Magazine Articles - 3 - Focus Magazines for Over Wyre and Garstangkeeping safe online requires three different things to be working properly
Computer Safety no. 2 :01-February-2013
I’ve explained previously that keeping safe online requires three different things to be working properly – equipment (hardware), programs (software) and you (the user). Hardware was the first element and I gave you a few ideas for trying to keep your equipment safe and secure.
This month I’m going to cover one specific piece of equipment - the broadband router. As well as keeping it safe from damage or theft, most items these days are wireless routers so these need some special care. They should always be ‘locked’ ie. protected with a special password known as an encryption key.
If your wireless router is not secure, other people can easily use it if they are within range.
This can result in other people:
- Using your download allowance, for which you have paid your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- Taking up your bandwidth – affecting the online speed of your own computers and other devices.
- Downloading inappropriate material - which would be traced to YOUR address.
- Accessing sensitive information that you may be sending or receiving online.
- Accessing any items held on your own PC/laptop
If your wireless router is not secure, other people can easily use it if they are within range.All of the above can be avoided simply by ensuring that the wireless router you are using is secured. If you are setting up a new hub/router, it will hopefully have been supplied with security turned on as the default. There are three main encryption levels available; if the router gives you the option of selecting one choose the highest level that works with your computer. The password/key will be supplied with the router, but you may be given the opportunity to change it to one of your own choice.
When you first connect a computer, smartphone, tablet, printer or any other wireless-enabled device to any wireless hub/router, you should be prompted to enter the password/key. This will enable the device to connect for the first time and normally you won’t need to do it again.
If you’re not sure that your own router (or any other router which you may be trying to connect to) is secure, get some help to check and make sure.
Next month I’m going to start talking about the software side of things, and in particular about keeping things updated.
I’ll finish with my standard reminders - there is plenty of advice available on the Get Safe Online website at www.getsafeonline.org, and if you have any questions or concerns about security, then please give me a ring for a quick chat.
- Date: February 2013
- Publication: Over Wyre Focus & Garstang Focus
- Page: Over Wyre - 38 / Garstang - 28
- Link: www.focusmags.co.uk