Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Home Networking...

posted by Scott Roche

Nearly everyone I know has a little Linksys router hooked up to their hi-speed network connection thus giving themselves a home network. Typically these also have a wireless component. What people may not realize is they have in most cases left a sign on their virtual front door that says "Please abuse my bandwidth!!". There are a few ways to prevent this from happening.

1) RTFM* - This is a rather simple rule of thumb that applies to any electronic device. I know it's time consuming. I know it may not be exciting. But if you consider what's at stake then it's really not a bad idea. The details of the rest of my suggestions may require this first and most important step.

2) Change the default Administrator password. This is one of those pieces of advice that is good for anything with a password. Since routers have the same password out of the box it's a simple matter of a cracker following the first rule to know what yours is. With it they can cause all kinds of havoc.

3) Use MAC filtering. No this does not prevent Apple computers from logging onto your network. Every network card has what is called a MAC address, a unique identifier. Most routers will give you the option to allow (or disallow) specific MAC addresses. It means a little typing on your part, but it's worth it.

4) Enable Wireless Security. This can be a little tricky so I'll refer you to rule one for your particular hardware. Look for terms like WEP or WPA (WEP is best). It basically requires your computer to authenticate itself to the router with a password. And once this is set up on both ends you usually don't have to enter the password again.

If you have kiddos most routers also have parental controls. They would allow you to close certain ports used by chat clients, games, and other problem areas. You can also block websites by name though there are software packages that would give you more control in those areas.

Disclaimer These things will not prevent determined crackers from breaking into a system, but it's a good idea to do it anyway.

FYI - Why I use the term cracker and not hacker.

* "Read the Fucking Manual"


At 2:39 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Love it. Stop the bandwidth abuse, people!


Post a Comment

<< Home