Considering the amount of important business – not to mention personal – data shared on computer networks hour by hour, one should not be surprised by how important network security has become. There is no one formula guaranteed to protect you against every intruder. A wide range of network applications are available. As the technology develops over time, the ways people get attacked and the ways to defend against them have become more and more sophisticated.
Physical Network Security
The most fundamental yet neglected part of network security involves protecting hardware from theft or physical penetration. Businesses dedicate huge amounts of money to locking up their network servers, switches and other key network components in highly secure facilities.
This may not be practical for most private citizens, but people should keep their broadband routers someplace where curious neighbors and houseguest can’t find them. Remember that the houseguest most likely to harm your security may be the child of a houseguest.
If you can’t physically secure your computer hardware from nearby meddlers, consider hiding information that reveals the existence of a device close at hand. For instance, you could disable SSID broadcast on a router such that it can’t be easily seen or connected to.
If you worry about data theft through someone stealing your computer or router, you might consider stopping storing your data locally.Online backup services are available for keeping sensitive files stored at secure backup locations away from home so that even if your hardware disappears, the crucial files are still secured somewhere else.
The ubiquity of mobile devices makes physical security even more important. Smartphones are especially easy to forget at restaurants or to simply lose in a variety of ways. Theft of smartphones in public places happens all the time, sometimes even while the owners are using them.
Be alert to what is going on around you whenever using mobile devices, and put them securely away when done.
Keep your phone in sight when loaning it to another person. A good hacker can steal personal data, install malicious software, or otherwise alter your phone in just a few minutes, given just a little inattention. A surprising number of former lovers, spouses, and neighbors do such things. Keep your phone in sight.
When used correctly, passwords can be a highly effective system for maintaining network security. Too many people fail to take passwords seriously, seeing them as an inconvenience and using weak or easy to guess passwords, like the word “password.” Just a few easy to follow practices can improve computer network security.
- Create strong passwords on every device that connects to the network
- Change the default administrator password on your network router
- Never share passwords with anyone else unless absolutely necessary
- Create a guest network access for friends and family
- Change passwords regularly, especially after one becomes widely known
Malicious programs called spyware can infect computers and networks. Run a reputable, commercially available anti-spyware program on your computer.