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Why Shouldn't I Get Cable Internet Service?

Huntsman

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Seriously.

I am able to get cable internet service now, though it might not be bidirectional, and I am considering switching over. Are there any pitfalls, bad experiences, security risks, etc, in addition to the darn thing being on all the time? Can I shut it off? I run a 100Mbps home network on Cat5e, so I'll be installing a router, which should provide better security, right? I always thought that having a dynamic IP was better from a privacy standpoint, and with a router, it'll be fixed, which is worse in the department -- is this a correct asessment? Anything else anyone want to suggest?

Thanks,
Huntsman
 

j

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As opposed to what, dialup?

A router doesn't mean you'll have a static IP, but you can sign up for one if you want. Dynamic IPs only change every few weeks or when cable service goes down or changes IME, and I don't consider them much more or less secure. If you're running firewall software on all the computers, it's reasonably secure. Just be sure to change the default password on your router and don't open any ports unless you have a reason and are protecting them properly.

Really, the most danger is from malicious webpages and email spam, not from active intrusion attempts.
 

DNW

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Originally Posted by j
Really, the most danger is from malicious webpages and email spam, not from active intrusion attempts.

Ditto. Unless you work for Los Alamos National Laboratory, you're not a big enough fish to get some hacker's attention. Just run conventional firewall software on your computers and you'll be okay. The best security you can get is common sense.

I've been running a standard router/firewall/wireless ISDN/DSL/Cable setup for 10 years and have never been hacked. But then again, I'm a small fish in a big pond.
 

tiecollector

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Originally Posted by Huntsman
Seriously.

I am able to get cable internet service now, though it might not be bidirectional, and I am considering switching over.


Bidirectional? you mean symmetrical? They are all bidirectional. Static IPs are nice since you can have a home server and login to your computer from anywhere in the world. It has saved me numerous times, I don't use windoze though.

Dynamic is only nice if your IP is getting banned and you need a new one, otherwise it is a pain in the arse sometimes.

If you want security just get a router with an SPI firewall and you'll be all set. I had a server on a DMZ that got hacked in my home via an SSH backdoor, very annoying. Some intruder from Romania. Lost everything when he 0wnz0r3d me when I tried to engage in nerdwars.

Personally, these days I would just get whatever is cheaper. I wish I could get SBC for their 19.95/month. Instead I have Comcast, which is like 5x faster, but costs 59.95/month or so. You can usually upgrade to a business grade if you want the symmetric upload/download. Pretty useless though unless you are serving or pirating on bittorrent. It doesn't cost too much to do, you might need a business license, but those are easy to come by. All I did was go to city hall and made up a business name, filled out a form, and paid $12.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by tiecollector

If you want security just get a router with an SPI firewall and you'll be all set. I had a server on a DMZ that got hacked in my home via an SSH backdoor, very annoying. Some intruder from Romania. Lost everything when he 0wnz0r3d me when I tried to engage in nerdwars.


I'm sure huntsman has any idea what DMZ and SSH mean ;p

Anyways, I highly recommend high-speed, although i haven't had internet at home for a year, i'll probably get it when i move in to my new place since my office is going to be farther away. As for cable vs. dsl, there's not a whole lot of difference to the end user unless he's downloading a lot of pirated stuff or playing online games, for which certain DSL services get your better ping. Cable is generally faster but it depends on your cable company and neighborhood, but then so does dsl... i'm sure if you did a search you could find a site that compares the various services in your area by speed, upload/download caps, and price.

Btw, I don't know if you have a media server, but I highly recommend one, and if you do have or ever intend to purchase one, make sure you get a gigabit router. It makes everything a lot faster. A few months down the line (after I pay off all my other stuff) I'm going to build a multi-terabyte machine and rip all my DVDs to a hard drive on a media server and then use media center extenders in the living room, bedroom, and kitchen.
 

tiecollector

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DMZ = DeMilitarized Zone In other words, a part of your network that isn't guarded behind any firewall
BTW, media server is godly. I had all my comps on the LAN mapped to a hacked xbox via Samba. We could play any media file off anyone's computer in the apartment. It was incredible. I would seriously recommend the hacked xbox. You can rip games and play them, AND do all the stuff you can with a media center.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by tiecollector
DMZ = DeMilitarized Zone

In other words, a part of your network that isn't guarded behind any firewall



BTW, media server is godly. I had all my comps on the LAN mapped to a hacked xbox via Samba. We could play any media file off anyone's computer in the apartment. It was incredible.

I would seriously recommend the hacked xbox. You can rip games and play them, AND do all the stuff you can with a media center.


Actually the media center extender in my living room will probably be an xbox 360 or a really powerful gaming pc (in an htpc case) so that I can play on a huge HDTV screen (I'm thinking the new 52" 1080p sharp aquos). But for the bedroom and kitchen I'll probably get something as close to a thin client as possible, since something sleek with a small footprint is what i'll be after for those areas.
 

Huntsman

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See the best theing about posting on SF is that you're never short on information. So thanks, guys.

