Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is Obsolescence Good Computer Security?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the you'd-have-to-step-into-the-present-eventually dept.

Security 490

caesar-auf-nihil asks: "I was recently considering a switch from dial-up to something faster (either cable or DSL) but my friend recommended against it since he said I was more secure staying with Dial-Up. His argument was that my connection's slowness and 'not always on' connection gave me better security since I was less of a target for many security threats. Now, I have never gotten infected, nor do I believe my machine is infested with spyware and/or controlling programs as it runs fine, but I wonder if the obsolescence argument is really good or not. Does Dial-Up really protect you or is this a false sense of security and I should just go ahead and pick a faster service and make sure my firewall is a good one and my virus definitions are always up to date?"

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oh dear god what a stupid idea/concept (0, Offtopic)

Paris The Pirate (799954) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528461)

Slashdot reaches a new low :(

Re:Oh dear god what a stupid idea/concept (4, Insightful)

heavy snowfall (847023) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528519)

Let's take the question seriously for a moment, for fun.

Is there an argument for this? No.

You can simply unplug your net cable at night. So why be stuck with an expensive slow connection?

I think this ask slashdot question was a trolling experiment. :)

Re:Oh dear god what a stupid idea/concept (0, Offtopic)

pythas (75383) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528741)

Why did this get rated down? This really is a stupid, stupid question.

Dial-up does not make you more secure (4, Insightful)

darkpurpleblob (180550) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528468)

It sounds like your friend is advocating a type of security through obscurity [] to me. Being on dial-up won't protect you. You should be using a firewall and have up to date virus definitions regardless of your type of connection to the internet.

Re:Dial-up does not make you more secure (5, Insightful)

stevey (64018) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528556)

Being on dial-up won't protect you

Being on dial-up might even be worse for your security, since most people who have only dial-up will ignore security updates. (Predictably enough, downloading large patches is more troublesome when you have a slow and infrequent network connection)

Re:Dial-up does not make you more secure (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528673)

yeah...what he said

Re:Dial-up does not make you more secure (3, Funny)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528723)

Not to mention you can't exactly throw a Linksys router (hardware firewall) inbetween you and the wall when you are on dialup.
This is about like having sex without a condom and thinking 'well she is a little slow, so she probably doesn't have any diseases.'

Re:Dial-up does not make you more secure (5, Insightful)

rideaurocks (840805) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528560)

You really have to think about the vectors of infection. With dial up you're less likely to be infected by a probe of your computer that's scanning for a vulnerability since, as you said, it's not an always-on connection.

But is that really how you get virii & spyware? I think not. The same access points are still there. A website that installs spyware thu activex doesn't care that you're on dial up. The trojan in the warez you (patiently) downloaded doesn't care either. Accessing the Internet puts you at risk. Thinking that a slow connection is the sole determinant of your value is naieve.

Re:Dial-up does not make you more secure (1)

r00b (923145) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528613)

when my sister would use my windows pc over dial up she would fill it with spyware. Now I only use linux and have a broadband connection and no spyware.

Can someone tell me how I can share my internet connection on my gentoo box with other computers?

Re:Dial-up does not make you more secure (1)

Bradee-oh! (459922) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528694)

Do you have two network adapters in the Gentoo box? If so, piece of cake [] (as far as all things Gentoo, go).

Re:Dial-up does not make you more secure (2, Informative)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528704)

Generally speaking, sharing any connection is best achieved with an external router and not via a computer. That way if your Gentoo machine falls over or you need to reboot, it won't take out the connection for everyone else. YMMV.

Yikes (5, Insightful)

denissmith (31123) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528469)

Not connecting to the Internet at all is even safer than dial up, and not even having a computer practically guarantees that you won't get spyware and malware. And what good is that? Your friend's advice is ludicrous. Use proper security. Don't cruise the net as root, or the admin user on a windows box. If you have to use Windows as your OS get a real firewall product, hardware even better than software, don't run unnecessary services, don't use IE unless its for the MS site itself. Don't use Outlook. Keep your system patched. Avoid sites like the free game and pr0n sites that are forever infesting computers. Get a useful book on security. Keep proper backups so that you can recover if all else fails, then relax and enjoy the experience. The time you'll save will pay for most of your outlays.

Re:Yikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528620)

Use a router for the firewall. Software firewalls are junk that cause more headaches than they're worth. Use a smaller market share browser (e.g. Firefox/Opera) whenever possible, and the same for email clients.

Finally have the habit of never clicking on anything. Years (13) have gone by and I've yet to encounter a single virus or any real spyware on my machines. Of course I don't accept attachments at all and never click anywhere near a pop-up.

