Home Wireless Network Users Need to Properly Secure Their Networks From Threats

In recent years, technology has been rapidly developing. This development introduced us to the Internet, commercial networks, and even home networks to move towards using wireless networks. In America, home networks are the vast majority of users on the Internet. Since home networks are the majority of users on the Internet, you will learn about some of the threats lurking both on the Internet and even in your own neighborhoods. You will also learn about how home wireless network users can properly secure their networks from these threats.
‘, ‘The most feared threats that can be found on the Internet are hackers. Hackers can be broken down into two major categories. The first type of hacker, known as a ?White Hat Hacker?‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬Æ, is a person who uses their skill or ability to morally and legally pursue their interest. These types of hackers will typically disassemble whatever they are trying to learn about, to see how it works. These hackers have been associated with a white hat because their intentions are not bad in nature. These hackers are surprisingly helpful to many commercial companies. One major way they help commercial companies, is by them finding vulnerability by pushing a computer system to its limits and then alerting the vendor. The most feared hacker is the, ?Black Hat Hackers.?‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬Æ These hackers have only malicious intentions. In many cases, black hat hackers will try to break into a computer network to steal valuable information, such as credit card data. They will use this data for their own personal gain. Black hat hackers are destructive to applications, computer hardware, and computer networks.

A computer virus is a self-replicating program that spreads by inserting copies of itself into other executable code or documents. A computer virus behaves in a way similar to a biological virus, which spreads by inserting itself into living cells and then becoming part of that cell. Extending the analogy, the insertion of the virus into a program is termed infection, and the infected file is called a host. Much as a biological virus can spread throughout numerous hosts, a computer virus can spread throughout millions of hosts on the Internet within a matter of hours.

A computer worm can be defined as a self-replication computer program. A computer worm is much like a virus, however when a virus attaches itself to another program it becomes part of that program. A worm is self-contained and does not need to be part of another program to propagate itself. The name ?worm? came from two researchers working for Xerox. They were doing a paper on experiments in distributed computing, when they noticed similarities between their software and a program from a 1970s novel written by John Brunner.

There are many different types of network security methods used, when it comes to protecting a network. One of the most successful methods used to secure a network is the boundary protection method. This method takes different computing mechanisms and puts them between what they are trying to protect and where the threat lies. Some of the mechanisms used are firewalls, proxy servers, anti-virus applications, intrusion detection systems and even virtual private networks. Each one of these mechanisms functions at a different networking layer and provides more of an obstacle for the threat to overcome. These obstacles deter threats from attempting to intrude into their networks. A hacker is less likely to penetrate a well-secured network; especially when there is other much less secure networks readily available, thus providing network security.

Whether you are using a home wireless router from any of a variety of vendors, the process to securing your wireless network is still the same. First you want to start at your access point closest to the Internet, for home users we will say this point is either your cable modem or DSL modem. The first thing you need to do is implement some sort of security. You can choose between your router performing a network address translation and port scanning security measure, installing a hardware firewall, or proxy server. Since most home users do not want to spend the money on additional security devices, some companies such as Linksys (a subsidiary of Cisco Networking Systems) have built the technology into their wireless routers. The first thing you should do when initially configuring your home wireless network router, is change the factory default administrative password. Once you have changed the administrative password, you want to configure the router to support only the amount of hosts you are going to have on your wireless network. The factory default setting supports up to 255 users. Unless you want 255 users within your wireless routers range to connect to your network, it is best to enable your router to support only the number of hosts you will be connecting. After you have changed both of those settings, your next step is to enable the wired equivalent privacy protocol (WEP), or the WI-FI protocol, depending on what your router supports. Please refer to your owner?s manual for more detail of what your wireless router supports. Both WEP and WI-FI work by encrypting the data that is being transmitted and received between your computer and the wireless router. These typically are either 64 bit or 128 bit encryption standards. The next step to securing your wireless router is to perform MAC address filtering, provided your router supports it. If your router supports MAC address filtering, you first need to log into your computer and then find out what your MAC address is on your wireless network card. Once you have your MAC address, input that into your router and filter it so only hosts with this MAC address can access your network. The next step is to check your routers manual to see if your router actually does perform network address translation. If it does, there should be nothing you need to configure for this. As we are getting closer to completing the configuration of your wireless router, there are still a few precautionary steps you should take to secure your network a little more. One of the final steps is to change your internal network address from the factory default setting to another network address. By default, most home wireless network routers us a non-routable IP address range. This non-routable network address is either 10.10.1.1 or 192.168.1.1. To learn more about how to properly subnet your network, please refer to your owner?s manual. For this scenario we are going to say you changed your network address from 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.2.1. As we know from before, your router is only set up to allow the exact number of hosts you are connecting to your network. Finally the last thing you should check within your router is to see if it has any network ports open by default on the router. Some routers have to be manually turned off and other routers have it built in to block external connections to your router, unless the connection is initiated from the internal side.

Now that your router is configured correctly, we should consider the worse case scenario of your data being lost or compromised. Some of the methods to recovering lost data are by using internal programs to the operating system or 3rd party programs. Within Microsoft Windows there is a backup utility to perform backups and recovery. Another method is to configure your computer the way you want it, make a ghost image by using Symantec?s Norton System Ghost, and then putting that image on a media that is not on your local computer. That way, if your system gets corrupted you can always restore it to the last known good state. You can always backup your system files to another computer or network attached storage device. Finally, you can use a 3rd party program such as Veritas to backup your computer state files to a tape drive. This program also allows you to restore from the tape media.

You have seen some of the threats that lurk on the Internet and simple ways to protect yours home wireless network from these threats. Congratulations, now you can consider your home wireless network and personal data secure.

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