Is your network secure? Many home networks are vulnerable to intrusion because of poor password protection or insufficient monitoring. Fortunately, secure network configuration is not as difficult as you might think. Visit DexKnows for networking products and services in your area and consider some basic questions to ask before installation.
A router is the main hub of most home networks. It bridges your Internet modem and all of your networked devices. If its security settings are weak, it can put your passwords and other sensitive data at risk for hacking.
If you haven’t already, you should change the factory default router login, which is usually something easy like “admin” and “password.” Depending on the make and model, the router’s default login is printed on a label on the back or bottom of the device. You can access all of the router’s settings with this information, so it’s important to change it as soon as possible. If you forget the new password, you can always restore the router to its factory settings and start over.
You should also password-protect your Wi-Fi access with WPA encryption, which is the newest standard for wireless security and difficult to crack. Your router’s settings should feature a wizard or other tool for generating a WPA password (in older routers, you may need to use WEP encryption, which is weaker but better than nothing). Consult the instruction manual for complete details.
Consider buying a new router if your current one is a few years old. Newer routers are not only faster, more stable and capable of handling multiple connections with ease, but they also feature stronger security settings that are user-friendly for home network administration.
A secure router is not enough. You should also ensure that every networked device has its own security controls in place. PCs, Macs, game consoles, tablet computers and other devices all come with built-in tools you can easily use. Many Internet service providers offer a free suite of software programs to subscribers, which typically includes the following:
These programs are plug-and-play and only take a few minutes to install and set up. They should be running on all networked computers and updated regularly, especially the antivirus software.
Even if you’ve ensured that your network and router passwords are secure and encrypted, and that all of your devices are protected by firewalls and antivirus software, your work isn’t done. It’s also a good idea to monitor your network activity on a regular basis. The easiest way to do this is with software designed for home users that lets you check network speeds, troubleshoot issues and detect suspicious network activity or intrusion. A number of free and inexpensive monitoring tools are available for download. Learn more about them at PC World.
These are just a few tips to help get you started. If you need to call in an expert, search the DexKnows networking services listings to find one near you.
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