Re:Yikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528656)

And the number of friends you have must be approching 0.

Re:Yikes (3, Informative)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528659)

"Don't cruise the net as root, or the admin user on a windows box. If you have to use Windows as your OS get a real firewall product, hardware even better than software, don't run unnecessary services, don't use IE unless its for the MS site itself. Don't use Outlook. Keep your system patched. Avoid sites like the free game and pr0n sites that are forever infesting computers. Get a useful book on security. Keep proper backups so that you can recover if all else fails"

Dude, wow, wow, wow... Is all this supposed to make him switch to broadband with an easier mind?

You don't need to freak him out. All this can be said in a much simpler fashion:

- Leave autoupdates on your windows ON, it'll take care of itself
- Download and install : ZoneAlarm for your firewall, and AVG Free for antivirus. Both free, user friendly and do their job.
- Download and install Firefox for your browsing needs.

And dial-up is indeed fake sense of security, so there.


Not true (5, Informative)

republican gourd (879711) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528473)

Its only true in the way that you will be mugged less if you walk naked down one back alley every night instead of twenty. Go ahead and get the faster connection, and get a hardware device (nat box at least, a real firewall would be better though) between you and your uplink line, and you'll be better off than you were before. You can't do that (using common hardware) with your modem in the first place.

Re:Not true (5, Funny)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528591)

How exactly are you going ot be mugged if you're naked?

"Give me your wallet!"

"What wallet?"

Err.. (1)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528477)

Why would you be less secure with broadband? I mean, you typically get an external IP with dial up, and if you havent been infected yet, why would become infected if you get a broadband connection with NAT? You seem to have your client security sorted out, I'd say go for it.

Go with broadband. (1, Informative)

Slaytanic213 (800148) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528482)

Go with broadband.
You have a stupid friend.

If you want true security... (1, Informative)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528484)

why not ditch your computer entirely, you can communicate via telegraph and morse code. Or better yet, do everyone a favor, and cease all communication altogether, and leave us the hell alone with this nonsense. My god, what the hell has happened to /.?

Errr no (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528487)

Being on the internet by itself is not a security hazard. Doing something stupid or using an insecure operating system/browser (cue IE/Windows jokes here) is insecure.

I use my router on my broadband connection as a firewall - works great. Even in Windows I have no problems.

Simple answer, no (4, Informative)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528489)

No, is the simple answer.

You could get hit by a worm just as easily - they attack by IP address and are indescriminate about where they attack - they don't care how fast your connection is.

As for spyware and the rest, if you're using a slower net then probability is that you'll browse less and be subjected to less risk, but in general the argument used is complete and utter rubbish - there's no additional security to be gained by dialup.


You're not thinking big enough! (4, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528490)

Why go for slightly better security when you can go all the way?!
Forget dial-up. Hand floppies to your friends with instructions on what web pages you'd like to browse. They will return the floppies to you with the pages. You will be extremely secure from viruses... much better than dial-up. Think of it like Netflix for the web.

Well (1)

wirah (707347) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528492)

You'll get the same viruses, slower. Viruses are not large files.

network security (1)

EngMedic (604629) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528495)

you should make sure you have a good firewall and your virus defs. are up to date simply as a Matter Of Course. That, or buy a Mac/install Linux. ( in which case you should still have a good firewall)

Wha? (1, Flamebait)

jfroot (455025) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528496)

Let me get this straight; you read Slashdot, but are still on dial-up? That's unpossible.

Re:Wha? (1)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528605)

yeah, this is kind of a weird place to be reading this kind of misguided question - almost like ' oh, here's a good story for the slashdotians to wax sage and feel good about themselves'. wacky.

Re:Wha? (1)

Crizp (216129) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528607)

Lol, until I got DSL again three months ago, I browsed slashdot via cell-phone dial-up (9600 Kbps baby!) and later via GPRS on the same phone (38400 Kbps baby).

I thanked His Holyness The FSM that Slashdot is mostly text :)

Re:Wha? (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528677)

Let me get this straight; you read Slashdot, but are still on dial-up? That's unpossible.

Whatever do you mean? It's a perfectly cromulent choice.

Your friend is a moron. (1)

timshea (257474) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528497)

His argument was that my connection's slowness and 'not always on' connection gave me better security since I was less of a target for many security threats.

See post subject

Does Dial-Up really protect you


or is this a false sense of security and I should just go ahead and pick a faster service

Yes and yes

and make sure my firewall is a good one and my virus definitions are always up to date?


Also, make sure you are behind a router using NAT so that your computer won't be directly accessable from the outside world.

Re:Your friend is a moron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528530)

Its frickin 2006! Anyone still on dialup IS A MORON .