Yes, j, as opposed to really, really (as in tearing my hair out when half of my eBay searches timeout) slow dialup. 26.4 Kbps today, cause it's a GOOD DAY! I've never gotten nailed by a virus or adware, because I (tend to) stay in the nice parts of the Web, so it's good to know nothing's likely to change.

tiecollector, yes, symmetric vs. non symmetric. Kinda got distorted as not bidirectional on the cable in my warped mind. I can get either for the same price; the issue is if the system out here is up to spec for symmetric yet. I don't need to access my computer from anywhere, so that's nice to know about the IPs. And I've never pirated anything, so that isn't a need for me. (I might consider, just consider, mind you, the odd episode of TopGear). Router, SPI firewall, will do.

GQ, hey, I know what an SSH backdoor is, I'm not a total noob luser! (Just a partial noob luser, as DMZ in this context was new to me). The media server sounds like a nice idea -- I've used a desktop on the network to get audio into the good system so I don't have to swap discs, and use masses of cabling to have my PC serve as a DVR that can output to the big TV. Having a real HTPC and a server with several Tb available is mad cool -- remember when the early GB drives came out? When will we have petabytes? SO basically, yeah, I'll get the Gigabit router.

Anything else?

~ Huntsman
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by Huntsman
See the best theing about posting on SF is that you're never short on information. So thanks, guys.

Yes, j, as opposed to really, really (as in tearing my hair out when half of my eBay searches timeout) slow dialup. 26.4 Kbps today, cause it's a GOOD DAY! I've never gotten nailed by a virus or adware, because I (tend to) stay in the nice parts of the Web, so it's good to know nothing's likely to change.

tiecollector, yes, symmetric vs. non symmetric. Kinda got distorted as not bidirectional on the cable in my warped mind. I can get either for the same price; the issue is if the system out here is up to spec for symmetric yet. I don't need to access my computer from anywhere, so that's nice to know about the IPs. And I've never pirated anything, so that isn't a need for me. (I might consider, just consider, mind you, the odd episode of TopGear). Router, SPI firewall, will do.

GQ, hey, I know what an SSH backdoor is, I'm not a total noob luser! (Just a partial noob luser, as DMZ in this context was new to me). The media server sounds like a nice idea -- I've used a desktop on the network to get audio into the good system so I don't have to swap discs, and use masses of cabling to have my PC serve as a DVR that can output to the big TV. Having a real HTPC and a server with several Tb available is mad cool -- remember when the early GB drives came out? When will we have petabytes? SO basically, yeah, I'll get the Gigabit router.

Anything else?

~ Huntsman


Completely OT. But if you ever go the media pc route, there's a ton of really cool cases designed to match your stereo equipment, but you should choose your components carefully as you want to minimize noise.

I'm not sure if you're outputting to an HDTV, but if you are, or if you plan to in the future, make sure you have a video card that outputs DVI b/c then you can do 1:1 pixel mapping from your computer to your HDTV. I personally can not wait to play NFS on a 50"+ screen (still deciding between lcd and a projector). Oh and you'll probably want to make sure your vid card supports HDCP b/c not all of them will. blueray and hd/dvd drives will be a lot cheaper for the pc than if you buy them as standalone units.
 

tiecollector

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Originally Posted by GQgeek
Completely OT. But if you ever go the media pc route, there's a ton of really cool cases designed to match your stereo equipment, but you should choose your components carefully as you want to minimize noise.

I'm not sure if you're outputting to an HDTV, but if you are, or if you plan to in the future, make sure you have a video card that outputs DVI b/c then you can do 1:1 pixel mapping from your computer to your HDTV. I personally can not wait to play NFS on a 50"+ screen (still deciding between lcd and a projector). Oh and you'll probably want to make sure your vid card supports HDCP b/c not all of them will. blueray and hd/dvd drives will be a lot cheaper for the pc than if you buy them as standalone units.



I would strongly recommend a hacked Xbox or a specially made media server. The Xbox is super cheap though for what you get. I don't know if the xbox 360 can be hacked since I have never used one. The gaming systems are specially designed to fit any TV. I have tried numerous times to get a PC with some sort of TV out, even some third party vga to svid converters and I could never get the picture to come out right. It is always too big or too small. Too small of a picture will ruin your TV and cause burn-in.

I got a Sony 40" CRT last year for my parents, great picture and it has HDMI input (amongst component, rca, svid, etc). Guess what, I plugged in my powerbook using a DVI->HDMI cable and the stupid thing STILL didn't work right. I even tweaked the refresh rates and sync settings manually and couldn't get it to work. Very very annoyed. Now, I use my LCD for my tv and things are much better now.

If you get a TV that is an LCD with DVI input, then you will probably be alright because basically they are the same things as computer monitors. I don't know how the video game systems always show up correctly, but the computers never do, very frustrating.

Be sure to choose carefully but an xbox can always be an option since they are just Pentium 3's anyways I think.

