Viral attacks, hackers, hijackers, and identity thieves are just a few of the nasty threats you have to face whenever you create a wireless network. This article guides you through keeping your new computer and network secure from day one.
Set a Wireless Password
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Anyone using an unsecured wireless network is inviting less-than-friendly guests to use and abuse the connection. Beyond slowing down your internet's speed, unfriendly neighbors can use your router for illegal activities that you are, by law, responsible for. When selecting a password, it's strongly advised that you use WPA encryption. WEP encryption can be cracked in just a few hours using tools that even a low-brow hacker will have access to.
Change the Default Names
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Since many people keep their default router name and each router company has a set of access addresses, usernames, and passwords, looking at a list of local networks is often enough to tell a savvy hacker which networks can be hijacked. Change your default SSID, admin username, and password or you're essentially handing malicious users a road map to your network's control center.
Disable Remote Router Login
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By default, almost every wireless router can be manipulated wirelessly. This is convenient for both you and hackers. By disabling remote administration of your router, you guarantee that only people with physical access to the router can change the network's settings.
Use Up-to-Date Antivirus Shields
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Even if you're using the most high-tech ultrabooks for gaming available on the market today, a simple piece of malware can compromise your entire network. The biggest threat is a "keylogger," a simple piece of malicious code that will record your password the next time you log onto the network. This allows malicious users to collect information on you and your family over a long period of time, often without being detected. To prevent this, download a trusted antivirus program and firewall, keep them running, keep them up to date, and run regular system scans.
Be Wary of Your Sharing
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Some folders that are set to be shared by default on PC computers. Be sure you know which folders these are and be careful about which files you put into them. Further, use the Windows Network and Sharing Center to restrict access to wireless devices such as printers or peripherals that you don't want other users to access.
Stay Secure on the Go
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Open networks at coffee shops and strip malls are notoriously vulnerable. To keep yourself safe, avoid sending any financial data on unsecured networks, look for the lock at the left-hand side of any URL you visit (which indicates the website you're on uses encryption) before sending personally identifying information, and turn off your wireless radio whenever you're not connected to a network.
By following these steps, you can keep your computer and network safe from threats. Remember: The world wide web is a very big place, and not all of it is friendly.
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