Odd Question (5, Interesting)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528499)

Not quite sure how this question made its way to slashdot, since it seems sort of self-explanatory, but I suppose we can elaborate.

In short, I suppose you would be more secure on dial-up. Less data moving around, less access to situations which may be a threat, less up-time, etc.

That being said, most of the world is already using an always-on connection, and the vast majority of them manage just fine. It's not a daunting task to configure a setup that will secure your home computer to a suitable degree. Just your ordinary broadband router should include a firewall that should be sufficient, and the Windows firewall is also likely sufficient.

If you aren't an expert on setting up your network, then just find one of your more tech-savvy friends (not the one that told you to stay on dialup!) and have them check your router/firewall configuration. There are also websites you can visit (Symantec?) that will perform a check on various ports for basic vulnerabilities.

I think.... (2, Informative)

fean (212516) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528501)

That your friend is on the same cable node, and he wants all of the pr0n bandwidth for himself...

Buy a router, your computer will have the SAME security it would have through dialup....

you'll still have to deal with viruses and backdoors from emails, malware, etc,

You protect others (2, Interesting)

TheCarlMau (850437) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528503)

In my opinion, the only thing that you are doing is protecting others. Your computer will probably not become a spam zombie, because transmitting outgoing data would be painfully slow (ie: spamming one address every 5 minutes). While you may be somewhat immune from other viruses, the trade-off of higher speeds is worth it.

BS (2, Insightful)

dcapel (913969) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528507)

That's equivalent to saying if you never leave your house you won't get mugged. Sure, its probably true, but if you take the proper cautions, you will probably avoid getting mugged, and, more importantly, you don't let fear control your life.

How can you not have spyware? (4, Insightful)

mldkfa (689415) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528512)

Do you know for a fact that you don't have spyware? I have seen many dialup connected computer with spyware and they didn't even know it. Broadband is better. Everyone can be secure if they just follow a few simple rules to surfing the web.

1) Don't download things unless you know what they do.
2) Get rid of IE
3) have a good virus scanner/spyware scanner

Staying on dialup is like saying that a bike is more reliable and therefore better than a car. Cars might break down every once in a while but if you need to get somewhere they're much better than bikes.

Re:How can you not have spyware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528583)

Quit dissing bikes, man! Bikes are cool, if you know what you're doing.

Dial Up much more secure... (4, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528513)

Its much more secure if you personally just dialup and squark and squeek at the handset processing all of the information yourself, you can't do this with DSL because its a digitial line so you can't hear what it is saying properly. Personally this form of internet communication, while a little slow (around 2 baud) has never resulted in any security problems.

In summary

Your friend is a muppet, probably Fozzy, potentially Gonzo.

Still at risk (2, Interesting)

origin2k (302035) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528517)

Just ask my neighbor who uses dial-up. I had to spend hours cleaning all the spyware and virus's on their computer system. If you are connected in any way you need to take the same precautions.

Dialup being more secure is a myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528518)

With most DSL connections, your computer will be behind NAT, which adds security from worms such as MS Blaster. Same with cable, if you use a router.

Broadband Plus OS X (3, Insightful)

MadMacSkillz (648319) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528522)

Broadband + OS X = Problem Solved. Oh NO, someone will mod my post DOWN and it will hurt my KARMA! Oh dear! Now I'll need to sleep with a nightlight.

Re:Broadband Plus OS X (3, Insightful)

ninja_assault_kitten (883141) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528559)

Broadband + = Problem Solved

Speaking as a Mac user and security researcher, your post is completely retarded.

1) OSX is no more or less inherently secure than Windows.
2) It's currently far more profitable for me to discover a flaw in MS than it is in OSX. Almost 10x more actually.

dial-up: the dry humping of internet connections? (2, Funny)

jazzman45 (86593) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528529)

I don't think so. You'd better slip a giant condom over your whole computer one way or the other. Sticking it in (to the wall) is going to put you at risk of infection either way. Only complete abstinance will work 100% of the time. Jusk ask ol' bushy.

You're just not as tempting a target ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528537)

but you'll still get attacked. I helped my brother set up a new system a year or so ago. We installed AV and ZoneAlarm on his system BEFORE I let him dial out to his ISP. In the first 5 minutes he had been probed nearly 20-30 times (it was a year ago). Automated attacks really don't care what your connection is and they can be very patient.

Rubish. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528538)

The only advantage that dialup will give you when it comes to security is that you'll probably notice the speed dip as you receiving the malware/worm. As for all the advice about using 'a good firewall' and 'up to date virus scanner' - I wouldn't put too much faith in either of those. imho those things tend to provide a false sense of security and may even help promote risky net activities.

