If you’re a small business owner or just someone with a laptop who loves shopping online and is addicted to your online banking, you might think that you’re not a big target for identity thieves, hackers or viruses. The truth is that no one is really safe from prying eyes when they’re online, so turn to this list of 100 tips, tutorials and resources that will help you beef up your own network security.
From anti-virus software to firewalls, follow these basic steps to protecting your computer.
- Install a firewall: Using a firewall blocks public users from connecting to your computer and can prevent certain viruses from attacking.
- Get anti-virus software: This tip is especially important if you use Windows.
- Anti-spyware protection: Anti-spyware protects viruses and monitoring bugs that scan your system and steal your information right from your computer.
- Delete suspicious e-mails and attachments: If you get an e-mail from a bogus address, don’t open it. If you open up an e-mail from an address that isn’t familiar but isn’t genuine, you should still delete it, and never open the attachment.
- Don’t download extra software from a prompt: If a page you’re viewing prompts you to download Adobe, don’t click the button that pops up on the screen: go to the original site for the program you need and download it there.
- Patch your software: When a vulnerability in your product or system is announced by the manufacturer, get a patch for it right away.
- Close down your network: If you have a wireless network, make it password protected so that no one in the apartment or building next to you can hop on without you knowing.
- Don’t let your computer save your passwords: Some sites like Gmail, Facebook and even your online banking account will ask if you want to save your password and login information. Never do this, even if it means taking a few extra seconds to type it in each time. You can even disable the "remember passwords" function in your browser.
- Download a secure browser: Firefox is usually touted as a more secure browser than Internet Explorer, but Safari and Opera may have even less vulnerabilities than Firefox.
- Go open source: If you’re pretty computer literate, see if you can manage working with a Linux operating system and open source software. It’s generally the most secure system out there and completely customizable.
Keep these security tips and guides in mind when you log on at the office.
- Pick strong passwords: When you’re away from your desk, anyone could hop onto your computer, even your boss. Pick strong passwords with lots of characters and numbers to make it harder for someone to guess your key.
- Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware is updated: If your office doesn’t have a big IT department, you’ll need to make sure updates are running on schedule yourself.
- Encrypt e-mails: Consider encrypting your e-mails if you are sending sensitive information.
- Use VoIP: Instead of chatting online or sending an e-mail, send a message or call someone using this very secure voice-over-Internet protocol.
- Delete unnecessary TCP/UDP services: SearchSecurity.com writes that these "unneeded services can be the entry point attackers use to gain control of your system."
- Monitor e-mail attachments: Never open an e-mail attachment with file extensions like .exe, .isp, .bas or any of the others in this list.
- Don’t give out your system administrator password: Keep major passwords like this one to yourself.
- Network Security for the Small Office: Small business owners may find this article about cost effective network security.
- The WAN as Security Threat: If your office computers allow access to IM’ing and social media sites, read this article to understand how they affect your security.
- Get a pop-up blocker: A pop-up blocker will prevent you from even accidentally clicking on a suspicious pop up. If you know you’ll need to see pop ups from a specific site, you can adjust the settings for that site only.
For computer use at home, remember these important tips.
- Home Network Security: Here you’ll find a good outline of basic network terms and risk factors.
- Use different passwords: Don’t use the same passwords for your office computer and your home computer. Also switch up passwords for more important sites like e-mail and online banking.
- Use a NAT router: If you have more than one computer on the Internet at your home, use a NAT router, which "enables multiple computers to access to the Internet over a single high-speed link." It also blocks incoming connections.
- Don’t respond to bogus IMs: If an instant message from an unfamiliar screen name pops up asking you to click on a link, don’t.
- Is Your Home Network Safe From Viruses and Hackers?: Check out this article and then evaluate your home network security system.
- Use HTTPS connections: Using this code when you type in a web address is much more secure than the plain old HTTP.
- Secure Your Home Wi-Fi Network: Participate in the discussion of home network security here.
- 10 Tips for Wireless Home Network Security: Writer Bradley Mitchell shares his tips for setting up a secure network system at home.
- Gmail as a Spam Engine: Learn about one of Gmail’s most recent vulnerabilities and how you can protect yourself.
- Cyber-Safety Basics: Security for Everyone: This short guide from the UC Davis website lists the most important security tips for your personal network.
