35 Easy Fixes for Network Problems

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Security Checklist

  1. Use a hardware router, even if you have only one computer.
  2. Change your router's default password to ensure that intruders can't fiddle with your settings.
  3. Use a bidirectional personal firewall, such as ZoneAlarm.
  4. Turn on automatic updates to keep your Windows OS secure.
  5. Use both antivirus and antispyware utilities, and make sure that you keep them up-to-date.
  6. Configure file sharing carefully if you're sure you need it--and if you don't need it, turn it off.
  7. Use the strongest Wi-Fi encryption scheme that all of your wireless equipment supports.
  8. Turn off ad-hoc Wi-Fi networking and automatic connections to networks you're unfamiliar with.
  9. Install a second router to isolate at-risk PCs on your network (for details, see "Add a Second Network for Safety").
  10. Use a VPN when traveling, to avoid picking up a virus that could otherwise spread to other PCs on your network when you get home.

For more tips on secure computing, visit the Spyware & Security Info Center at PCWorld.com.

Becky Waring is a Berkeley, California-based freelance writer specializing in wireless technology and digital media.
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