It is very important to secure your computer—just like you would secure your house or car. Your computer can be completely taken over without your permission or knowledge if it is vulnerable and connected to the Internet. Hackers constantly scan the Internet looking for vulnerable hosts, and a computer can be infected by a worm or virus within 15 minutes of connecting to the Internet if certain precautions are not taken.
If your computer becomes infected and starts sending spam, attempts to infect other computers, or is used for other malicious activity, MegaPath may be forced to suspend or terminate your service.
You can avoid most common infections by taking just a few simple steps detailed here.
Note: Network and systems security is a very broad topic. MegaPath wishes to provide some simple steps you can take to limit your exposure to most common security vulnerabilities. This information is by no means conclusive.
Any computer connected to the Internet must have a firewall. The most effective firewalls are network devices dedicated to this task, but software firewalls installed on your computer can be sufficient if you are only protecting one computer at a time. All modern operating systems include a software firewall and third-party firewalls are also available from multiple software vendors.
Anti-virus software is critical to protect your computer from malicious downloads and email attachments. There are many vendors that offer anti-virus software, and some of them are even free for personal, non-commercial use.
Operating System Patches
Operating systems need to be patched occasionally, just like any other piece of software. These patches protect your system from known threats and improve performance and usability. All modern operating systems offer free patches from the operating system vendor’s websites. In most cases, they can be downloaded and installed automatically on a set schedule without any user intervention.
You are responsible for what anyone does through your Wi-Fi connection. If you allow anonymous people to connect to your Wi-Fi access point, they could use it to read your traffic, hack your computer, or use your connection to break the law. Check your access point vendor’s website or documentation for more information on enabling these features.
Use the strongest encryption available on your access point. Legacy encryption is relatively easy to crack. Without encryption, a hacker within the range of the access point can read your traffic and passwords.
Change and Disable the SSID
By default, most access points broadcast a SSID, which identifies the device. Change this SSID and disable the broadcast to prevent abuse.
Use MAC Address Filtering
Many access points allow you to create a list of computers that are authorized to connect to this access point based on the MAC address on the network interface. This is an effective way to control access.
Update the Firmware
Check your vendor’s web site to ensure you are using a current version of the access point’s firmware. These updates will help minimize vulnerabilities. This can often be updated online.
A phishing email is an email that is forged to look like an email from an organization with which you do business (eg; your bank, your ISP, etc) and attempts to steal your personal information. Hackers will send emails to users asking for usernames and passwords, and then take over the account to use it for malicious purposes. Here are some ways to identify these emails:
MegaPath offers a full suite of security services for small business or enterprise including anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-malware, intrusion detection, web filtering, VPN, data loss prevention, and DoS protection. Please contact us for more information.