Awareness, vigilence, and knowing that installing activex controls for a serial number seem more important to me.

Dial-up for security... don't count on it (2, Informative)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528544)

I've had my computer get infected while downloading security updates over dial-up after a fresh installation of XP. I should have downloaded all the updates, or SP2 at the very least, from work and brought them home to install them.

One problem with dial-up is that you probably won't have a hardware firewall/router between your computer and the internet. Many folks with broadband access have some type of a router with a firewall/NAT built-in. Not everyone does, but some do, especially people with wireless setups, although that introduces its own security troubles.

The point is, if you think about security (which means you have to be aware of all the types of security threats to begin with, not just focusing on one or two that your friend told you about), you'll be able to take proactive steps to make your computer(s) more or less secure. Otherwise, you're leaving yourself open to becoming a zombie just as much as the other millions of computer users out there.

No, with a but. (1) troll (593289) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528545)

Everyones covered the no aspect, but there is one thing I miss about dialup: I could see if my connection was being accessed, and if my RX or TX light went solid and I wasn't using my connection, I could just flip a switch and stop whatever was happening.

Really though, broadband is worth far more than that minor feature, even if now all I have is a useless 'data' light thats constantly lit or blinking.

Re:No, with a but. (1)

Servo (9177) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528609)

A lot of cable/dsl modems have regular RX/TX lights, so that's pretty much a moot point.

Buy a Mac (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528546)

Buy a Macintosh. You won't be a target for most of the threats out there, but you can still have dial-up. Same logic.

I agree with everyone else here. That may be technically true, but it's stupid. All you need is a firewall and a little common sense and you are practically invulnerable to most of the attacks out there.

Get broadband. Get a firewall. Enjoy.

Bin the dial-up (4, Insightful)

Jaknet (944488) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528550)

I fully agree with all the above advice and my 2p's (uk) worth is that at times you can be safer on broadband instead of dial-up. For example if you have a cable modem (dont know how it works on adsl so keeping quiet)then you have NO risk of some dodgy dialler software getting in and changing your dial-up number to a premium rate number because it's not connected to the phone line at all !!!

Enjoy the speed and "almost" always on. broadband

Re:Bin the dial-up (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528710)

ADSL is an "always on" connection and doesn't dial. For most if not all purposes consider it as being about the same as cable. As you say, a dialer won't be able to do anything unless you have the regular modem connected on either dsl or cable.

Wrong type of obscurity (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528551)

All those viruses and exploits use OS-specific techniques. So if you want real security through obscurity, get it by browsing the web using an OS no virus-writer has ever heard of, let alone would be tempted to spend time writing a virus for. I might have a copy of BeOS 4.5 around still if you'd like to use it... ;^)

Re:Wrong type of obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528716)

Clever to offer your pre-trojaned OS!!!

Mod Article Troll? (1)

Anakron (899671) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528552)

Anybody else think the article writer is simply trolling? What kind of question is that to ask here?

upgrade (2, Informative)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528553)

upgrade to faster connection, switch to kubuntu [] (free AND secure), or anything else equally secure [] .

If you need (unsecure) windows for anything, use vmware player [] (free), or wine [] (free), or if you need to play games with 3D acceleration then cedega [] (nonfree).

Remember about [] for office work, [] for drawing, [] for burning DVDs... and the list goes on and on.

ps: I've got some karma to burn, so here I'm whoring ;)

AOL and MSN (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528554)

After all these years of AOL and MSN dial-up users infecting and spamming all over the web, and ppl are even wondering about this? I think that is plain scarey the lack of logic and history that we seem to have.

Your friend is suspect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528557)

He just doesn't want you to enjoy the plentiful porn, music, and movies available with broadband. Tell him to fuck off and stay out of your future "pirating". BTW, is he employed by the RIAA/MPAA? Only a RIAA/MPAA stooge would recommend staying away from broadband.

Absurd suggestion... (1) (579491) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528565)

I currently own a large army tank. I want to buy a fast car to race. I mention this to a friend, and he says, "why would you want to get a fast car to race? Don't you know fast race cars are dangerous? You'd be much better off sticking with your tank, it's slow, but it's safe!"

While this *might* be true, it does nothing to solve my desire to drive a fast race car.

I would assume the reason you'd go with broadband is because you want a FASTER connection. It can be argued that it's less safe, but it's undeniably faster, which is your goal.

Statistically, you might be more open to an attack directed at your computer since the connection is "always on," but this is rare and easy to stop, in fact all the security measures you would want to take with broadband should already be in place because you face similar, if not the same risks with dial-up.

