Internet technology is constantly changing to improve speed and customer satisfaction. It may be difficult to keep up with new developments, but understanding terms like “DSL” and “broadband” could improve your Internet experience and save you time searching for an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
What Is Broadband Internet?
Broadband is a type of Internet service that is superior to dial-up Internet, both in speed and connectivity. Dial-up Internet uses a manual connection that is often unreliable and monopolizes your phone line. This service can only reach speeds up to 56 kilobits per second (Kbps). Alternatively, broadband Internet provides a more reliable service with average download speeds sitting at approximately 64.17 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 9 Mbps — without dominating your phone line.
Various types of Internet service — like DSL, cable, fiber-optic, wireless, and satellite — can be classified as broadband Internet. However, if a service does not meet the minimum download speed of 25 Mbps, they do not meet broadband requirements according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The following explanations of broadband Internet can help you decide which will best suit your needs.
One of the most popular broadband Internet options is digital subscriber line, or DSL. This service connects you to high-speed Internet through a telephone line — though you aren’t required to have a landline phone. Because DSL is commonly used, there are numerous providers with a wide range of connection speeds and pricing. One disadvantage of DSL is that the farther you are away from your provider’s location, the slower your connection may be.
Cable services provide Internet access through coaxial cables instead of telephone lines. Cable Internet speed is not affected by distance from the provider location. However, bandwidth may be shared by an entire neighborhood, so your connection could be slowed down significantly when many users are accessing the Internet at once.
An excellent choice for high-speed Internet, fiber-optic services carry information through a network of extremely thin glass or plastic cables. Because they don’t create electricity, fiber-optic systems present less of a fire hazard. Plus, they aren’t shared by neighborhoods, so you can enjoy a dedicated connection. Though fiber-optic systems offer high speeds and reliability, networks are currently limited to specific regions and may come at a higher price.
Wireless Internet uses radio waves to transmit information from a service provider’s location to a customer’s antenna or modem. Because the signal travels a straight course — rather than winding through cables — wireless Internet is often faster. However, speeds can be limited by the number of devices using bandwidth at the same time as well as signal obstructions like buildings. One of the greatest advantages to wireless Internet is that multiple users can access it remotely without having to plug in their devices.
Satellite Internet connects three satellite dishes — one at the Internet provider’s location, one in space, and one on your property. Though satellite Internet is considerably faster than dial-up, it can be slower than DSL and cable Internet depending on your position relative to the satellite. This delay may inconvenience those who want the highest possible speeds for online activities like gaming. Since transmissions can also be interrupted by adverse weather, satellite Internet may only be the best choice for customers in rural areas who don’t have access to other ISPs.
Choosing a Service
When deciding on a type of broadband Internet, you should consider your bandwidth needs. If your online activity primarily consists of browsing the web, sending emails, and occasionally streaming music, you will probably be safe with connection speeds of 4–6 Mbps.
If you prefer to enjoy some online entertainment — like streaming TV shows and movies — you’ll probably be comfortable with speeds over 10 Mbps. However, if you worry that too many users will eat up your bandwidth, or if you simply want uninterrupted, high-speed access for gaming, streaming, or other activities, look for broadband Internet with a connection speed of at least 25 Mbps.
Choosing a Provider
Once you decide which type of broadband Internet will best accommodate your preferences, make sure it is available in your area. As you compare ISPs, make sure the download and upload speeds match what you determined are best for your situation. You should also pay attention to monthly service fees and other expenses, like modem rental or purchase, telephone or television packages, and installation.
Today’s Trojan horses may not be physical constructions like their Greek namesake, but these malicious software codes do act like their predecessor: they sneak into your computer and unleash their forces, often with highly destructive effects.
Being the victim of a Trojan horse attack can be devastating — people have had financial information stolen and files held for ransom money, among other things — but you can take action and protect yourself and your computer. Read on to learn more about Trojan horses, what they can do, and, more importantly, what you can do to protect yourself.
What Is a Trojan Horse?
A Trojan horse isn’t actually a virus; it’s a different form of malicious software, or “malware.” Unlike viruses and worms, Trojan horses don’t self-replicate. The malware instead hides as a seemingly useful — or at least innocent — piece of programming, often downloaded from an email attachment or pop-up ad. Once inside your computer’s network, however, it makes your computer and other devices vulnerable to attacks, allowing cybercriminals to spy on you, steal sensitive information, and gain access to your system.
Because its end goal is to open your computer system to more harm, a digital horse often has multiple functions embedded in its programming. It can, for example, release password stealers, disable security software, slow down mail servers, or open a “backdoor” that allows the computer to be controlled by someone else, all at the same time.
Where Did Trojan Horses Come From?
One of the first recorded Trojans was Animal/Pervade, created by John Walker in 1975. Animal was actually a game designed to guess what animal the user was thinking of by asking a series of questions. The Pervade program would create a copy of itself and the Animal game in every directory to which the current computer user had access, which allowed the game to learn through experience.
The malware — which was actually not malicious — spread to multiple computers through users with overlapping permissions. The program was carefully designed to avoid damaging existing file and directory structures, and it wouldn’t copy itself if permissions were nonexistent or if damage could result.
Many other (much more malicious) Trojans have been created since that time, including Beast in 2002 and Zeus in 2007, both of which were used to steal sensitive information. Zeus is still in existence today, although it has mutated greatly since its first iteration. Another infamous Trojan is CryptoLocker. Discovered in 2013, this malware can encrypt files on an infected machine and hold them for ransom.
What Operating Systems Do Trojan Horses Attack?
Trojan horses don’t play favorites. They attack all operating systems, including Windows 10 and Mac OS X, and have started to appear on other hardware. Backoff malware, for example, aims to compromise point-of-sale (POS) systems in order to steal credit card data.
Trojan horses can infect any computer, including yours. However, you can take a number of preventive measures to safeguard your computer and other connected devices.
What Can I Do to Prevent a Trojan Horse Attack?
First, remember that Trojan horses don’t self-replicate, which means they won’t appear out of nowhere. They spread because someone has downloaded an email attachment or computer program or visited a compromised website. In that regard, they are like the Greek’s Trojan horse: you have to invite them in before they can do any damage.
Follow these tips to help keep Trojan horses outside the gates.
- Beware suspicious emails. If you don’t know the sender, don’t open the email attachment. In fact, don’t even open the email. Delete it without hesitation.
- Invest in comprehensive security. You should have a firewall turned on for both your computer and any wireless router. Install robust antivirus and anti-malware software, set it up to run automatic system scans, and keep it up to date. Out-of-date security software leaves computers vulnerable to many types of malware, including Trojans, viruses, spyware, and worms.
- Set permissions on your computer. Only a few users should have full administrative rights to a shared computer, and those rights should be used only to install or update software. For everyone else, restrict privileges so that they can’t modify applications, intentionally or unintentionally, while using the Internet or doing other work.
- Watch out for pop-ups. Some pop-ups are legitimate advertising, but others can contain malware. Play it safe by never clicking on them. You don’t know which ones are safe and which ones are compromised until it’s too late.
- Delete your cache. Malware often hides in temporary folders where your browser cache, passwords, and history are stored, so delete the cache regularly.
- Don’t download free items from unknown websites. Many seemingly innocuous downloads, including screen savers and pictures, can contain malware.
- Know the threats. Stay up to date on the latest threats so that you know what to look for.
Trojan horses may be more pervasive today, but you can keep them at bay with security best practices. Have questions about high-speed Internet service or home service Internet bundles? Call CenturyLink at 855-640-4510 today.