Back in 2003, computer hardware maker Belkin irritated customers by stealing their attention and bandwidth. It seems that as frequently as once every eight hours some of its modems, hooked up to a local area network, would force-feed users spam, hijacking the website they wanted to visit, diverting them to a company site that goaded them into buying parental control software. Not only was that bad news for users, but IT managers feared that the intrusion could trigger a chain reaction of other headaches related to proper Web browsing. Although it all seemed pretty coordinated and intentional, Belkin apologized and tried to explain away what happened as a glitch that could be fixed by a firmware upgrade. It took weeks for that promised fix, and the software initially failed to work on some models. It's bad enough all manner of hackers and shady software companies are messing with you. It's another thing to have the hardware you buy turn against you.