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The general concensus is that cable users are more vulnerable than DSL subscribers. But no one without a firewall is without risk.
A good firewall makes your computer invisible, or at least less visible, to others on the internet. There are other users that will try to probe your machine looking for ways to see what is on your computer's hard drive. Some may only be curious, but others may be trying to be very malicious - even to the point of erasing files on your system. They could potentially gain access to your passwords and other private information you may have stored in files on the computer.
You may ask 'which is the best firewall'. There are special setups that actually involve hardware and these hardware firewalls are considered the best choice. The down side of the hardware solution is cost. Many users therefore choose to install a software firewall. These have the advantages of low cost and easy setup. Which solution is best for you is a question you have to answer for yourself.
The most common windows firewall right now is ZoneAlarm, although there are many others. Check Security pages for more details.
Also read About DSL for lots more information