Protect yourself from hackers by shutting your modem off

by on May 4, 2010

Q: I have a Broadband Internet connection that uses a high speed modem connected to cable. I am wondering if turning off the cable modem will protect my computer from hackers when I am not using it.

A: If you turn off or disconnect your cable modem then there is no way for anyone to get to your computer over the Internet so you are protected. It seems like it makes more sense to turn off the computer though since there are some parts of the computer that only have a certain lifespan so by turning it off instead of the modem, or even as well as the modem, could possibly give you more life out of your computer

We should let you know that an idle computer with a live Internet connection isn’t much of a danger. Contrary to what you’ve seen in the movies a modern patched up computer can’t just be hacked into at will. You have to let them in the front door first.

To leave the front door open you would need to install a malicious piece software that gives hackers access to the system (spyware/malware/trojans/etc) or you need to go to a website designed to look like the bank you use (but isn’t) and you typing in your personal information (called phishing).

So while turning your Internet connection off at night will keep anything bad from happening while you sleep, it’s when your awake and using the computer that your computer is most at risk.

So:
– Keep your Operating System up to date
– Use a good Anti-Virus/ Anti-Spyware product like Microsoft’s Free Security Essentials
– Avoid downloading files from untrusted sources.
– If your nervous about a file, send it to http://www.virustotal.com/
– If you’re nervous about a product or service, google around, someone else has probably looked into it.

Common Sense and safe computing are your best weapons in keeping your computer safe.

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