Friday, May 20, 2011

10 Reasons to Protect Your Home Wireless Network

Internet security is a major concern for anyone who relies upon a computer network to conduct their business. From large corporations and government agencies to the casual user on her PC, protecting your computer network has never been more important, and the stakes have never been higher. For the home user, here are 10 reasons to protect your home wireless network:

  1. Malware – Malicious software that can wreak havoc on your network is a threat to any unprotected network. Viruses, trojan horses, worms, etc. are forms of malware.
  2. Identity Theft – Hackers who gain access to your network can obtain personal information stored there which they can use to steal or clone your identity for later use – at your expense, as in …
  3. Financial Loss – The most common purpose of identity theft. Unprotected networks are vulnerable to access by intruders who can get passwords, account numbers and thereby access your money as well.
  4. Sensitive Data – Apart from financial information, there is much that can leave you vulnerable stored on your computer, such as names and addresses of contacts who may then also be at risk by compromising this information.
  5. Social Networking – There is a plethora of personal information that can be collected at common social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter which could be subject to access by hackers on an unprotected network.
  6. Adware – This is a more mainstream version of malware, with the exception that, although it is still done without the user’s express permission in many instances as with malware, it is done so by advertisers and merchants for the purpose of compiling consumer habits in order to more effectively market their goods or services.
  7. Bandwidth – Not every instance of accessing your network by unwanted parties is with the intent of harming your network. There are also those who can “piggyback” on your network, in order to gain internet access at the cost of bandwidth that you’re paying for.
  8. Liability – If you’re using your network for business purposes, you could be held liable for any financial or data losses resulting from unlawful access to your network.
  9. Power Surges – Not all threats to your network are human or nefarious by nature. Lightning strikes and surges in  -(or loss of ) your power source can be just as damaging to your hardware as other external threats can be to your software. Surge protection and/or a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is advised.
  10. Spam – Unwanted email is more than just a nuisance. It’s also another means by which a virus or malware can be introduced into your system.
Protecting your home wireless network may require investing in some security software like a strong firewall, anti-virus and anti-malware and spam filter; but the cost of not doing so can be far greater.
Author : Melanie Slaugh

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