As we develop an action plan for designing and implementing a wireless network for your home, let’s talk about computer security in more general terms. It does not matter what type of network you are planning whether it is a dial-up or an always-on broadband network connection. It does not matter if you are planning a hard-wired network or a wireless network…or a hybrid of mixed connection types. When you connect your computer to the Internet, you immediately increase your risk. However, you can minimize your risk by taking some preventative steps.
Some of the things that could someone with bad intentions could do is manage to access your computer from a remote location and find a way into your computer files where you keep bank records, tax files, financial information or other personal data that could be used to steal your money or use your identity in a fraudulent manner.
They could copy these files…or maybe they are must malicious and they simply delete or format your hard drive without your knowledge. (When was the last time you did a backup? How would you recover all the pictures, videos, and files?) Another thing they could do is hijack your email program and begin transmitting tons of spam email in your name, from your computers email program so that it looks like you are sending it and through your Internet service provider. This could result in termination of your Internet service and depending upon the contents of the email, open you up for liability and prosecution without your knowledge of it occurring.
Even if you are in the minority and never connect to the Internet, you can still be vulnerable. If anyone loads or copy a file from an infected source, your computer can become infected. So here are some basic steps in securing your pc from attack:
Anti-Virus Software – Install and maintaining this software is easy but you have to take action. You are only halfway to securing your computer when you load an antivirus program on your computer. You also have to maintain the software updates by installing these revised virus definition files on a regular basis as they are produced and released from the manufacturer. You should be able to run regular scans and updates from within the program. There are a number of free solutions available for home and non-commercial users.
Personal Firewall – This is a software program that monitors all inbound and outbound Internet connections that come in or leave your computer. It maintains a list of acceptable and approved connections and stops anything that occurs that is not on the list. Windows XP with SP 2, its later versions of Vista and 7 as well as MAC OSx have a built-in software firewall available to its users but it will only protect your computer if it is active.
External Firewall – Most modern network devices such as your router or wireless access points have some level of firewall functionality built-in to the device themselves. You need to consult the documentation provided by the manufacturer to find out what to do and how to activate/maintain this firewall but it should be part of the network planning, device research and an integral part of the network installation process.