Besides physically restricting access to your computer by locking room doors or locking up the keyboard and mouse when you are not present, there are a number of software steps you can take to prevent unauthorized access. These include both internal and external ways to prevent anyone from accessing the computer.
- Restrict in-house or in-office access to your computer with secure login passwords, preferably completely random. If not random letters, numbers and symbols, then use two completely unrelated words. An easy way to create random passwords is to pick the first letters of the title of a song you will remember. Pick two words from different pages of a book for the second method.
- Use a screen saver and require logon to restrict computer access once the screen saver is active. Set a short timeout if you are apt to be away frequently to enhance computer privacy settings.
- Block external network access to your computer with router protection. Change the default login password on your router. The router documentation should tell you what the default is. On Linksys routers it is “admin.” Access this by entering http://192.168.1.1 in a browser, which will then prompt for a password. Create a new password using a lengthy string of random letters—at least eight characters.
- Check other computer security settings on your router and disable such dangerous possibilities as remote router access. Block anonymous Internet requests attacked your computer security by enabling that router option as well. This will prevent hackers from finding the router by pinging the Internet IP address.
- Change the default wireless access name to your computer to lessen the possibility of others locating your wireless network access and use the highest available wireless encryption method.
- Ensure your computer is invisible to port access from Web hackers by regularly using a free service such as Gibson Research Corporation Shields Up! software to scan for potentially open ports and thus restrict computer access from remote users.
- Use all available computer security and computer privacy settings in anti-virus software and/or Microsoft Firewall security settings to restrict unauthorized access to your computer. Do not download software from any site you do not trust. Keep the security settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox or other browsers as high as you can without completely frustrating Internet use.