Hardware Firewalls

If you have DSL or RoadRunner, your computer is probably always connected to the Internet. While this makes you more vulnerable than dial-up modem users, it also provides you with an opportunity to use a better form of protection for your computer.

A Broadband Router is a small box that is typically purchased to allow the connection of multiple computers to a single broadband(cable modem or DSL) Internet connection. These devices have become quite inexpensive (about $50).

Among their other features, these devices also act as a firewall across your Internet connection. You simply plug your cable modem into one side of the box, plug your computer into the other side of the box, and you are behind a very effective firewall.

There are many brands and models available. Just ask a salesperson at the store you are shopping at and they will recommend one to you.

Using a Broadband Router

While you really can just plug one of these in and it will work, you should still read the manual and become familiar with the device. At the very least, learn how to log onto the device and change the default administrator password. These default passwords are common knowledge, listed on hacker websites, and can be used to hijack your home network.

Broadband Routers and Sidecar

The firewall features of these routers will block the port that is used by Cornell for Sidecar and CUWebAuth. It is possible to configure the router to allow this traffic to pass through the firewall. However, it is beyond the scope of this document to explain how, due to the method being different for each brand and/or model.

If you make yourself familiar with the configuration interface for your unit, you can call the CIT helpdesk at 255-8990 and they can help you get Sidecar working. The important piece of information is that TCP port 913 must to be allowed through the router’s firewall to your computer for Sidecar to work.

Wireless Broadband Routers

Many broadband routers have the ability to act as a wireless access point for your home for very little additional cost. By default, these devices work right out of the box – but they have all wireless security features disabled by default too.

See also: Securing your wireless home network.