Using a wireless connection makes security even more important because anyone who gains access to your network can use it to conduct illegal activities without your knowledge.
There are, however, some methods that can be used to keep tabs on the security of your Internet connection. Some are simple, while others are very complex, and no single practice covers all possible security problems. Taking the right steps will reduce the risk of your Internet connection being compromised, however.
Install A Firewall
The worm, a common security threat, typically replicates itself by randomly spamming information at other computers in search of a security flaw. If the flaw is found, the worm can inject itself into a system without the user doing anything. This can lead to your computer being enlisted into a botnet – a series of infected computers that follow commands given by the worm that has infected the system or, in some cases, by the person or persons who created the worm. Botnets are often used to send spam and perform denial-of-service attacks against websites.
Installing a firewall will dramatically reduce the chance that your computer will be infected by a worm and forced into the service of a botnet. A firewall, as you may know, is a barrier that filters out Internet traffic which may be malicious. This prevents many common attempts to hijack or infect a computer via network security flaw. Windows now ships with an acceptable firewall, but you can further enhance your security by downloading a free firewall or purchasing one as part of an Internet security suite.
Use Network Monitoring Software
Home networks are increasingly common as homes that once had only a single computer are adding additional devices. This includes not just new computers but also game consoles, Blu Ray players, televisions and various appliances that feature wireless connectivity.
This array of devices can make it difficult to identify a device that isn’t supposed to be connected if it appears. Networking monitoring software solves this issue by keeping track of your network and shaping the information it gathers into an intuitive display. This makes it possible to analyze the devices on your network and sniff out those that don’t belong. Some network monitoring software also lets you designate certain devices as trusted. If a new device pops up you’ll be given an alert, or the device will automatically have its network access restricted.
Tech-savvy readers will probably note that this same basic functionality can be achieved by monitoring the MAC addresses that show up when you log into your router. For most users, however, network monitoring software will be the better choice.
Try To Crack Your Wireless Internet Password
If you are using a secure wireless connection the only thing that protects your Internet security is the password you’ve chosen for your network. Anyone who compromises this password can easily make full use of your Internet connection. Network monitoring software would likely display the new, unknown hardware connecting to your network, but if you’re not home the damage may be done before you can take action against the intruder.
The best defense against this is a long password that makes use of many different characters. This decreases the chance that a brute-force attack will be able to crack your wireless password. In order to check up on your security you can try to break your password with your own computer. The most popular tool for this purpose is Aircrack, which can be used to attack WEP and WPA encryption.
The only issue with this is the complexity of the program – if you’re not already versed in the technical nitty-gritty of wireless networking you may have trouble using a tool like Aircrack. The geeks who design these programs rarely have accessibility in mind.
As is often the case with computer security, you can’t 100% guarantee that your Internet connection will never be cracked. However, taking these steps can protect you from most threats. Hackers are clever folk, but they rarely have reason to bang against someone who is taking steps to protect their Internet connection when they can instead pick on your grandparent’s poorly secured connection.
Let us know if you have any other methods for testing the security of your Internet connection.