Within the private confines of their home, away from the prying eyes of co-workers lurking nearby, the average user of a home PC figures they can surf the internet without worrying about intruders. Spyware and Viruses are all that concern them, the installation of malware protection enough to ward off any stress about their computer’s vulnerability.
Yet, no matter how much we caution users against leaving their computers unprotected from malware, those pests are not the only threat to which your attention should be turned. Many home networks remain susceptible to the ill intentions of unwanted visitors.
Piggybacking ranks as one of the most common offenses, the term referring to the unauthorized use of bandwidth by an outside party. With a wireless connection, piggybackers access an unsecured network, using it as if it were their own. While piggybacking is a relatively mild transgression, usually committed by a struggling college undergrad who can’t afford internet service, it can impact the availability of bandwidth on your network — resulting in a slow response time when using the internet.
The more serious violations of network security occur when an intruder invades your network for the express purpose of retrieving private information. Housed on your network are files of all sorts, personal data that you wish to secure against snoops and thieves. Without ample safeguards in place, unauthorized users can ferret sensitive information from your network and use it for their own design.
Many people unwittingly leave their networks open, unaware that they’re leaving themselves subject to the unwelcome motives of the internet’s less scrupulous population. Protecting yourself against these incursions is paramount, and one of the most effective ways to do so is the establishment of a firewall.
Firewalls do exactly what the term suggests, erecting a wall of protection that shields your network from outsiders, blocking entry to those who haven’t been granted authorization. They can be implemented through software or hardware, to varying degrees, depending on just how secure you want to be.
For those looking to set up a firewall on their network, here are a couple free solutions that I like: Comodo Firewall, Zonealarm Free.
Creating a firewall can be an involving process. If not properly configured, your firewall will leave you no more protected than you were before its installation. Should you have any questions on how to build one, feel free to give our office a call. We are here to help you.