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modem and router questions

my question: is there an all in one kind of modem and router thing i could buy, maybe with a firewall, that could make my poor old xp computer still safe (or safer) to use?

something i could plug the cable internet cord into and then not have to worry about turning my computer off, so the rest of the house could still get secure wifi if that computer is turned off.

my desktop computer is 10 years old and running windows xp. most of the peripherals i have, printer, scanner, trackball mouse, only mouse i can use) will NOT work with newer windows versions. the manufacturers quit making drivers for them after xp.

i would like to go to an electronics store and buy some kind of modem and router combo that can provide secure wifi for my household (and not the neighbors), without having to be run thru this old computer. currently the way my computer is hooked up to the modem and router requires this desktop computer to be turned on always, or else wifi cuts off. maybe something about an ethernet connection? i dont know.

i've been repeatedly told that since windows xp is not supported anymore, my computer is not safe from hacking.

i AM careful what websites i visit, but i still trigger occasional antivirus warnings when i simply click on results from search engines. i dont download music or movies online. mostly my desktop is used for uploading my music from my cds to transfer to my mp3 player, and uploading and storing my many digital photos that i edit and share online. i DO want to feel safe to use this computer for online banking. but i'm also feeling a little paranoid from all the stuff other people have told me about windows xp not being safe anymore. i'm not sure i have the RAM to update to a newer version. i'm disabled and living on SSDI and dont have the money to buy a newer version. i also dont have the money to buy a newer printer and scanner and trackball mouse.

here are the specs for my old desktop computer:
200 GB hard drive
1 GB memory (i think this is RAM?)
3700+ AMD Athalon processor
HP a1230n
windows xp
avast antivirus
i only use mozilla firefox as a browser, no internet explorer.

i would say i'm mildly computer savvy. i can FOLLOW directions extremely well! i'm a quick learner. but i dont know what i'm doing when it comes to modems and routers or firewalls.

can you tell me if what i'm looking for is available as an all in one thing?(modem/router/cable internet connection/firewall)

can you also tell me, if xp isnt safe, i have a laptop with windows 10. if i use the wifi currently available THRU my old desktop computer, is that secure? or are all the wifi connections only as secure as the old windows xp the modem runs thru?

tell me what to buy?

give me suggestions? anything. somewhere to at least start from?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2015 04:50 am (UTC)
Here's the thing -- there's no telling what kind of vulnerabilities hackers will find in Windows XP over the years to come. If they find an exploit in how Windows XP uses or accesses the Internet, for example, then there's no antivirus/firewall/security that's going to stop them from being able to exploit it.

If you're looking for 100% absolutely guaranteed safety your computer will never get hacked, there's only one solution: get it off the Internet. With no access to the outside world, the only way a hacker could attack your computer is if they literally broke into your house (and if you're getting home break-ins, you've probably got bigger worries than computer hackers anyway).

Now, having said all that, is it a huge security problem yet? Well, not yet. You could very likely still leave your Windows XP computer on all the time and have no problems, and still only have your usual viruses to worry about. I have yet to see any major occurrences of "Hackers found a backdoor to Windows XP! XP users are screwed!"

tl;dr: There's no magic box that will make a Windows XP computer secure again. If you're willing to spend money on additional security, save that money for a new computer with a newer OS instead.
Sep. 8th, 2015 10:37 am (UTC)
Well, these are really two only somewhat related problems. There certainly are routers that allow every computer in your house to access the internet directly, wireless if you like, without needing to go through another computer. In fact, that's really the standard way to set up things, and I'd definitely do it. Having your computer run even if you don't actively use it consumes electricity and strains its component, especially if it's an old one.

I can't tell you what to buy as your country is unlikely to have the same products available as mine.

However, that is not something that will secure your outdated PC. Yes, router firewalls are helpful. But there is no security software that can prevent any and all threats to your computer. If there was, its manufacturers would be coining money, everyone would buy it, and malware makers would cry and quit doing their thing.

A great part of what security programs do is reactive - a new kind of malware appears, they work on a way to combat it, and then release an update. Manufacturers of operating systems do the same: There is a vulnerability, they fix it (eventually), and they release an update. This is no longer happening for Windows XP, and that meant that you will not be able to achieve the security level you would have an a recent system.

That doesn't mean you are at high risk right now, but it also means there is no workaround by which you can achieve the higher (but not absolute) security of a modern system, and you might indeed be totally screwed if a big vulnerability is found.

User behaviour is another component of computer security. So if you don't do anything high-risk, that helps - but again does not mean you are actually safe, just safer than if you did dangerous things.

The 1 GB RAM mean that it's unlikely you can run anything newer, true; Microsoft has tools on their website that you can run to check if your computer is compatible with operating systems. Have you tried your devices with your Windows 10 laptop at all? Even if there aren't device-specific drivers from the manufacturers, many devices might still work if you just plug them in and see what Windows does.

Have you looked into Linux? Newer distributions such as Ubuntu are quite user-friendly, there is generally good documentation online, they are designed to run with a multitude of devices, and it isn't a focus of malware creators the way Windows is, because fewer people use it. There are methods of trying out Linux distributions, called "Live CDs", which allow you to run the operating system without actually installing it, just to test it.

Depending on what software you need, it's of course possible that you won't be able to use all your Windows programs on Linux, but with XP it's also quite possible that you won't be able to use newer Windows programs or newer versions of old programs soon, especially with your system resources (the RAM is very low, you might look into installing more, which is quite an easy process, if your main board can bear more).

One last thing: Do you have backups? While everyone should have them (and few people do, meaning they get to pay huge sums for, say, restoring dead harddrives compared to cheaper or even free backups set up earlier), I'd consider them critical on an old system like yours.
Aug. 21st, 2016 02:03 pm (UTC)
well i guess there are many wireless modems available. all you need to do is to keep it charged every other computers and even mobile phones can connect to it through wifi pass key. as for you computer, you will need to install a wireless card on the mother board of the system to make it available for connection.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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