There are so many possible weak spots in a network that it’s hard to tell if everything is safe. How do you know if your connection is safe and where the holes are?
Here’s how to make sure that your network is safe so that you can relax.
1. Look for holes in your firewall.
The firewall is the first place to look when you want to make sure your internet is safe. The firewall’s main job is to keep people from getting into your computer through the ports. So, it’s important to test these ports to make sure that unauthorized connections can’t get in.
You don’t have to pay a hacker to break through your firewall, which is good news. ShieldsUp! and other services poke at your computer’s ports and tell you if your defenses have been broken. If your firewall doesn’t keep you safe, you should try a safer one. We talked about the best computer security and antivirus tools, so if your current one isn’t working, check them out.
2. See how good your virus protection is
Antivirus software protects your downloads so that nothing bad can get on your computer. So, it’s important to make sure it’s working and doing its job right. If you don’t have a good antivirus, threats won’t be caught as soon as they appear, and your computer will get sick.
You can download an EICAR file to try out an antivirus in a safe way. EICAR files aren’t harmful on their own, but antivirus programs are set up to find them as if they were viruses. You can download the EICAR file by itself, or you can try to hide it from your antivirus by putting it in several ZIP files. Because of this, EICAR files are a great way to test your antivirus without putting your PC in danger.
We talked about more ways to check in the section on how to test your antivirus in a safe way. If you want to know if your antivirus software is up to par, try some of those things.
3. Check your rules while you’re browsing
When you send information to a website using the HTTP protocol, you send it as “plaintext.” This means that the data between you and the target server is not encrypted.
People can look at what you’re sending and take note of any private information. This makes it risky to use HTTP on a public network because you don’t know if someone is logging your information.
On the other hand, your data is encrypted by HTTPS. When you log in to a website, you usually use HTTPS to hide your information. You can tell if a website uses HTTPS by looking at the URL. If your connection is safe, the URL will start with “HTTPS.”
Your browser may also show an icon next to the address bar to let you know that your data is encrypted. For example, Google Chrome will show a small padlock to let you know that it is using HTTPS.
Be sure to check the protocol when you log into a website. If HTTPS is used, it is safe to log in. If you don’t see the lock, the site is using HTTP, which means it’s not safe.
If this happens when you try to go to a popular site, it’s likely that malware has sent you to a fake site that looks just like the real one. This is done so that hackers can get your login information and get into your real account on the real website.
HTTPS Everywhere is a good place to start if you want to use HTTPS on as many websites as possible. This add-on works with most of the popular browsers and forces HTTPS on all websites that support it.
4. Keep hackers out of your router
Your router is the hub of your Internet connection at home. It controls who can use your connection and who can’t, which makes it a prime target for hackers. Because of this, you should make sure your router is safe so you don’t have any problems in the future.
For one thing, make sure your Wi-Fi key is WPA2. If you got your router about six months ago, it’s likely that it has been using WPA2 since you got it. Older models will use WPA, or worse, WEP. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t use WEP, so if your router does, make sure to get a new one.
Is your network safe from hackers getting into passwords? If you’re not sure, check your router’s passwords again. You need to check both the password to get into the network and the password that gives you admin access to the router.
Hackers can’t get into routers these days because each model has a random password. Older or cheaper models, on the other hand, are more likely to come with default usernames and passwords, like “username: admin, password: admin.” If yours has this, change it as soon as possible!
You can also change the SSID of your router if you’re worried. By default, your router broadcasts a name that lets people know what model it is. If hackers find a flaw in your model of router, your SSID will show that you have a router that is easy to hack.
Hackers will have a harder time breaking your security if they can’t figure out what model your router is.
5. Look for leaks in your VPN connection.
Is your Domain Name System (DNS) connection safe from DNS leaks? If you use a virtual private network (VPN), it’s a good idea to make sure it’s not giving away your real location. If you don’t know what “VPN” means, you don’t have to worry about this step. Instead, why not find out why you need a VPN and what it means?
If you do use a VPN, you can use IP Leak to make sure that the service is hiding you. This will poke at your traffic to make sure that your VPN connection is safe and doesn’t “leak” your real information. If you go to the site without a VPN, it will show you everything it knows about your connection.
After you turn on the VPN and go back to the site, it should show the VPN’s server information instead of yours. If you can see your information, it means that your VPN is not protecting your connection well enough.
Making sure your connection is secure
A hacker can break into your connection in many different ways. There’s no need to worry, but you can make sure your connection is safe to use by running a few simple tests.
If you want to go a step further, you could learn some easy ways to keep your router safe.
If you do that, it will really help lock down your home Wi-Fi.