Pretty dumb infosec tips, time for a list? (2, Insightful)

twigles (756194) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528567)

Ok, I'm sick of seeing crappy advice confusing newcomers and normies. Here are some stupid tips to avoid taking seriously. I'll start it with this one.

1 - dumb. Use dial-up instead of Cable or DSL because being connected to the internet all the time is a security risk.
1 - smart. Go get Cable or DSL, your life will improve (barring bad service). If you want to nullify the increased threat from being constantly online, buy a router that does NAT for you. Now you aren't always connected, your router is, and it's providing statefull firewalling for you.

2 - dumb. Never run anything you want secure on Windows. Use Linux, or even better OpenBSD.
2 - smart. OpenBSD rocks on security, but if you have no bloody idea how to use it you'll do something dumb that will compromise security or, more likely, uptime. Use the OS you know how to configure, and learn how to configure is securely and properly. You can research new OSs from your now-secure platform.

Please, kind readers, add to this list.

Re:Pretty dumb infosec tips, time for a list? (2, Insightful)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528644)

3 - dumb. I'm totally secure because I have the latest patches, a firewall (two even!) and updated antivirus. And instead of using [IE|Windows], I use [Mac|Linux|*BSD|Firefox]
3 - smart. Modifying your habits, educating and empowering yourself (even just a little) will help. Having the right tools is only half of it.

    I've seen all too often people get confused by the fact they have tons of spyware/viruses/trojans on their system, yet have *no idea* how they got there. Yet when you dig deeper, you see twelve different filesharing programs, virus software updated (but disabled) and 258 porn sites in their history (from yesterday alone) where they clicked the banner that said "click here to get naked bodies for free!".

    People will often do on the internet what they won't do "in real life" because there's this false sense of obscurity, anonymnity and privacy. This equates to poor habits and poor security. There are places to get the things you're looking for without having to install viruses to get them. In reality, you wouldn't buy a car from a dealership none of your friends has ever heard of, out in the middle of nowhere, that you came across by chance, and had to give your singature fifty times... why is the Internet any different?

Your answer is No. (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528568)

No, you're not safer on dialup just because it's slow. Your friend's logic is marred. Now one could argue, if I was a bad guy and wanted to hack you, (because I wanted your resources), I might swear a bit if I was successful and found out you were on dialup. There goes one resource I wanted (bandwidth) and lack of others (static IP, always on connection) is detrimental. But most (or at least many) threats nowawdays are automatic. And they don't care what type of connection you are on.

  I work for an ISP (won't say which one) but the majority of our abuse complaints are from home dialup users. Granted there's thousands of them, and probably thousands more than any other type of connection, so the stats speak for themselves.

But in a nutshell, no... you're not more secure because you have a dialup. You're not more secure if you have a small-name ISP (or large name for that matter), or if you live out in the middle of nowhere, or if you use a different OS or if you don't use english as your primary language.

Security is a state of mind. There's not one contributing factor that trumps the "majority" of security threats.

Broadband 1 / Dial-up 5 (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528573)

In my moderately limited experience ridding computers of spyware, adware, viruses, etc, I have had to work on 1 machine hooked to a broadband internet connection, and 5 without. So, really, you should get broadband, it's MORE safe!

Seriously, if my data proves anything, it's that it's not the connection, but the connector. If you haven't gotten viruses on dialup, you'll likely not get them on broadband.

No Offense (1)

Jozer99 (693146) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528579)

No offense, but your friend is stupid. Hackers don't check to see how long you are on when they try and get into your system, the only security that Dialup provides is that hackers can't hack into your system when you are not connected. A good hardware firewall and a software firewall, along with good security practices will MORE than makeup for the security of dialup (mostly a false security). Plus, you get blazing internet transfer speedsa and much lower latency than dialup.

Conditional. (1)

Irvu (248207) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528580)

I would argue that your friend might be right, sometimes. It seems to me that sticking with old hardware, connections, etc. can work if a) the tool works for you, and b) the tool didn't become obsolete due to some inherent security flaw.

IMHO the argument should really be phrased as: If you don't need it, don't open yourself to security holes. If you run a PC don't run servers (or an OS that runs them without your consent) unless you need to. If you don't need always-on connections then don't get it. I find that many people, and companies, open themselves up to security holes because they buy new "upgrades" when they don't need them.

For that matter there is another benefit that you didn't mention: power. If you don't keep your connection, and pc up all the time that saves a lot of power. Unless your PC is actually doing something (running servers, crunching numbers) then you should just turn it off. You'll probably pay a lot less each month for it, and Mother Earth will love you more. I personally unplug my TV and Radio when I'm not using them as they still use a lot of power in "sleep mode". When I started doing that my power bill nearly halved.

