As broadband Internet access is becoming more and more common, many homes have networks to allow several members of their family to be on the Internet at the same time, and the risk of exposure to security breaches becomes more of a problem. One of the problems that most home users don't think about is not only the threat to their on systems, but the threat to their family, friends, business, and the Internet in general. With many new threats running loose in the wild, it is more important than ever that every computer user takes a little time to make sure their systems are secure.
In this article we will look at several different techniques, as well as different software and hardware options for you to use to protect yourself, and to help the entire Internet community. Because of the scope of possible threats and solutions to them, I will not be able to go into depth on each and everyone of them in this article. However, I hope "Battlefield Home - Network Security" provides a good road map on security, provides some helpful links to increase your knowledge, and gives you the tools to make your home network as secure, or even more secure than any network out there.
Several years ago all that a home user really needed to worry about was the occasional virus that might come in some software that they downloaded, or maybe even purchased from a store. Those days are long gone. Today the threats are varied; from "hackers", e-mail viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, and many more. Not only are their many different threats, but each one of those threats has many different goals. Their goals may include destroying your files and possibly computer hardware, stealing your personal information (such as financial data), and using your system to send out SPAM or even to launch attacks against business, governments or other Internet users. Gone is the day where all you need to do was to back up your system install an anti-virus application and you were safe.
One of the newest, and possibly the most upsetting, trend is to turn computers into "Zombies" to use them to send out SPAM. This is a major issue for all involved. First it allows the SPAMMERS (many times sending out pornographic related SPAM, or phishing e-mails) to bypass any host based SPAM filtering techniques. It also allows for the SPAMMERS to not have to bear any of the burden of cost (as low as those are) in sending out SPAM, because you and your ISP are bearing 100% of it now. Finally, it is possible it can cost you real time and real money. When certain systems or users get these SPAM e-mails they will report them to not only SPAM filtering systems/companies, but also to the ISP that the host (you) belong to. Most ISPs have strict rules (Terms Of Service or TOS) against sending out SPAM. Many times they will either close your account, or suspend it with out talking to you first. If this happens, now your Internet access is gone, and you will have to work to get it restored (which if you happen to work at home, could cost you even more money). Once you actually convince your ISP that you had no part in sending out these SPAMs, they are going to require you to fix your system before they let you back on the network. So as you can see, this can cause you major problems in life. Problems that you simply do not need.
The most important thing you have to realize about security is no one software, hardware, or other solution is a total solution. You are unfortunately going to have to use a layered approach. This will mean using some combination of hardware, software, or both (which is the best approach). Let us start with the basics and work our way up.