Clarify Technical Services - Tip #5
Some tips and techniques for securing and protecting the home network and the computers on it.
Applies to: Microsoft Windows, All current versions.
Last updated: Tuesday March 21, 2006
Securing the home network
Assuming you are using some kind of broadband connection it is important to take a few simple steps to ensure network security at home. These days it is control of your broadband connection that the bad guys are after, not damaging your computer and data like the good old days. Make sure you use a router or ''residential gateway'' at home. This device sits between your computers and your broadband connection (DSL or cable modem) and acts like a traffic cop, only allowing good traffic in. And since a router isn't a windows PC is isn't susceptible to the numerous security holes and vulnerabilities found in Microsoft Windows. If you already have a router make sure a few things have been done.
Change the password for accessing the router.
Disable remote configuration.
- Disable universal plug and play (UpnP) if your router has it. This allows software to configure your router without asking you. Including the hacker's software.
- If you do not use the wireless capabilities, disable it.
- Change the default SSID name. Don't use your name or street address
- Enable WPA encryption.
- If you have an older router that doesn't support WPA use WEP. Better yet, upgrade to a newer router that does support WPA.
Software:The router is, by it's nature, a good hardware firewall which will protect the computers on the home network from most intrusions and attacks comming in from the internet but we still need to have some security software on all of the computers.
AntiVirus software:If you are using Windows XP/2000, Please stop imediately. They are no longer supported and are considered very insecure.
If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8, you should be using Microsofts own Security Essentials product. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=5201
If you are using Windows 10, it already has a built in anti virus product called "Windows Defender" pre installed as part of the operating system
Anti-Spyware:If you are using Windows XP/2000, Please stop imediately. They are no longer supported and are considered very insecure. If you are using Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10, they have a built in anti-spyware utility called "The Maliciaous Sogtware Removal Tool".
Browsers:I recommend everyone use Mozilla Firefox as their default web browser.
It is safe, fast, and has a built in popup blocker. You can download it for free from Mozilla.com http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/.
If you find web pages that don't work or display properly in Firefox, you can simply cut and paste the url from the address bar into Internet Explorer. Just make sure you go back to Firefox when you are finished at that site.
Software firewalls (optional):
If you are using Windows XP make sure you are running Service Pack 2 and turn on the firewall.
If you are using Win 9x/ME/2000 and want to run a software firewall, you can get a good free one from Sunbelt Software http://www.sunbelt-software.com/Kerio.cfm. The free version works well and the full version is also a good deal at $14.95 US.
Behavior (also optional):
This is not actually software but covers personal behavior and safe computing practices. The best way to protect yourself and your systems from infection is to also practice ''safe surfing'' techniques. These include the following