Navigating the Ocean of Technology - Part 3
In part 2 of this blog series, we helped you change the administration password for your router. Now it’s time to clean up a few other settings.
First, make sure you have secure connections enabled. Your WiFi-connected computers and devices get to the Internet via a radio link with your router. If that link isn’t secured, you are broadcasting all your Internet communication to anybody in range of the signal. The current best security is “WPA2.” The manual for your router will give instructions for enabling WPA2 in a section named something like, “Network Settings,” “Internet Setup,” “Connectivity,” or in the “Advanced” section.
Most routers have a default Wi-Fi password pre-set for WPA2 along with a default SSID (the name you see listed when you look for a Wi-Fi signal to connect your device). They can seem pretty secure but there are often ways for bad guys to guess the password. You don’t have to enter the Wi-Fi password often so make one that doesn’t contain words or significant numbers and make it 12 or more characters long, using upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks.
Once you have secure connections enabled, you are in pretty good shape. There are a few more things to check, though. Any service that allows a connection to your network should be disabled if you don’t have a specific use for it. These services include DLNA, iTunes servers, UPnP, WPS, FTP, Media servers, remote storage and remote management. The safest approach is to disable all those services and listen for complaints.
As an example, the Netgear N750 router has DLNA (Media Server), UPnP, remote storage (ReadySHARE) and remote management. We’ll go through the settings for the N750 but these settings will not be exactly the same for you unless you have the N750 router. They do, however, illustrate a typical configuration process.
The N750 manual says the DLNA Media Server is enabled by default. The Media Server can be disabled by going to the router’s “Advanced” menu, selecting “USB Storage,” then “Media Server” and unchecking the “Enable Media Server” checkbox.
The UPnP feature on the N750 is turned off by default. You can check to make sure it is still off by selecting “Advanced,” then “Advanced Setup” and then “UPnP.” Uncheck the “Turn UPnP On” checkbox if it is checked.
To disable remote storage (USB), go to the “Basic” menu of the router and select “ReadySHARE.” On that menu, you can enable or disable access by first selecting “Edit,” then unchecking each Access Method.
Remote Management is turned off by default on the N750 router. Check it is still disabled by going to the “Advanced” menu, then the “Advanced Setup” menu, then selecting, “Remote Management.” From there, you can check that the “Turn Remote Management On” checkbox is not checked.
If you have questions or suggestions on future topics, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook (#CompassComputerClinic). Stay safe and be happy!