Does this person drive a car? (1)

holden caufield (111364) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528587)

Do they think driving their car dramatically slower than the average driver is safer? Do they think that driving less will prevent them from being hit when pulling out of the driveway? Do they know enough to open the garage door when the car is running so they won't die of CO poisoning?

I think your friend considers ignorance to be a security shield. Unfortunately it's not.

Malware not connection aware (1)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528589)

The baddies on the net are not aware of your connection speed; malware does not discriminate nor does it 'prefer' faster connections. Besides, only a few bad K need to break in and you're finished.

So considering the above, no, being on a slower connection effectively profides no extra protection. So continue your good security habits, get broadband, and buy router.

Dial-up isn't any safer. (1)

GreyKnight (545843) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528597)

Nope. Back in the good old Win98 days, I picked up a worm over dialup. Reducing your connectivity to improve security is like trying to avoid traffic accidents by driving only one day a week. Plus, the false sense of security might just make you *more* vulnerable. Besides, you can generate a similar effect by just unplugging your network cable when you're not online.

On the other hand, using obsolete *hardware* would probably help with security; I think it would be harder to hack a computer that isn't binary compatible with anything made in the past ten years. Of course, then you have a whole different set of problems....

I'd say you're less protected (1)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528600)

For one thing, you'll likely have a "first line" of defence in a NAT router if you go broadband.

Pre SP2, I ran kerio firewall. The few times I had to connect to dialup (traveling for work, no hotel broadband) I got hundreds of "pokes" each hour for various exploits. I was suprised as, being used to being behind NAT, I hadn't even SEEN the "incoming bad connection" popup box for kerio before!

Dial up hijacking (5, Insightful)

Mr.Ziggy (536666) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528604)

You do have a risk that none of us on broadband have: Dial-up Hijacking. Malware on your computer changes your dial-up settings in Windows, and you end up dialing to a pay number in another country, and VERY expensive. Many people don't notice it, until you get your phone bill. You don't hear about dialers as much now, but they're still out there. Am I just showing my age? ijacking.htm []

Quality of Life issue (1)

tfinniga (555989) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528615)

A wise friend of mine once said that in his experience, his quality of life was directly correlated with the speed of his internet connection. When he was on dialup, life was very, very bad.

Slashdot (0, Offtopic)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528618)

News for computer illiterate grandmothers.


Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528619)

Bzzz. Sorry he/she fails.

The type of problem that having a not always on connection would help with is a remote attack.

A Broadband connection with a hardware router/firewall is much more secure against this type of attack. You are basically hoping that you win a Russian Roulette if you are hoping not to catch a worm by using dial up.

With a few of the more recent worms I have known more people with dial up to catch them then broadband users due to the fact that the broadband users had a hardware firewall (I don't set much stock in software firewalls, especially on Windows systems).

Get a broadband connection, and get a router/firewall box from any reputable manufacturer, and keep your system up to date. That is the best prevention, plus you get all the advantages of a broadband connection (always on, speed, etc)

Not at all.. (1)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528621)

Some of the worst malware cleanup jobs I've had were machines that connected via dialup. As others have already pointed out, if you have a broadband connection via a router, you at least have an incoming firewall. I'd never put a Windows machine on a dialup connection without a software firewall. Viruses, trojans, worms and adware will get you via stupidity whether you have a firewall or not.

No (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528624)

This is a stupid idea. If you're running Windows, you should be using XPSP2 with the firewall turned on and all critical updates installed; if you're running something else, make sure you know exactly which services are open to the outside world, and keep on top of the security updates however that's normally done for your OS/distro.

If you're on DSL or cable, you may also want to use a router that does NAT.

In other good advice .... (2, Funny)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528627)

Tell your friend to buy a Sherman Tank and drive it to work so he'll be less affected by traffic accidents. It goes slower, is harder to dent so has great security. All other things aside, this is the ultimate way to get to work.

Re:In other good advice .... (2, Informative)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528669)

BTW on the serious side, I've been sitting on an always-on DSL connection since 1999 (two computers on it). That's 2005 - 1999 = 6 years * 365 days = 2190 days (okay, maybe minus a day or two for accumulated brief power outages) and I have *never* had a problem with being infected or comprised. Yes, I have been attacked ... they just have never got in! The secret for me has been a hardware firewall/router in front of my computer + relatively long cryptic passwords on the router and Windwos + also keeping my Windows software firewall turned on + keeping updated automatically with latest patches. The math is simple. High speed is worth it. Do it and leave your dial-up friend in the dust.

