Protect equipment, devices and data from data theft. While network security technology improves and evolves as attack and defense methods become more sophisticated, implement some security options to further protect your privacy and data.
Security is an essential aspect of networking, and no single process can completely safeguard networks from intruders; security requires a combination of approaches.
Physical network security
An overlooked element of network security is the protection of hardware devices from theft and physical intrusion.
Businesses lock network servers, network switches, and other core network components in well-guarded facilities. These measures are impractical for homeowners, but it is possible to keep password-protected broadband routers in a private location, away from neighbors and guests.
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If the possibility of data theft through physical means - stealing a computer or router - is a concern, one solution is not to store the data locally.
Online backup services and cloud storage sites store sensitive files offsite in secure backup locations so that even if local hardware is stolen or compromised, the files are still safe.
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Widespread use of mobile devices makes physical security important. Smartphones fall out of pockets, are easy to leave behind and are stolen. Some precautions will protect your devices:
- Pay attention to your environment whenever you use mobile devices and put them away when you're done.
- If your device supports software that allows you to track the device or wipe its data remotely, activate it and use a password with the device to prevent a colleague or acquaintance from looking at your files when you are out of the room.
- How to wipe your Android data remotely
- How to wipe your iPhone data remotely
- Stay in eye contact with your phone if you loan it to someone. An attacker can steal personal data, install monitoring software, or otherwise hack a phone within minutes when left unattended.
- How to protect your apps with your fingerprint
When applied correctly, passwords are extremely effective in improving network security. Take password management seriously and don't use weak, easy-to-guess passwords like 123456. Some other best practices in password management go a long way for network and device security:
- Set strong passwords or passcodes on all devices that connect to the network.
- Change the default administrator password of network routers.
- Do not share passwords with others unless absolutely necessary.
- Configure guest network access for friends and visitors, if possible.
- Change your Wifi passwords frequently, especially if you have shared them or have been discovered.
To make it easier to find and use passwords, store them in a password manager.
Even without physical access to a device or knowledge of network passwords, illicit programs such as spyware can infect computers and networks. This happens when you visit malicious websites by mistake or via a link in a phishing email.
Spyware takes many forms. Some types monitor computer usage and web browsing habits to report data to companies, which use it to create targeted advertising. Other types of spyware attempt to steal personal data.
One of the most dangerous forms of spyware, keylogger software, records and sends the history of all keyboard actions, capturing passwords and credit card numbers along the way.
All spyware attempts to work without the knowledge of anyone using the infected computer, thus posing a significant security risk to the computer and the network to which it is connected. Since spyware is difficult to detect and remove, security experts recommend installing and running reputable anti-spyware software on computer networks.
Personal stalkers and identity thieves monitor people's online habits and movements far beyond the scope of basic spyware.
using the Wi-Fi hotspot on commuter trains and cars reveals your location, for example. Even in the virtual world, a lot about a person's identity can be traced online through the IP addresses of their networks and their activities on social networks.
Privacy protection tools include anonymous web proxy servers and VPN services. While maintaining complete online privacy is not fully achievable, such methods do protect privacy to some extent. Bottom line: be careful what you share online and with whom.
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