Security Essentials: “Basic” Computer & Router Settings

Before I get into the crux of the information, first an foremost, always make sure that your anti-virus is up to date. As I have previously addressed, you can buy a good anti-virus software subscription for any where from $40-$60 a year. However, if you do not want to buy and anti-virus, both Kapersky and AVG make free anti-virus software that is well trusted and will provide you with at least a base layer of support.

Literally from The Start Menu

The following information will help you both secure your computer straight from the start menu and help you restore you computer back to safety if it is ever compromised.

First, you should make sure that your firewall is turned on. Even if you know nothing at all about computers or security, turning on your firewall literally takes no skill, it is already pre-configured by your computer manufacturer and you just have to make sure that it is turned on. If you really want to take the time, I recommend going through your firewall’s settings, checking the rules and entering the terms onto a Google search just so you can learn yourself something new about them.

Second, if you haven’t done so already, you should encrypt your computer. If for some reason you are still unaware, “encryption” is just a fancy word for creating password entry. If you ever leave your computer unattended in a public setting or live in a house with multiple people, you should always makes sure that no one can use your computer without authorization. Meaning that when your computer starts, before anyone can physically access anything or do anything on it, they have to enter the correct password first. Setting this up is incredibly easy and you can edit or select this option straight from the settings on your computers start menu.

The next option is extremely critical, but is something which is often overlooked. You are going to want to make sure to disable remote access to your computer. Believe it or not, anyone whom knows anything about hacking can physically access/use your device through something as simple as Windows cmd if they share the same internet connection or know your IP Address. If you do not disable remote access to your computer you are essentially leaving the door wide open for anyone to walk through or exploit.

Lastly, if at any point in time you believe that you have downloaded any virus, Malware or Spyware, you can simply go to your computers start menu and search for “system restore.” All you have to do is find a date before you believe you contracted the virus, select it and restore you computers settings/files back to that date. This will restore your computers systems as it existed on that date. However, just note that while you will be losing the virus from your computer, you will also be losing all of the files, documents, pictures or anything else you have created or saved since that date. While it does not work every time or with some of its stronger versions, this should literally be your first move if you ever contract ransomware.

Router Security

This next bit is a little more “involved,” but it is pretty straight forward and something that almost no one in society seems to practice for some reason. You might be surprised to know that your internet router is completely unsecured straight from the company/manufacture, meaning that the user name and password to physically access your routers settings is usually literally something like:

User Name: admin
Password: password

As you can imagine, this is not exactly rocket science for anyone to figure out or crack, so you are going to want to encrypt your individual internet router by setting up your own password for it. You can find your routers unique IP Address by opening cmd and typing in “ipconfig/all” – then look under “default gateway.” Next you are going to want to open your web browser and type in the IP Address of that router as the url and press enter, where you will be prompted to sign into your routers log in page. You can find your routers default log in credentials by simply entering a Google search for it.

Highlighting just how important router security should be for you, the log in for every router produced by an individual company or ISP is literally the same and is publicly listed. Meaning that if you are a customer of Comcast, the log in and password to your router is the same as everyone else whom uses Comcast in your area. Meaning that if you are ever on anyone else’s network and they have not already done what I am telling you to do in this article, you can fully compromise their router with literally no effort.

With that out of the way, once you are logged in and messing around with your routers settings, you can do things like White-list selected devices allowed to access the network, strengthen your routers firewall and perhaps most importantly, disable your router from publicly broadcasting your internet signal. To do this you simply have to look under settings and disable the “SSID broadcast” feature.

To understand why this is important for security, have you ever clicked on your devices Wi-Fi button to see all of the available networks in range around you? Unless you live way out in the country, I am sure that you are used to seeing every one of your neighbors connections in addition to your own. By simply disabling your SSID broadcast, it will prevent your network from being picked up by everyone else in your neighborhood, keeping your connection hidden, secret and more secure.

Now that you know all of this, you might also want to start warning all of your neighbors too 😉

Categories: Cyber Security

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