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Shoring up your defenses

By DAVE GUSSOW

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 9, 2000


For that, hackers can go to thousands of sites on the Web to find tools that automate the process. For example, when a computer is connected to the Internet, it is assigned an Internet protocol, or IP, number as its address. If the hacker knows the range of numbers used by an Internet service provider, such as Road Runner, he can set up the program to send out signals to a sequence of addresses to see what's unprotected on the system. The program reports back to the hacker.

The first line of defense against hackers for home users with cable modem or digital subscriber line Internet access is a firewall, software that blocks intruders. Here are some of the products frequently mentioned by Internet service providers or other experts:

* * *

BlackICE Defender: A popular $40 firewall product recommended by Road Runner and Verizon Communications that is available for download at www.networkice.com.

ZoneAlarm: This firewall software is available free for individual users and available at www.zonelabs.com.

ClearICE Report Utility: A $20 add-on for BlackICE Defender users, this software (http://clearice.hypermart.net) gives more detailed information on intrusions, lets users set up e-mails to the offender's Internet service provider and works with software tracing tools, such as NeoTrace (www.pkware.com/catalog/neotrace.html) and SmartWhois (www.tamos.com/sw.htm).

Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL Router: This $99 one-port device is one recommended by Verizon (www.gte.com/dsl/personalFirewall.html) for small businesses and home offices using networks.

NetBarrier: A firewall product for Macintosh users is available for $75 at www.intego.com.

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