Your broadband network’s “always on” connection can be problematic because it often uses static IP addresses. Hackers can easily come back to the site to further work on their attacks, looking for vulnerabilities. Your computer can get scanned by a hacker multiple times a day without you knowing about it.
The usual mistake among broadband users is to turn on the Windows file and printer sharing feature. This makes the computer accessible and visible to any hacker who is looking for a system to compromise. Sensitive information can get stolen, files can get damaged, and your computer can even be used as a launching point to attack other sites.
Here are seven ways to secure your broadband network.
1. Install an antivirus program and turn on its auto-update feature. This ensures that you have the most updated version to protect your computer.
2. Make sure that the security keys to your broadband wireless network are difficult to guess and that you have the latest encryption technology. Do not use generic passwords and characters that have anything to do with your personal information. Solid combinations of alphanumeric characters are best. However, a strong password is only half the battle. You need good encryption so that your password cannot be cracked using widely available hacking tools. So, use the latest encryption technology. The WPA-PSK encryption scheme is far more secure than the old WEP. Moreover, a firewalled system complete with virtual private network (VPN) protection secures your data at the remote site, preventing U-turn and denial of service attacks.
3. Disable or restrict your SSID broadcast. Even fledgling hackers can bypass this initial level of protection, but it does not hurt to disable it. The use of wireless extenders can also open your network to possible attacks, so try to limit the extent of your wireless network within the confines of your home.
4. Secure your modem’s authentication and configuration data. This particular set of information is either stored on your computer or your modem. Ask your ISP how best to safeguard this information. Also, turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), a feature that may be turned on by default in your router’s configuration. UPnP lets programs into your network without you knowing about it, and those malicious programs can reprogram your router without being prompted by a password or any confirmation.
5. Be wary of sniffers. This happens to shared cable modem connections. With high-speed cable internet access, you are sharing cable networks among other subscribers in your neighborhood. This means your neighbors can use sniffers and monitor your transmission. To address this security problem, upgrade your network and equipment to meet data over cable service interface specification (DOCSIS).
7. Use common sense. Unless absolutely necessary, you might want to turn off your computer’s file and printer sharing option. Avoid executable codes in chat rooms. Do not attempt to run unknown programs or open unknown file attachments. Most importantly, prepare for the possibility of disk failure by allowing regular system backups and preparing a boot disk.