Re:In other good advice .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528703)

Oh yes, and also keep backups of your important data regularily whether it be written to a CD, DVD, USB key, external HD, remote/offsite backup solution, zipped/PGP encrypted and as an file attachment in your Gmail account, etc etc. The options are endless. If you do get compromised wipe everythin,g spend a day installing and configuring your system, stay as protected as you can, and keep going. Fear is not a good reason to stay on dialup, just like fear's not a good reason to go on vacation (because of flying). ... AND THEN challenge your friend to a duel on your favourite online shot-em-up video game Hahahahahaahh

Yeah it totally works (4, Funny)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528629)

But you can't stop with just dialup. You have to use MSDOS 2.0, and get yourself a good ansi term program to connect to a dialup that gives you telnet, ftp, nn, lynx, pine, etc. Use a 300 baud modem for maximum attack-throttling also.

Utter hogwash..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#14528631)

Security has nothing to do with the fact that your connection is slow and not always on. Even the simplest of firewalls can make sure that someone cannot hack your PC even if you have an always-on connection.

The way PC gets hacked/infected today has completely changed. There are two main reasons you get hacked....

First, you visit a website that is malicious and it tries to exploit a vulnerability in your web browser.

Second, you download some free software that has spyware bundled in.

So, dial-up does not give you any additional security. In fact, once you get infected, it will become almost impossible for you to connect to the internet because the precious little bandwidth you have will be sucked by spyware/adware.

If you want security while web surfing....try this. 8022_4-10491730.html?tag=lst-0-1 []

From experience (1)

radiotyler (819474) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528638)

Spyware / Adware / Malware stuff is pretty easy to deal with. Check out some of this stuff: it's free, clean and won't trash your computer.
Spybot Search and Destroy. []
AdAware []
MS Anti-Spyware []

Keeping your OS up to date definitely will help out, and being smart about what you download from who and where. Most people infect themselves, and don't know it because of all of the shady software downloads out there. A good hardware or software firewall solution is easy enough to come by for cheap or free depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it. It's up to you as a user to protect yourself so study up.

Now, who's going to be the first to crack the "But Windows is malware" joke?

Well, accidents happen, but... (1)

Apotekaren (904220) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528640)

Well, it's like getting a better car that you use more often, but with better security features. Yes, you'll be faster, and run a higher chance of accidents, but the damage is minor(if you get a proper firewall/AV) and you'll be glad you did it.

And it's not like you keep the computer on 24/7. And you won't be tricked by those old-school dial-up porn frauds. Pesky bastards.

Hard to download patches (1)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528641)

It's hard to download security patches on a slow connection. So you'll be less secure with dial-up.

More insecure (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528648)

In most cases (here in norway atleast) you usually get a broadband router, which actually makes a firewall for incoming connections. Don't know about other countries though, but atleast in those cases a dsl line would be MORE secure than a dialup/isdn connection... (Yes there are routers for modem/isdn too, but those are less common)

lol, i fixt my share of dial-up boxes (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528653)

i had to deal with many malware cleanups
dialup and cable
why is cable always on? never switch off computers? electricity? energy? aaahh, i get it -> iraq

It's the exact opposite... (1)

macserv (701681) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528670)

You should use the most modern operating systems and applications, designed with security in mind, with the simplest methods of receiving, downloading, and installing updates. Good systems and software are built that way; you get what you pay for.

Oh for pity's sake (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528675)

Get a cable modem and put a router on the inner link set up to do NAT (they come that way out of the box usually, with a 192.* or 10.* network on the inner side).

Anyone sniffing will get nowhere, and you can get out to the internet without any hassle.

I've always had this setup and never once had any of the problems my neighbors get.

Serious point... (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528679)

Some of the worst security I have seen is with computers that only have dial-up.

Why? It take the users much much much too much time to download the security patches the need. Grabbing something like XP SP 2 is going to take goodness knows how many hours.

So they don't bother. So they get compromised.

Sure it does... (1)

thomasa (17495) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528680)

Sure it does. My word processor has never had a virus:
Never! []

Dialup is NOT safer (1)

SecureTheNet (915798) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528681)

I'll chime in here along with everyone else. Dialup is definetly not safer. I've diagnosed and removed malware off numerous friends and family computers, and two of the worst I've seen were using dialup. One of them was a pentium 4 2ghz and it just CRAWLED like a pentium or something. It would take forever to boot, and once it did you couldn't even access the start menu. It would pop up but you couldn't choose anything off it, and if you clicked on the desktop, the start menu would still be on the screen after trying to close it. It was totally unusable, and I had to wipe the box and reinstall.

Nonsense (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528682)

No being "always on" isn't security it's just reducing your chances of being hit. Not to mention lots of malware comes by mail or when you visit a questionable website.

Your friend's advise is nonsense.

