7 Quick And Easy Tips On Creating A Secure Home Network!

Do you have a secure home network, when using WI-FI?

In other words, can your wireless network access the internet without having to worry about hackers, viruses and wireless signal thieves? Having a secure home network requires more effort and education than simply buying a wireless router(s), connecting it, logging onto the internet and surfing while praying no one ever hacks you! What many users fail to realize when setting up a home network, is that when you purchase a router and setup a password, by default your network is NOT secure.

When you internet service provider (Verizon, AT&T etc ) sends you a broadband modem that allows you to connect other computers to the internet wirelessly (Wi-Fi), chances are you aren’t secure unless someone installed your internet modem and setup the security “features.”

In the new “Social Networking” age, it is important to be conscious of the internet threats that are lurking, and how to protect your personal information and data from thieves by setting up a secure home network. Did you know there are tools and software that exist, which allows a person to search for your wireless home network, connect to it, “crack” your encryption key (password), and STEAL whatever they want from your computer (including credit card numbers, financial records, passwords, pictures, other sensitive info etc)!!!

Let’s take a look at how you can create a secure home network, and feel confident – “safely” browsing the internet.

1.) In your broadband (wireless) modem or wireless router, change the default name and password used to access the router’s admin panel (used to change any settings of the router/modem).

Hint: The default name is usually set to “admin,” and the password is given in documentation (or a disk) by the manufacturer of the equipment

2.) Always use encryption (password/key), for a truly secure home network.

WEP (Wireless Encryption Protocol) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), are the two most common types, with WPA being harder to “crack” than WEP; therefore making WPA a better choice for security.

Also, it is always best to create a totally new and different password (key) at least every 30 days, to protect and secure your home network. The password should be hard to “guess” – in others words using a mixture of symbols, alpha/numeric characters, upper and lower case characters, and at least 8-14characters total if possible.

Hint: An example of a strong password is: “1mypasswordx90544z” or how about: “tektime1$@%%p0rt.” These passwords are harder to guess using password cracking software. (Do not create “easy to remember” passwords, such as passwords that are made up of your name, your kids’ name(s), your birth date, your street name; etc.)

3.) Turn off your wireless router or broadband modem when you aren’t accessing your network.

For example, when you are going to bed or when you aren’t home, it is best to disable your internet to further act as a barrier of protection for a secure home network. How can intruders, Trojans etc cause damage to your computer or internet connection when it isn’t transmitting a signal? You’re right…they can’t!

4.) Disable Service Set Identifier Broadcast on your modem/router.

Otherwise known as “SSID” this is the identification name given to the device by its manufacturer. For example, routers made by D-Link will have “Dlink”as the SSID, while routers made by Netgear will have “Netgear” as the SSID. Turning off your SSID prevents your wireless home network from being displayed in the list of “available networks”, when someone is scanning the area for wireless networks to connect to.

5.) Change your SSID name.

As well as disabling your router’s SSID, it is important to change your SSID name, even though it is no longer being displayed thanks to the last step in which we disabled it. Changing your SSID name will not create a secure home network alone, it prevents hackers and snoopers from instantly figuring out what router you are using. By knowing what router is being used, a hacker or thief is more prepared to cause havoc on your home network, especially if you are using the same log in, password and default administration information, as the manufacturer created.

6.) A secure home network ALWAYS use a firewall!

Many firewalls that come built into routers (hardware firewalls) can cause various problems when accessing the internet. It is best for beginners and novices to use a software solution, until learning the ins and outs of hardware firewalls, and their limitations.

Firewalls are created to prevent software (such as Trojans) from connecting to the internet without your authorization, thus preventing Unwanted sharing of your data, personal, financial and other confidential information. Firewalls also prevent those outside of your home network, from accessing it without your authorization.

Hint: A highly regarded software firewall solution, is Comodo Internet Security. Feel free to look it up in your favorite search engine. It is totally free (the basic version), extremely effective, and easy to use (after a slight learning curve). I recommend it to all of my clients, and I am not getting paid by Comodo to endorse them. It is just an excellent program, try it for yourself!

7.) Lower the range of your wireless signal.

A secure home network does not transmit an internet signal outside of the vicinity of the users’ home. Why should you lower the range of your wireless signal?

Imagine yourself buying the “biggest and baddest” wireless router that you can find, from your neighborhood store; boasting a range of 1 mile! Wow, that’s a high range…you can use it anywhere in your home that you choose without any signal loss at all! While that may be true, the truth is that you only need a signal range that allows the signal to transmit in your home, and not necessarily outside.

This will prevent internet connection thieves (and hackers) from being able to receive the radio waves from your router or modem, so connecting to your signal would be virtually impossible even by the most experienced hacker!

Hint: One way to lower your signal range, is to switch to 802.11 g, from 802.11 n, or even to 802.11 b. Consult with the documentation included with your router by the manufacturer, for specific information.

Hopefully these tips will help you to create and maintain a secure home network, and you won’t have to face the nightmares that so many people experience who fail to secure their wireless network!

Always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Until next time,

Happy Computing!

Jarvis Edwards – TekTime IT Consulting & Computer Repair

Wireless Security Systems – The Advantages to Going Wireless

Wireless security systems have done for Australian homes and businesses what wireless internet did for computers. Modern technology has made it possible for security alarms to need less cables and cords. Wireless security alarms have several distinct advantages over their old-fashioned, cabled cousins.