You can always make your own case too. i have always wanted to make one out of a humidor. Awesome with the slot-loading superdrives like what the powerbooks come with.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by tiecollector
I would strongly recommend a hacked Xbox or a specially made media server. The Xbox is super cheap though for what you get. I don't know if the xbox 360 can be hacked since I have never used one. The gaming systems are specially designed to fit any TV. I have tried numerous times to get a PC with some sort of TV out, even some third party vga to svid converters and I could never get the picture to come out right. It is always too big or too small. Too small of a picture will ruin your TV and cause burn-in.

I got a Sony 40" CRT last year for my parents, great picture and it has HDMI input (amongst component, rca, svid, etc). Guess what, I plugged in my powerbook using a DVI->HDMI cable and the stupid thing STILL didn't work right. I even tweaked the refresh rates and sync settings manually and couldn't get it to work. Very very annoyed. Now, I use my LCD for my tv and things are much better now.

If you get a TV that is an LCD with DVI input, then you will probably be alright because basically they are the same things as computer monitors. I don't know how the video game systems always show up correctly, but the computers never do, very frustrating.

Be sure to choose carefully but an xbox can always be an option since they are just Pentium 3's anyways I think.

You can always make your own case too. i have always wanted to make one out of a humidor. Awesome with the slot-loading superdrives like what the powerbooks come with.


I'm really leaning towards the xbox 360 for the living room since it has built-in media center extender capabilities so it can feed off the main server and route audio and video to my a/v system. So IF i got one of those, I wouldn't need the HTPC in my living room, because it could pull music and dvds off the media server in my computer room. And of course it would be great for gaming on a huge screen.

Either way, i'm not going to think about it now b/c i'm going a bit nuts with the new furniture and i want all of that stuff paid for before i start buying new computers and game consoles which I don't have time to play anyway.

I'm probably going to wait for the 2007 Sharp Aquos since they're finally going to accept 1080p/24 input and panel sizes are about to get a LOT bigger.
 

argoth

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Cable is a shared internet service, meaning you will connect to a hub and share bandwidth with those in your local area. Speed varies and bursts. Concerns arise from this, as with all hub-like systems, because all of the traffic on the local network (those connected to the hub) is visible to all systems on that hub. While all non-encrypted data is inherently vulnerable to sniffing, its much easier when the data is already being sent to your machine, as is the case with a hub; you just have to turn it on.

The other major concern, aside from user error - trojans, viruses, etc - is bot net targetting. Since you'll be on a hub, people can just OS fingerprint you and port scan an entire broadcast address worth of IPs for more effective exploiting. Creating a botnet is easier than people make out. The "little fish in a big pond" argument isn't a good one, because an attacker doesn't target you specifically, they can target your entire network segment at any given time. Once exploited, its very unlikely most people would even be able to tell until they got a call about it, since people typically don't know what to look for. So, be up to date on your patches, turn off extraneous services, and, if you can, put a router with a filtering rule set or a firewall between you and the shared segment to drop all non-requested packets.

A dynamic IP doesn't offer any more protection than a static. Firewalls and routers offer the other advantage of allowing for NAT, PAT, IP masquerading, whatever you want to call it, which allows for sharing a single external IP with several internal machines. However, they aren't the front line, not the end of security.

Btw, I'm not sure why you'd set up a DMZ to not be protected by a firewall. You should set up the firewall or router to have a different ruleset to apply to the DMZ, for example, allowing the DMZ to receive port 80 requests, whereas this would be denied to your internal network. But still filter all requests that the DMZ isn't intended to serve. The ruleset may be less lax, but it still should be there. Typically, DMZ machines are meant to be accessed by both external and internal sources, whereas there is no direct communication initiated externally to internal (just initiated internally to external), hence the distinction.

EXTERNAL
|
FIREWALL/ROUTER - DMZ machine(s)
|
INTERNAL machine(s)

Arg
 

tiecollector

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That is true, I had forgotten that cable is a shared hub. Before Comcast upgraded everyone to the 6Mpbs download (I think it was 2Mbps before), the internet got very slow on my block at night. I have never noticed a problem since, however and I have used Comcast in 3 difference cities.

DSL offers a minimum bandwidth guarantee usually, but it is usually much lower than the fastest rate. I noticed DSL getting the minimum more and more lately even though it isn't really supposed to.

I have found that typically cable connections are faster than DSL ones. If you don't need the speed though, DSL is usually much cheaper, so I would just get the DSL.

BTW, I haven't tried but ISPs aren't using and actual dumb hub are they? It is a switched hub right.? If they are using a dumb hub then let the tcpdump roll.
 

javyn

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I really like the old Netgear routers. They are metal and built like tanks. I have a netgear 8 port router with a netgear 802.11b wifi access point plugged into it.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by javyn
I really like the old Netgear routers. They are metal and built like tanks. I have a netgear 8 port router with a netgear 802.11b wifi access point plugged into it.

Meh. For consumer use, give me the Linksys WRT54G. You can mod it to do all sorts of things that a router in that class normally can't do. Then again, not everyone gets off on that sort of thing. ;p
 

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