Damien Mulley interviewed me a while back regarding security issues that users still using dial-up access to the Internet typically face. Damien has now published the article on his blog.
Dial up users do face the challenge of having to download myriads of software patches and signatures for anti-virus and anti-spyware software. In many cases the time taken to download these updates is so long that some users abandon the process thus leaving their machines more vulnerable to attack. Dial up users are also susceptible to being victim of rogue dialers. This is where the victims Internet settings are configured without their permissions to either dial up the Internet via premium rate lines or to redirect the victims to undesirable Internet sites.
Of course moving to broadband is not the panacea to the problem. Users still need to ensure that their systems are fully patched, their security software up to date and their firewall systems active (and yes this goes for all you non-Wintel users as well – remember there is no such thing as 100% security). As these systems are usually always-on connected to the Internet they provide a perfect target for criminals wanting to recruit more machines into their botnets. It comes as no surprise that countries with higher broadband penetration also have higher rates of botnet infections.
I have to tip my hat to Damien as he is the first commentator in the broadband debate to bring security to the fore as an issue. Other commentators have focused on the need for better, faster and more reliable broadband services with security of systems and the users being left as a distant afterthought.
Lets hope that those users still on dial-up will be take heed of the security issues they may face when moving to the world of broadband.
If you need some resources to help secure home PCs then head on over to the government security awareness website, makeITsecure, or check out our previous home help post.