What Is Network Security?

A Person Typing on a Computer Keyboard

Why You Need a Secure Network

If you’re like most others, when you hear the words ‘network security’, the safety and security of a company’s computer system probably come to mind. And that’s for good reason!  We trust the companies that we do business with to keep our personal and private data secure from the dark web and untrustworthy. Unfortunately, even the tightest network security measures can meet its challenge to the unscrupulous. 

Even more unsettling, the safety and security in your home can be at risk. This means that you need to be on alert for network security at home too.  Wait a minute! Why do we need to worry about network security at home? Just what is network security?

Network security is a matter of protecting the availability, confidentiality, and most of all, integrity, of a computer network system the data coming going through the system, physically and virtually. So, does this mean there is a fence built around your computer? Well, not a physical fence, but an invisible fence of sorts perhaps. 

So, what is included in having a network security system? 

Network security will generally consist of the hardware and software that work together within a process that doesn’t let any unauthorized access to the network system. A strong network security system keeps out anyone that is attempting to misuse or modify a system. Components used to do this include: 

  • Firewalls
  • Antivirus software
  • Intrusion detection
  • Prevention systems
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  • Data Encryption

… other security measures include monitoring the network traffic, managing user access, and more. 

Why do you need to worry about network security at home?

Consider what you do on your computer at home. You pay bills and check your bank account balance. You have emails from family, friends, and others that may contain personal information. This means your computers at home are at risk just like any business network.  Security is just as important to protect your devices and the data going across those devices from hackers and malicious attacks. 

You need network security that will safeguard your account numbers and other information from unauthorized parties that can steal your identity, leading to financial loss and more. Your computer is just as much at risk as the network system of any business when it comes to malware phishing, and other malicious content and software.

Are there steps you can do to secure your home network? 

Fortunately, yes there are ways you can keep your home network security safe, keeping cybercriminals and unauthorized persons out. Here are 7 steps recommended by the good guys in the internet world: 

1. Change Your Wi-Fi Name 

Every home network system as a service set identifier (SSID), or a name for simplicity! Wireless router manufacturers give all wireless routers a name or a default SSID. As a computer searches for wireless networks nearby, every network is listed on a public broadcast, allowing hackers a better chance to break into any network, including your home network. By changing your SSID name, aka your Wi-Fi name, you can throw a wrench into a hacker’s attempt. 

2. Strong Network Password 

Just like the wireless routers assign names, they also use default passwords, both of which hackers can guess with ease. Choosing a strong password for your home network security system is your best guard against hackers. Choose a password with a minimum of 20 characters. These can be letters, numbers, or symbols. 

3. Network Encryption Enabled

Your wireless router likely came with an encryption feature that, by default, is typically turned off. Turning the encryption setting is a strong step in network security immediately after your router is installed. WPA2 is the most effective and most recent available today.

4. Network Name Broadcasting

Disabling the network name broadcasting for public access is recommended. What good does that do? When neighbors and others are searching for a Wi-Fi connection, yours won’t be visible. Every business, including hotels, libraries, and restaurants will keep theirs visible so you can leave your feedback on Facebook and other social sites. For your home network security though, that isn’t necessary. 

5. Keep Software Updated

The firmware of a router is like any software, there can be flaws that can make it vulnerable. A manufacturer is always watching for these things and creates a fix with firmware releases. As a homeowner, install those software updates as soon as they are available to keep your home network security up to date. 

6. A Good Firewall

A computer firewall isn’t designed literally for a fire as you may have pictured. A computer firewall protects the computer from intrusions like malware, viruses, and more. Wireless routers have a built-in firewall but are typically shipped with them turned off. As you connect your computer, make sure the firewall is turned on and if it doesn’t have a firewall, you need to find a comparable solution that will guard your home network security against any malicious access attempt. 

7. Require A VPN

A VPM (a virtual private network) is a group of computers or a network of computers that work together via the Internet. Each individual has a VPN assigned to them that secures and encrypts their communications which require the login with assigned credentials. 

How do you know your home network has been hacked? 

The router manages the connection between your home’s internet-connected devices and the Wi-Fi and once the router has been hacked, a third party can maliciously attack your computer. They can steal your identity and attack it with malware and reroute websites. Some ways to know if your router has been compromised are: 

  • Your router login isn’t effective
  • Your network has foreign IP addresses listed
  • Your computer is receiving fake antivirus messages and ransomware
  • Software installations happen without your permission
  • Your ISP (Internet Service Provider)  contacts you

The indications of your router being attacked can vary based on what the hacker is attempting to accomplish. If they are simply looking for a free Wi-Fi connection, you’ll probably notice a foreign IP address. 

Can you protect your data when on a public Wi-Fi network? 

Utilizing a Virtual Private Network when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. This creates a private tunnel, and all your private data will be encrypted as it runs through the network. 

How can you secure your home computers from malware and viruses? 

A few tips that will keep your home network security safe from malware and viruses: 

  • Install an antivirus or anti-malware software and keep them up to date
  • Regularly run antivirus scans
  • Keep your computer’s operating system up to date
  • Protect your network and think before you click
  • Keep your personal data and information secure by never using an unsecured Wi-Fi
Two Women Worry About Network Security on Laptop.

Have You Been Hacked? 

If you receive any email or message that is suspicious, you may have been hacked, or an attempt to hack has been made. So, what should you do if you receive any emails or messages that are suspicious? Well, first of all, do not engage in conversation, that is the best way to avoid trouble. If you think you might have been hacked and are worried about network security in Long Island, NY, give TotalTech Repair a call at (631) 517-0021.