For first-time PC owners, keeping the machine safe and secure as much as possible are important to ensure the unhampered use and protection of critical data and information.

Network protection is also important in the digital age. Take the case of wireless networks or more popularly known as the wireless fidelity (WiFi) networks. WiFi is popular because they’re easy to install. They don’t require drilling of holes through walls or stringing cable. However, WiFi is harder to secure because data is literally flying through the air. With hackers developing newer skills, they can easily steal personal information or perhaps even take control of PC

 

 

Although an Ethernet network is safer and more secure than WiFi, it is still vulnerable to hacking. Hackers usually break into one of the PCs on the network, which can give them access to the information on all the PCs.

In response to these threats, Symantec, (Nasdaq: SYMC), makers of Norton security software, offers the following security tips for both wired and wireless networks. While there is no such thing as 100 percent absolute security, Symantec says applying these tips will give the user a more secure network.

Secure both the network and each PC

· Use the included security software that comes with your wireless or wired router to secure the network.

· Rename your network. Out of the box, most routers use their own easily identifiable names (SSIDs) that make them easier for hackers to crack. Change the router name to one that doesn’t give you or the network type away.

· Use the media access control (MAC) feature that is usually included with your router. It lets you name each PC on the network and restrict network access to only those PCs.

· Secure each PC with its own firewall, so that even if a hacker gets into the network, he/she won’t be able to access the PCs on it. If your PC doesn’t include firewall protection, good Internet security software does.

Use strong password security

· The security software that comes with most routers usually offers several levels of password protection. Don’t use WEP (wired equivalent privacy) passwords as they are easily hacked. Use at least WPA (Wi-Fi protected access) or WPA Personal passwords, or an even more secure format, if offered.

· Create hard to decipher passwords. Don’t include your name, birth date, address or other obvious words or numbers. The best passwords are a random mix of letters, numbers, and characters, eight or more characters long.

· Change your password often.

Use up-to-date security software

Internet security software, such as Norton 360™ and Norton Internet Security™ 2008, will help you maximize the safety and security of your home network. It adds security features that neither PCs nor network routers offer. Such features include firewall protection for each computer in the network, transaction security to help ensure your online shopping or banking transactions are secured, antivirus protection to help keep viruses, Trojan horses and worms from infecting your PCs, and antispyware to block hackers from placing spyware on your PC, e-mail scanning to remove viruses from email.

To maximize the effectiveness of the Internet security software, make sure it is always up-to-date so that you are always protected from the very latest security threats.

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