Tarek Chaaban

Tarek Chaaban, M.Sc's official blog. It contains current web project portfolio, posts regarding his Canadian army experience, news, sports articles, and web tutorials on programming and using social networking technologies.

How to protect my home network

secure home network

The importance of cyber security has really hit home with a lot of people in the last couple of years. Every day more and more people are becoming victims of cyber attacks that a few years ago only big businesses and large government networks had to worry about. With the introduction of easy to use home networking equipment being brought into residential domiciles, these problems are now problems that the average person has to face. With this quick introduction into securing your home network, we hope to alleviate some of the problems that you may face with easy to use suggestions.

We would have to write a book to totally secure your home network from outside intruders but the lessons that you will learn here will give you security against the most common attacks.

The first step is a controversial step on whether it is effective or not but it is best to be on the safe side. This step is to turn off your SSID tag. The letters SSID stand for Service Set Identifier. The SSID is the funny name that you see when you are looking for your home network when you try to connect to it. Most of the time you will see your neighbors SSID name as well. This is why some people argue that it is best thing to turn it off. If you can see your neighbors then that means that they can see you. It will not necessarily keep you secure by turning it off but it will help keep your presence unknown to outside snoopers. If you do decide to keep it on, then our other steps will help keep you secure in any case.

The second thing that you should do is to change the default password that you use to get into your wireless network device. When you first bought the machine, you were instructed to type a username and password, that the company gave you, into a browser and change some of your settings for the router. This username and password is given to everybody that buys the same router. These default usernames and passwords are listed on web sites and people who may not have the most noble intentions can use them to get into their neighbors wireless network. So be sure to change the default username and password and keep it somewhere safe, where no one can see it.

The next thing that we want to make sure is that you have WPA encryption set for your wireless network connection. When installing a new router you will receive several options on what kind of encryption would you like to set up on the device. If it is a newer device it will give you the option of WPA2, WPA, and WEP. Both WPA2 and WPA are fine choices, WPA2 being the better of the two. WPA2 might be more difficult to set up if you have an older version of Windows XP or if you have an older network access card. Some of these card will not recognize WPA2. In that case some of the older cards will not recognize WPA at all as well. If your card is that old it is suggested that you get a new one but if that is not possible, then set your network up with WEP. WEP is a poor solution against an experience hacker and has been known to be broken into in less than 5 minutes but it better than nothing. That is why it is suggested that you purchase a newer card than stick with an older obsolete one.

There are a few more tricks that you can use to secure your network such as filtering MAC addresses but the next and final advice that we have is to set up a firewall on your network computers. Your router, if it is newer, will come with a hardware firewall, which is one of the best firewalls that you can get. There are also software solutions as well if you want to make sure that your protection is double.

We have walked you through several steps in securing your network. Hopefully this will keep your computing experience a happy one.

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  1. Very in-depth, made me realize how crap my password

  2. your computer operating system will usually provide information about how to create, modify, and access password-protected user accounts

  3. A strong password:

    Is at least eight characters long.

    Does not contain your user name, real name, or company name.

    Does not contain a complete word.

    Is significantly different from previous passwords.

  4. I use a password generator

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