Protecting Your Assets and Identity
From protecting your credit card information to blocking spam, read this list for information on keeping your assets and identity safe.
- Essentials of a Network: Network Security: This article goes over the basics of how data is transmitted through your network, so you know how to protect it.
- Low-Hassle Ways to Secure Your Computer System: From beefing up your Firefox browser to coming up with new passwords, consult this guide for low maintenance tips.
- Don’t send credit card information in an e-mail: Even if you get an e-mail from your bank asking for your credit card information, don’t respond online. Call your bank immediately to verify the e-mail.
- Scan Your Drive for PII: The Network Security Blog shares that "many people have no idea how much personally identifiable information (PII) they have on their hard drives." Protect yourself by reading the entire post.
- Antispam Group Outlines Defenses to Block Botnet Spam: Find out what this major antispam group is doing to control viruses spread through forwarded e-mails.
- Protect Your Assets from Search Engines: According to this article, hackers can use Google to find your personal information.
- Cyber Insurance: This new trend can protect your budget if you need to spend a lot of money cleaning up a virus or hacker attack.
- Phishing and Pharming 101: Protect your identity: This article has lots of great tips for avoiding online scams and making your network security system stronger.
- Protect your Computer and your Identity: Read about cyber safety basics, backing up your system and identity theft here.
- How to Analyze Security Needs: Before you can accurately evaluate your network security system, you’ll first need to understand your security needs. Read this article to find out how.
Keep child predators away from your network by understanding child safety rules online.
- A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety: This guide from the FBI is a must-read for parents of children who surf the web.
- SafeKids.com: This website features posts about child safety online and tech reviews to help parents beef up their network security system.
- SafeSearch: Filter your search results with this tool to block child pornography and other offensive material.
- MySpace Agrees to Measures to Prevent Child Predators: If your child has a MySpace account, read this article to learn how the social network is strengthening its security against child predators.
- Keep Your Kids Safe from Online Predators: This article lists several good tips for helping parents monitor their children’s online activity.
- Online Safety Guide: This great site has safety tips categorized by age, from two years old to 17 years old.
- Keep Your Child Safe from Online Predators: This article goes over recommended software and control settings to monitor for the sake of your children’s safety.
- Keeping Teens Safe Online: MySpace is the focus of this reporter’s experiments with security and safety, but it’s a good read for parents of any child who has an Internet profile.
- Web Aware Online Predators: This guide discusses how online predators work, which groups are most at risk and how to tell if you or your child is being targeted.
- Eight Ways to Protect Your Child From Online Predators: For more tips on protecting your children and your online privacy, read this article.
For reviews of anti-virus and other software, turn to this list.
- Get Net Wise: This site specializes in reviewing tools and giving tips for kids’ safety online and protecting your computer security and privacy.
- Reviews of Network Security Products: Get the lowdown on backups, Ad-Aware and more in this list.
- Product Reviews: WindowSecurity.com reviews vulnerability scanners and other security tools here.
Your mobile devices are a part of your network, so make sure they’re protected too.
- 10 Top Tips for Mobile Security: Laptop users and those wanting to hop on Wi-Fi hotspots can learn a lot about security here.
- Cracking the BlackBerry with a $100 Key: This article explains some of the vulnerabilities of the BlackBerry.
- Get Internet and Bluetooth security for your cell phone: Your mobile devices will need anti-virus protection if they have Bluetooth and the ability to get online.
- Give your cell phone a password: In case you lose your cell phone, all your e-mails and other sensitive information will remain safe if its armed with a good password.
- Tech Tip: Implement Firewalls to Protect Mobile Clients: Firewalls are good for protecting your mobile devices too.
- How to Protect Your Mobile Data: Learn how to encrypt data on your mobile devices in this article.
- Mobile Security: How to Protect Against Employees’ Bad Habits: This is a great article for any small business owner worried about careless employees getting onto unsecured networks and making sensitive information vulnerable.
Working on Other Networks
These tips and tutorials are for when you have to stray away from your customized network and hop online at an Internet cafe, a shared network or community site.
- Use a firewall: Double check your settings to make sure your firewall is on.
- Lock down shared files: Make these folders private so that they’re much harder to access from someone on the outside.
