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David Strom
David Strom
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10 Tips To Secure Your Laptop

Whether you're home or on the road, these security steps will help protect you and your computer from wireless scoundrels.

Select the option to only access infrastructure networks.
(click for image gallery)
If you are worried about this, there are several steps that you can take, including disabling automatic connections and using a unique name for your home network. Go to your Wireless Networks panel, click the "Advanced" button and then uncheck "Automatically connect to non-preferred networks" and check "Access point (infrastructure) networks only."

If using SP2, configure every wireless network to not connect automatically when the network is in range by going into the "Connection" box under Wireless Properties.

2. Secure your connection.

This next tip is for your own home-based wireless network. If you don't mind having all your neighbors share your wireless connection, then just ignore this tip and keep your access point running unsecured.

For the rest of us, make sure your home wireless network is secured with WPA2 encryption, if you can. This is the strongest encryption method, and while it is somewhat cumbersome to set up, it is worth the pain to keep prying eyes from examining what is going on over your network. To support WPA2, you'll need to patch XP (and you need to be running SP2).

To set up WPA2 once you have installed the patch, bring up the wireless network properties sheet and choose WPA2-PSK from the pull-down menu.

If you can't run WPA2 on all of your home machines, then consider some other encryption scheme -- anything is better than nothing. ("Open" in the screen shot below means you aren't running with any encryption.) When you are on the road, if you have a choice, choose the wireless network that is encrypted if you have the appropriate access and a password.

Encrypt your home network with WPA2, if possible.
(click for image gallery)
3. What's the frequency, Kenneth?

If you want to get the best performance out of your home wireless network, make sure to set up your access point to use a frequency channel that isn't already occupied by one of your neighbors' networks. Of course, this can change from day to day as new people move in or as your neighbors buy new gear, so it is worth checking the airwaves around your home and seeing who is broadcasting on which frequency.

Every wireless adapter comes with monitoring software, but sometimes you have to look around your hard disk to find it. In the sample screen shot on the next page, we use the Linksys monitoring software and see which channel our wireless network is broadcasting on, along with other information such as the kind of encryption being used and the MAC address of the access point itself.

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User Rank: Apprentice
10/21/2013 | 12:47:31 PM
re: 10 Tips To Secure Your Laptop
I think you have explained all the above tips in software and hardware security point of view. Amazing tips. I am really thankful to you for sharing these tips as I have no idea about some of the above mentioned tips upto now. I have also seen some other general tips about "how to maintain laptop safely" in the post: http://www.electronicshub.org/.... I hope these are also helpful for laptop users.
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