Bell Atlantic Recommends Steps to Protect Security Of Internet Connections

Bell Atlantic Recommends Steps to Protect Security Of Internet Connections

Company Says Online Users Should Take Sensible Precautions

February 23, 2000

Media contact: Joan Rasmussen, 212-395-2051

NEW YORK -- Recent hacker attacks on the Internet underscore the need for all online users to take steps to improve the security of their Internet connections, Bell Atlantic said today.

"Even the most sophisticated computer users can become victims of unauthorized access, eavesdropping, denial of service or viruses," said Amy McIntosh, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic Network Data, Inc. "Although the chances are very small that someone will become a target of this type of crime, it makes sense to protect your connection. It's like locking your doors."

"Hackers may attempt to attack any computer that is connected to the Internet. While computers that are connected for longer periods may be more likely to be a target, every user needs to take precautions," McIntosh said.

Bell Atlantic recommends that individuals take the following steps to improve the security of their Internet connection:

  • Disable the file sharing and print sharing functions on their computers.

  • Check out these Web sites -- www.sans.org and www.cert.org -- for additional information and tools on Internet security.

  • Install and regularly update operating system upgrade patches and anti- virus software.

  • Exercise care when downloading and running any attachments sent by email. Make sure it is from a trusted source and that you scan attachments with your virus software.

  • Intrusion detection systems and firewalls can be used to detect intrusion attempts and network misuse. They can instantly respond to unauthorized or suspicious activity automatically by logging, recording or terminating actions. These tools are inexpensive and relatively easy to use, but need to be updated regularly to keep up with current alerts and patches.

  • Do not use remote access software, such as FTP services and Telnet servers, unless you are knowledgeable in the use of data encryption.

  • If you are still concerned and are not using the Internet for an extended period of time, you may want to switch off your modem, which takes only a few seconds to turn back on. You can even turn off your computer.

"These steps should make your computer less vulnerable to attacks, whether you are using a dial-up connection, cable modem or DSL (digital subscriber line)," said McIntosh.

"Bell Atlantic also has taken precautions to monitor the security of our data network. For example, we monitor the network for signs of attacks and place filters to block certain traffic from causing harm. In addition, Bell Atlantic Internet Solutions is providing dynamic IP addressing for our new customers to strengthen the security of our Infospeedsm DSL service," she said.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.

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