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Note: This section is out of date and no longer maintained.
It is retained for the value of any residual information contained in it.
firewallA firewall is a software that sits between you and the outside world. A firewall is configured on a need to know basis, ie, all incoming connections are refused unless you explicitly enable them. Firewall software is usually also small and carefully written, so that the incidence of security loopholes in the software is vastly lower than a complex computer operating system that has to do many other things as well as guard the door.
When looking for DSL, it is well to ask the type of equipment that is available for it. You should judge whether you need a firewall and whether the equipment on offer will support the security you need. Hint: if you are going to keep anything on your computers that you care about, then do not consider default security of just a computer attached to a DSL modem. The chance of getting hacked is very low, but, that is not because it is hard, it is because there are not enough bad guys around at the moment to handle the explosion of connected PCs.
Often DSL equipment choices include some kind of combined router/hub/firewall, for example the Netopia 7100C, used with Copper Mountain DSL CO equipment, has a fairly complete firewall capability.
The Cisco 675, another popular choice, does not include any firewall capability.
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