How Security Alarms Work

Security alarms work by creating a circuit of electricity on points of entry on a building. Alarm components are attached to places like windows, exterior doors and other locations where someone would possibly try to enter or move through. The circuit closes when the door or window is closed or no movement is detected.

When the alarm is on, the circuit breaks if someone tries to enter or is detected in the area, and this break triggers the alarm. It can also trigger a call to a back to base alarm monitoring company.

The Difference Between Wired Security Alarms and Wireless Alarms

Regular, wired security alarms receive power and deliver information via electric cables. Wireless security systems perform exactly in the same manner as cabled security systems. However, they do so without the alarm’s detection devices having to use cables or cords to communicate to the central control panel.

The idea is the same as a system of wireless computers using a single wireless internet source. A wireless security system has a main control panel. This panel plugs into a phone jack and power outlet and is what the wireless security devices connect to.

Wireless alarm sensors are then installed near the points of entry at various locations around the building, focusing on potential areas of movement. These sensors send information to the main control panel. Communication between the monitoring devices and the panel takes place in a wireless alarm system through radio waves rather than by cables.

Wired vs. Wireless Alarm Systems: What are the Advantages?

Wireless alarms have been around for well over a decade. Like any emerging technology, it has taken some time to catch on with consumers. However, due to current & future improvements in range, reliability, battery life and cost, it’s likely that wireless security systems will one day become the norm much as wireless Internet has.

Wireless security alarms have many benefits compared to a wired alarm system. Some of these advantages include:

1) Easier Installation: It’s relatively simple to add wireless sensors to doors, windows and rooms. This is handy if you ever add on to your building at a later time and need to install new sensors or decide to increase your security coverage.

2) Cheaper Cost of Labor: Installation time of wireless security alarms is drastically reduced compared to traditional alarms. Houses or commercial buildings that don’t have cabled security systems built in already can present installation challenges since cables may have to pulled through existing walls and floors. Wireless security alarms, on the other hand, can be installed non-invasively since the signal passes through walls and other obstacles.

3) More Resistant to Damage: Exposed cables are more vulnerable to accidental damage in normal building use, and especially during later renovations where walls are knocked down or electrical work needs to be done. Wireless security systems have less problems on this line since there are no cables between the moitoring devices and the control panel.

4)Portability: Planning on moving in the future? With wireless alarms, you can take many of the components with you to your new home, whereas this would be impractical with normal security alarms.

5) Wireless Access: Since the master Control Panel itself is wireless enabled, one can arm/disarm the alarm with a key fob, much like the one you use to lock your car. Night mode or a duress signal can also be activated remotely by such a device.

And, a more fully featured remote keypad (for use in the house next to your bed for example) is also available.

In Conclusion

With wireless security systems, the technology may pay for itself quickly. Home and business owners in Australia can have more peace of mind, with less work involved and less risk of accidental damage to the alarm down the line.

Putting Together A Wireless Security System

One of the main advantages of a wireless security system is the ease with which it can be put together by a layman. Instead of dealing with complex wiring around the outside of your home, you can just mount the components and link them together with the help of a simple program on your computer. A good setup can keep your home protected from mischief as well as more serious attempts to rob you or damage your property.

If you do not have a wireless home network, you will be recommended to set up one as it can protect your family and valuables. It is quite simple to set up and can be achieved using any high-speed internet service and a wireless modem or router. Often, the modem that the internet company sends you is cheap and wired only, so adding a router can be the easiest solution.

Once your network is in place, you need to purchase the components of the system itself. All sorts of security devices are available that can function together on a network, including cameras, various alarms, and lights. Basic models can trigger alerts on your computer or phone if they are tripped, while more complex models can have very advanced features.

Many systems are capable of being attached to a cell phone number, so that you will be texted if the alarm is tripped. In some cases, you can add capabilities to these systems, such as the ability to command certain functions by sending a text message. In most cases, this ability is attached to the GSM capabilities of your cell phone, so it may not work for all cell phones, since some providers use different technology.

There are various ways to set up your home security system. The main components of most systems are cameras, alarms, and lights. The cameras record anything that might be occurring, the alarms are tripped if certain perimeters are breached, and the lights come on to illuminate intruders. Additional components are also available, but these are enough for the basic needs of most homes.

Cameras can be positioned in two common ways: hidden or visible. Hidden cameras are more likely to capture a crime in progress, but do not serve as a deterrent against the crime in the first place. Visible cameras can make thieves and vandals think twice and decide to go somewhere else. However, they also serve as a target for vandalism, in some cases.

Alarms are typically wired to go off when the perimeter of the house is breached and the code is not entered within a short period of time. Sophisticated technology can be used to alarm windows and doors into the house, as well as older beam alarms. In most cases, either works quite well. Lights function mainly as a deterrent, and are often run on motion sensors. Of course, these are sometimes tripped by animals.

A wireless security system allows you to integrate all of the devices that are helping protect your home. For instance, floodlights and cameras can be programmed to come on if the perimeter alarm is tripped. Modern systems range from the very simple to the very complex, and there is usually something available to meet anyone’s needs.