Identity theft is bad news. Let’s be honest, we hate to see someone wearing the same new shirt we have; it lessens our individuality.
Imagine some stranger not only wearing your shirt, but also taking a cruise, watching a show on a new plasma TV, or eating out at a fancy restaurant ... all courtesy of a credit card they received using your information.
Chances are you’ve used personal information to buy music, register for a class, or reserve a hotel online. There’s nothing wrong with doing business on the Internet. Many of us, however, are so used to the “plug and go” mentality of our society that we fail to take a few steps to protect ourselves. Sure, the Internet will work if you simply connect the DSL or cable modem to your router, but it will also leave your system open to anyone with a laptop in range of your wireless router because you have left the door wide open. You wouldn’t go to work and leave your front door propped open ... right?
There are a few steps, however, that computer users can take to protect themselves from online predators who would love to get their hands on your information.
We have listed the most important steps to safeguarding your connection below:
• Change the default administrator passwords and user names. Hackers know every default user name and password, don’t make this easy for them.
• Change the default SSID (network name). Again, making this a unique name will take away the simplicity of a default name that everyone knows.
• Turn on wireless encryption. This is a must; it will scramble the data that goes out from your computer and not allow anyone to just automatically connect. Use the highest setting, usually 104/128-bit (26 hex digits).
• Enable MAC address filtering. This adds an additional layer of security checks that the computer will perform prior to allowing a connection.
• Disable SSID broadcast. SSID broadcasts are typically for public Wi-Fi hotspots, not your home. There’s no reason to broadcast your SSID to the world.
• Disable the “auto-connect” to open Wi-Fi networks from your laptop. When you want to connect, you can do it manually. No need to expose yourself unknowingly to security risks.
• Assign static IP addresses to devices. You can assign static addresses to your computers. That way DHCP will not be automatically logging computers on to your network.
• Physically place your router or access point away from exterior windows and turn the network off during extended periods of non-use.
This Friday for a limited time Computer Problem Specialists has technicians standing by ready to run a free computer checkup and Network Security Scan via the Internet. Our evaluations are offered as a service to the community and carry no obligation.
Just go to http://computerproblemspecialists.com click on the order button and register and a live technician will take your call and diagnose your system while you watch.
Daniel Taft is the owner of Computer Problem Specialists. His career spans more than 20 years.