August 8, 2000
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services are hot, and if you don't already
have high-speed Internet access, you are wishing you did. For a small
price increase over traditional ISP services, users can upgrade to a DSL
line and access the Internet at record speeds. However, one of the biggest
stumbling blocks to doing so has been the security implications. DSL services
expose your system to a much greater degree to cybercriminals and cybervandals.
Until Earthlink's announcement, the only way for ISP customers to protect
themselves from wily world wide web security intrusions was for customers
to take this task into their own hands. Personal firewalls are becoming
ubiquitously popular, and everyone is talking about which one they should
install and why. Users want to know what TCP/IP services they should block,
and what log file alerts they should report and respond to.
which last year merged with Mindspring, has gone the extra mile and is
providing two types of personal firewalls to its DSL customers for free.
PC users receive Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall 2000, and Mac users
receive Open Door's DoorStop firewall. With the ability to provide DSL
services to 50 metropolitan areas, Earthlink today is the only ISP that
offers built-in security with its DSL services.
customers receive instructions explaining what they need to do to activate
their personal firewall. They also receive a unique secure download key
that enables them to download it securely. With a reputation for superior
customer service, Earthlink has found a way to sell DSL services alleviating
the most talked about implementation concern - security.
With both a privacy and firewall module, Symantec's personal firewall
is well suited for multi-purpose Internet remote connectivity. The firewall
module blocks both Java applets, as well as ActiveX controls. TCP/IP ports
that are currently not being used are blocked by default. When an alert
has been triggered, a menu pop-up appears and the user has the option
of permitting the access on a one-time only basis, blocking the access
on a one-time only basis, or configuring what is known as a firewall rule
that will permanently block or permit the requested type of access. However,
ultimately, the user needs to tell the personal firewall whether to block
or permit the access.
privacy module allows users to selectively block custom text strings from
leaving their PC. Users can insert their credit card number, phone number,
children's names, bank account number, words like "Proprietary," and other
confidential strings into a file that will be prevented from being transmitted
out from their PC.
DSL subscription through Earthlink, the Norton Personal Firewall retails
at $49/year. If you're thinking of purchasing this firewall, you might
want to think about signing-up for Earthlink DSL and obtaining it for
free. This new offering is bound to reel in a lot of new customers for
Earthlink, and put their well-known customer helpdesk technicians to the
expect to see a lot of other ISPs follow suit and team up with some of
the other personal firewall vendors. Various other personal firewalls
on the market include: Black ICE Defender, Netscreen-10, SonicWall 10,
Zone Alarm, Comsocks, and CyberArmor.