- Sign off e-mail or other logged on accounts: When you’re at an Internet cafe, completely sign off your account in case the site has automatically stored your password.
- Use a secure IM client: One of these secure IM clients will encrypt your messages.
- How to: Protect your privacy on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn: Read this post before baring all on one of these social sites.
- Turn off shared printers and other accessories: These can be an easy gateway for hackers if left open on an unsecured network.
- How Facebook is like the Bush Administration: This post from the Own Your Identity blog considers how to protect your privacy and maintain a strong security system while sharing information online.
- 5 Tips Every Traveler Should know About Internet Security: From getting portable Firefox to confusing keyloggers, this is a great read for anyone who uses Internet cafes.
- Security Tips for Net-Connected Travelers: Here you’ll find lots of great tips and how-tos for staying secure at Internet cafes and when you’re using a laptop or mobile device on a shared network.
- Create a Secure Linux-Based Wireless Access Point: Give yourself a real, secure access point wherever you are with this trick.
The following articles dispense great advice on network security, from open networks to debunking popular computer security myths.
- Safety: Open Networks Pose Dilemma: Learn how businesses and individuals need to start monitoring all of their online activity more closely.
- Popular Sites and Forums for Network Security Analysis: Use this guide to learn about other reputable sites and tools that will help you boost network security.
- Debunking Some Common Myths: You may be surprised to learn that your online activity isn’t as safe or secure as you thought.
- Top Ten Cyber Security Tips: This article urges readers to back up important files, use strong passwords and understand messaging security.
- How to Think Like an Online Con Artist: Protect yourself by anticipating what a hacker or con artist would do to your system.
- Network Security Policy: Cisco’s guide to risk analysis and preventing security breaches in your system is definitely helpful.
- How to Protect Your Wireless Network: This step-by-step guide reveals common sense tips as well as more advanced tricks.
- Tales from the Cryptographer: Protect your network against hackers by reading this article.
- How to Shield Your Network From Clever Hackers: Kim Komando’s guide for business professionals gives examples of red flags to watch out for.
- Protecting Your Network from Hackers, Viruses, and Malicious Software: Read about unrestricted server permissions, firewalls and physical security here.
Find the tools you need to beef up security by searching through these lists.
- Best Tools for a Secure Network: From administrator tools to tools used to monitor security, these are the best.
- Cool Tools for Hacker Trackers: Discover how to get updates on hacker attacks here.
- Top 100 Network Security Tools: Find open source tools for your network here.
- Network Security Tools: O’Reilly lists tools for assessing your network security system, fighting off hackers and more on this page.
- Free Tools and Utilities to Help You Secure Your Computer or Network: If you’re worried about paying too much for network security, turn to this list of free tools.
- Hacking and Network Security Tool Downloads: For a list of tools that can help you test your system, look here.
Here you’ll find news stories and sites all about network security trends and how to protect yourself from hackers.
- ISPs Tracking Everything You’re Doing Online: Read about how a British company is turning to ISPs for their marketing strategies.
- Coverity’s David Maxwell on Quality Issues in Open Source Software: Anyone interested in open source software and open source security systems will be interested in this article.
- Securing Your Network, One Zone at a Time: This story considers how some security systems aim to tackle virtual worlds and extended servers.
- Security News: Visit this page every once in a while to get updates on network security news, trends and advice.
Read these blogs and resource guides for more tips and tutorials on network security.
- Network Security Podcast: Visit this blog for summaries and links to podcasts about network security.
- Network Security Blog: Browse this blog for posts about hackers, phishing scams and more.
- ID Theft Secrets Blog: Anyone who uses online banking or who shops online can benefit from the posts in this blog.
- Info World Network Security: This site’s Network Security section has news articles and more for understanding network security.
- Own Your Identity: Here’s a blog "about owning your online identity in a world with an increasing amount of software that wants to own it for you."
- Top 5 Security Issues for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses: Make sure you’re protected against these risk factors.
- How to Configure Internet Explorer Security: Stubborn IE users can beef up security with this tutorial.
- Wifi Security 101 Course: Sign up for this course which will teach you how to manage a secure wireless network.
- Secure Your Network: This writer offers up valuable, realistic solutions for small network managers worried about security.
- TaoSecurity: This blog is "dedicated to digital security and the practices of network security monitoring, incident response, and forensics."
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