In this day and age, computers run the show. Just about anything can be done online, making it almost necessary to have a computer in your home. If you do in fact have a computer with an active internet connection, you probably know how important it is to keep both the computer and internet connection secure. Hopefully you have already taken the proper steps to secure them, but if not, you should as soon as possible. The following tips will make it easy for you to secure your computer and internet connection.
Use A Firewall
One of the first steps in securing both your computer and internet connection is to make sure an active firewall is in place. A firewall can either be a software program or piece of hardware that acts as a sort of filter for your computer. Information that comes in from the internet is “filtered” using your personal firewall settings. If the information is suspicious, it is blocked from entering your computer. If the information is safe, the firewall allows it to come through. This prevents unwanted things like viruses, spyware, adware, and worms from making their way onto your computer’s hard drive. If your computer uses the Windows operating system, there is a good chance a firewall came pre-installed. Even if you do have a pre-installed firewall, you should be sure it is turned on and that the settings are fine-tuned to your specifications. You should also make sure your firewall has the latest security patches installed. These patches fix any issues that may prevent the firewall from functioning properly. Lastly, make sure your firewall is set up to receive automatic updates. Since viruses and other malicious things change daily, you always want your firewall to be up-to-date.
Install A Quality Anti-Virus/Anti-Spyware Program
Even if you have a firewall in place, you should still use a quality anti-virus program. This is because harmful things can still find their way onto your hard drive, and using more than one type of protection significantly lowers the risk of this happening. Most good anti-virus programs also protect you from spyware and other threats. Check to be sure though, otherwise you may need separate software to protect your computer from these other issues. If you are using your computer and internet without anti-virus software, it is not too late. Once the software is installed, a scan of your computer will usually detect and remove any pre-existing conditions, as long as they have not already done significant damage. Keep in mind that anti-virus programs that are available for free online may not protect your computer as well as programs you pay for.
Secure Your Internet Connection
With the extreme popularity of wireless internet comes the need for stronger security practices. This is because it is very easy for hackers and people close by to access your personal information if your network is not properly secured. If you have a wireless network that has not been secured, there are some things you need to do right away. The first thing to do is secure your wireless router. After setting up your network, you should change the default password that came with your router to something more complex. This password is also known as a security key, and it helps prevent other people from gaining access to your network. Create a very strong password that is difficult for anyone to guess. Combining letters and numbers is a good idea when creating security keys.
Another thing you need to do is give your network a new SSID, or service set identifier, which is basically the name of your network. Try to make it as unique as possible as well. Next, check your router’s settings to see if SSID broadcast is turned on. SSID broadcast is the feature that broadcasts your network to other networks that are in range of you. Although this can be a beneficial feature for businesses and wireless hotspots, home networks typically do not need SSID broadcast enabled. Disabling it will keep your network from being picked up on other people’s wireless equipment.
After taking care of these things, you should make sure to enable some type of encryption on your wireless network. Encryption is a very important security feature because it encodes the information that is sent over your network. Since the information is in code form, it is much more difficult for others to crack. Some routers come with the encryption feature disabled, so check your manual and settings to be sure it is turned on. There are two main types of encryption that are typically used today. WEP, or wired equivalent privacy, is the older form of encryption that may be easier for hackers to crack. WPA, or Wi-Fi protected access, is the newer form of encryption that is more secure. If your device comes with WPA or WPA2, be sure to use it. Even if your device is older and uses WEP, any encryption is better than none.
All of these tips will help you make your computer and internet connection more secure. With the threats online these days, you and your family need to take the proper security measures to stay as safe as possible. You will be very glad you did.
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