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5 ways to secure your WiFi and computer

5 ways to secure your WiFi and computer

Is your wireless router a target for hackers? Your wireless router is a prime target for hackers wanting to infiltrate your network or freeload off your Wi-Fi. Another way to help prevent hackers from messing with your wireless is to be self conscious. You CAN'T make your WiFi network 100% hack proof. WiFi networks are just not that secure, but you can make it more difficult for hackers to break into your network in a number of ways.

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Secure WiFi in 5 ways

  1. Use WPA2 (I suppose if your network only has WPA, you'll need to go with that, but that's far from ideal).
  2. Use a good password (long, mix of upper and lower case letters, digits and special symbols such as spaces, punctuation etc). Without a decent password, there IS no security!
  3. Change your router's SSID ("network name") to something that will mean something to you, but will not be obvious to anyone passing by (one of my clients has named their router "upstairs left", which I like...).
  4. Potentially, hide your SSID when you're done with the setup, as this will make it trickier for potential hackers to know what they're looking for.
  5. You can also set up a whitelist of MAC addresses, allowing only YOUR devices on the network. A MAC address (or "hardware address") is a unique number given to every network card at manufacturing time. It can be simulated, but you'd need to know what addresses are allowed before you can do that, thereby making the hacker's work harder.

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Now that your WiFi network is as secure as it can be, you need to secure your computer(s)!

Secure computer in  5 ways

  1. Change your computer login password to a secure password.
    Make sure you have a decent and up-to-date antivirus product and an additional anti spyware/anti malware product (e.g. Malwarebytes Free from malwarebytes.org).
  2. Scan your hard disc thoroughly with the AV AND anti malware software before proceeding.
  3. If you suspect (or even feel a little uneasy) that your computer/account was hacked, change all your email and important passwords NOW. Again, use decent passwords, and do not use the same password for different purposes (except for "low level" web sites etc which you don't care about). Importantly, your email password MUST be unique and strong, as so many things hinge on it, including the ability to reset most of your other passwords!
  4. Make sure that all your email logins are done using encrypted connections (e.g. TLS, SSL). Transmitting a password "in the clear", is like shouting it in the middle of a shopping mall, someone is bound to find out about it! (by the way, if your email provided only plain text passwords and do not support encryption, change your provider as there is no hope of protecting your email security).
  5. Finally, most providers on the internet offer additional security measures. Take advantage of that! For example, GMail not only requires encryption (HTTPS and SSL), but also offers the option of 2 factor log in. 2FA is used to send a code to your phone via SMS which you will need to enter before you're allowed into your email. This will stymie most hackers. Yahoo have a system whereby you can upload a small picture which will be shown on the screen when you log in. This tells you you really are looking at your Yahoo page. Protecting you from a variety of phishing techniques, including "man in the middle" attack. As I said above, the key is to use these measures, as they make the hacker's life much more difficult. Much like good home security, the bad guys are likely to leave you alone if you're well protected!

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