written, I recommend that all broadband internet users use a router as a firewall along with their software firewall for added security. You can find different brands of routers at [link removed].com.