If your system is secure, you won't get anything bad, no matter how long you are online. If your system is insecure, you'll sooner or later get it, and the only thing you do by not being "always on" is pushing it towards later.

Sure is! (1)

neoevans (179332) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528683)

In the same way that walking everywhere is safer than driving. Sure, you might bump into someone, or maybe get mugged on your way but the chances of you dying are a lot less...

Considering much of the issues surrounding personal computers and security stem from "where" people go on the Internet, such as phishing sites, questionable links promising to improve your browsing experience or give you something for free, etc... I don't think it matters whether you are in high-speed or not. Okay, you could argue that people scan the Internet for open ports on always-on home networks, but how do you think those ports got opened? It is usually from something that made it's way onto your machine either by way of major security flaw, or more likely something you allowed to get there by one of the above mentioned means.

I have seen the result of PCs that were hijacked for illicit purposes, such as password grabbing. My worksplace was targetted by those machines, and used to access accounts that didn't belong to the people who's machines were sending the traffic. And when we traced back to the source machines in many cases the IP address that had attacked us was from dialup ISPs. I would say more than 25%, but I am speaking of a handful of incidents and that wouldn't be a very reliable statistic. It was still a fair number.

So in my opinion, it doesn't matter. Don't limit yourself to snail-surfing because someone you know has a bad feeling about high speed. If you really want to be secure, simply disconnect altogether, and bury the thing about 6-feet in the ground. That, or don't click on the dancing monkey who promises you a prize... ;-)

That's a flawed argument (2, Insightful)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528685)

That's like saying that if you don't drive a car, you won't have as many accidents as you would if you just ride a horse-drawn wagon and stay off of any road where cars might be. It's true that you're much less likely to be hurt that way, but you miss out on the benefits that make having a car (or some form of faster transportation) worthwhile. In the same way, you might not be "always on" to be attacked through your broadband connection, but you lose all of the benefits that come with having a high-speed connection. So unless you do nothing except text e-mail, the benefits of broadband should outweigh the risks, especially if you're smart enough to take simple precautions. Just nothing except my Mac's built-in firewall, I've never had any issues, and I've been on broadband for years.


Crack my CPC-464! (4, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528686)

No-one's gonna be able to hack into my old Amstrad, ha-ha-ha! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, you OpenBSD pretenders!

Low bandwidth denial of service attacks (2, Interesting)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528689)

Low Bandwidth Denial of Service attacks do exist. They've been mentioned on slashdot [] before. That link mentions a new type of attack. I'm not sure of its effectiveness now.

Thing about this for a second... (1)

ninja_assault_kitten (883141) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528699)

I'm not quite sure why I'm even bothering to respond, but I hate this posting and can't resist. It's like that stupid AOL commercial which says the same thing... "You're actually MORE at risk using Broadband".


Positives for Dialup:
    - If anything, is the fact that you don't typically stay online 24x7. And when you aren't online you're not going to be attacked. At least not remotely. (You can simulate on this Broadband by disabling your NIC when you're done.)
    - Malicious payloads take longer to download. :)

Negatives for Dialup:
    - Your machine is directly connected to the ISPs network. Inbound connections must be controlled through a host-based firewall.
    - There's no DSL or cable modem NATing traffic and/or acting as a network firewall. I can't speak for all broadband providers, but Bellsouth DSL modems don't allow any inbound TCP/UDP connections by default.
    - If your machine is compromised, due to the fact there's no NATing/firewall device in front of your machine, the attacker doesn't need to rely on a reverse shell, they can connect as they like.

In the end, there's nothing inherently more secure about dialup.

That's stupid. (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528702)

First of all, this argument is wrong, as so many other Slashdotters have pointed out. Second, unless you're doing something mission-critical, I'd rather have a broadband connection with spyware than a dial-up connection without.

Pointless article :P (1)

scwizard (941758) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528714)

Why is an article like this on slashdot anyway? Everyone knows that slashdot users are immune to spyware, adware, popup ads, spam, worms, hoaxes and virus.

If it`s that bad... (1)

Silas is back (765580) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528721)

If it`s that bad that you Windows-Users don`t switch to a broadband-connection for security reasons, I definitely recommend using another Operating System, like others already proposed.

I mean, come on, that can`t be the way to go, now can it??

It's all AOL's fault! (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528732)

Those damn AOL commercials that say broadband makes you more succeptible are perpertuating this myth.

Grammar Nazi (1)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 7 years ago | (#14528733)

Does Dial-Up really protect you or is this a false sense of security and I should just go ahead and pick a faster service and make sure my firewall is a good one and my virus definitions are always up to date?

Holy run-on sentence batman!

seriously, editors??
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?