5 Ways to Check If Your Network Is Secure
Keeping your internet connection secure is vital for maximizing your online experience. Learn how to check it for safety.
It's difficult to know if a network is properly secured when there are so many potential weak points. Is your connection secure, and how would you know if it has flaws?
Here's how to see if your network is secure so you can stay assured.
1. Test Your Firewall for Weaknesses
The firewall is the first port of call for checking your internet security. The firewall's primary function is to protect your computer's ports from unauthorized visitors. As a result, it's a good idea to test these ports to ensure that no unauthorized connections get through.
Fortunately, you don't have to pay a hacker to break into your firewall. ShieldsUp! services probe your computer's ports and report back if it breaches your defenses. If your firewall isn't protecting you, it's time to upgrade to a more secure one. We discussed the best computer security and antivirus software, so be sure to check them out if your current one fails you.
2. Test Your Antivirus Strength
Antivirus software secures your downloads, ensuring that nothing malicious enters your system. As a result, it's a good idea to make sure it's active and doing its job. A bad antivirus will not detect threats as they appear and will allow them to infect your computer.
You can use an EICAR file to test an antivirus safely. EICAR files are harmless in and of themselves, but antivirus software has been trained to detect them as if they were viruses. The EICAR file can be downloaded on its own or in layers of ZIP files to avoid detection by antivirus software. As a result, EICAR files are an excellent way to test your antivirus without exposing your computer to actual threats.
We covered more ways to check in the ways to safely test your antivirus. If you're wondering if your antivirus is up to par, be sure to try some of those methods
3. Check Your Protocol While Browsing
When you send data to a website that uses the HTTP protocol, it's sent as what's called "plaintext." This means there's nothing that encrypts the data between you and the target server.
People can snoop on what you're sending and record any sensitive information. This makes HTTP dangerous to use on a public network because you never know who is logging your data.
HTTPS, on the other hand, encrypts your data. When you log into a website, HTTPS is typically used to keep your information private. You can tell if a website uses HTTPS by looking at the URL; if your connection is secure, it should begin with "HTTPS."
Browsers may also display an icon next to the address bar to indicate that your data has been encrypted. Google Chrome, for example, will display a small padlock to indicate that it is using HTTPS.
When logging into a website, make sure to look at the protocol. You can log in safely if it uses HTTPS. If you don't see the lock, the website is HTTP—and thus unsafe.
If this happens when you visit a popular website, malware is likely to have redirected you to a fake website that looks exactly like the real thing. This is done so that hackers can obtain your login information and gain access to your actual account on the website.
4. Secure Your Router From Hackers
Your router serves as the central hub for your internet connection at home. It controls who can and cannot use your connection, making it a prime target for hackers. As a result, it's worthwhile to secure your router to avoid future headaches.
For starters, make sure your Wi-Fi key is WPA2. If you purchased your router recently, there's a good chance it's been using WPA2 since then. WPA, or worse, WEP, will be used by older models. There are numerous reasons why you should not use WEP, so replace your router if it does.
Is your network safe from password theft? If you're not sure, double-check your router's passwords. You must double-check two passwords: the one used to access the network and the one used to gain administrative access to the router itself.
To prevent hacking, routers now use randomized passwords for each model. Older or less expensive models, on the other hand, will almost certainly use default usernames and passwords, such as the classic "username: admin, password: admin" standard. If yours has this, make sure to change it right away!
If you're feeling paranoid, you can also change your router's SSID. By default, your router broadcasts a name that identifies the model. If hackers discover a flaw in your router model, your SSID will indicate that you're using a vulnerable router.
Giving your router a fun name hides your model name and makes it harder for hackers to crack your security.
5. Check Your VPN Connection for Leaks
Is your internet connection protected against Domain Name System (DNS) leaks? If you use a virtual private network (VPN), you should double-check to see if it is leaking information about your true location. You don't need to worry about this step if the term "VPN" means nothing to you. Instead, why not look into why you need a VPN and what it entails?
If you use a VPN, you can use IP Leak to ensure that the service is concealing your identity. This will probe your traffic to ensure that your VPN connection is secure and does not "leak" your personal information. If you visit the website without a VPN, it will display all of the information it can gather from your connection.
When you return to the website after activating the VPN, it should display the VPN's server information rather than your own. If you can see your personal information, it means your VPN isn't properly securing your connection.
Conclusion: Keeping Your Connection Safe
There are many ways in which a hacker can compromise your connection. There's no need to fret, but by performing some simple tests, you can make sure that your connection is safe to use.
If you want to take this a step further, why not learn some simple tips to secure your router? Doing so will really help lock your home Wi-Fi down.