Printer Friendly


Q, Since I got a new broadband Internet connection, I stay online all the time and find it very convenient. But my information technology adviser tells me that leaving my Internet access open full-time makes me vulnerable to hackers. Should I assume he's just paranoid about the danger?

A. No, he's correct, but he didn't tell you the whole story. It's not the broadband connection that increases your risk, it's because you've extended the time you're online, and a hacker has more opportunity to get into your system, where he or she can access personal information stored on your computer and even steal your identity.

Does that mean you should limit how long you remain online? No, but you should be aware of the dangers and install a firewall, which is software designed to block the uninvited from entering your computer through your Internet connection.

Understand, however, there are no foolproof security measures; hackers have cracked some of the most secure Web sites--the U.S. Defense Department's and the FBI's, for example. Most people don't need the most effective firewalls--which are expensive and hard to install and operate--because expert hackers generally target only sites where they can steal very valuable data of money of cause mayhem as a political statement.

As a practical matter, you want to guard against the less-than-expert hacker (the one after your credit card numbers), and inexpensive and easy-to-use protection with a low-cost firewall works well. I've used Zone Alarm for some time; a free version can be downloaded from, or you can buy a more sophisticated version of the soft ware for a modest price.

There are many firewalls on the market. To find them, go to a search engine such as Google ( and type in firewall.

When it comes to virus protection (hackers can send viruses to you), you should avoid bargain-basement products. The major virus protection software products are McAfee (, Norton ( and Kaspersky ( But again, there are many others, and you can find them via a search engine.

Caveat: Don't delude yourself into thinking once you buy a virus protection program you're sale. New viruses are created daily, and unless you subscribe for regular updates, you're vulnerable to infection.
COPYRIGHT 2003 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Technology Q&A
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Previous Article:Operating system.
Next Article:Word.

Related Articles
Working the Net to your advantage.
Network Solutions Increases Focus on Internet Technology Services.
KILL BW0156, MA-ACTIVEWORLDS.COM and KILL BW1152, CQN-MA-ACTIVEWORLDS.COM. Acquires Web's Leading Resource for NT/Windows 2000 Solutions.
First Annual Virginia Internet Technology Week to Offer Professional Savings Discount. Teams With Yahoo! to Deliver News On Yahoo! Asia, Yahoo! Singapore and Yahoo! Hong Kong.
The Only Web Information Network[TM].
Big City Development.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters