Secure Routers

Written by Amy Hunter
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Regardless of the type of computer network that you are setting up, security should be your primary concern. While it is understandable to want to open up a back door to your computer so that you can connect with others, you also need to guard that back door from others who would like to sneak in.

Most routers include firewall protection. What is important to understand about a firewall is that it is only as good as the administrator who sets the controls. A firewall is responsible for controlling traffic between security zones. Properly managed, a firewall will not allow files' access to a greater security zone than the file itself. The firewall that comes with your router will likely be an application level firewall. It will inspect traffic coming in from the network, and block what it considers to be hazardous.

The key to having effective security starts with an effective firewall. The second step is to respect it. In large corporations, the firewall is set up and maintained by the IT department. You have no choice--if you cannot access a site, you cannot access a site. The problem many people run into on their home networks is not trusting their firewall or setting up extremely lax protocols. If your firewall lets everything in, it is not doing its job. By the same token, if you constantly override your firewall and allow access to sites and downloads that the firewall attempts to block, you may as well not have one.

Once you have implemented an effective firewall procedure, you can move on to other security measures. These include regularly running anti-virus and anti-spam software, routinely changing your passwords, and backing up important documents as needed. By following these simple steps, you greatly decrease your chances of losing important information or damaging your computer.

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