Although most internet users recognize the value of tools like SPAMfighter, VIRUSfighter and server spam filters in protecting their computers and servers from potential attacks, there are several myths concerning how internet service providers combat spam and viruses and deal with ISP security. It is important to understand how your ISP addresses security and filters spam so that you can close any holes in their protection.
Here are three critical ISP security issues every computer user should be aware of…
Router Security & ISP security
Internet service enters your home from an outside source and is then processed by a router to send and receive information from your computer. In short, everything from the router inward is your responsibility to secure, and if you are using a broadband service then your signal is always on. Thus, the first step here is to make sure your router is password protected. This is the first “doorway” that hackers try to access, so be sure to choose a password that is unique and difficult to guess. Many times the company that installed your service will use the same password format for every home in your area, so be sure to change the default password as soon as possible.
Email Spam Filters & ISP security
If you are using an email address associated with your service provider (firstname.lastname@example.org for example) then you are likely operating under an ISP spam filter. Now there are good and bad parts to a service like this. The good news is that your ISP will automatically delete malicious emails and files before they even reach your computer. The downside is that these filter systems can mistakenly withhold emails that you actually want to receive. The key is to understand how ISP spam filters are applied, or at the very least, check your quarantine folder for files that should have made it through to your inbox. Call your ISP if you need help with these functions.
Home Network Access & ISP security
Most operating systems are designed to allow you to collaborate with other computers in your network. This is a good thing in a work environment, but it can leave unnecessary holes open in your home network. If you only have one computer in your home then you don’t need any of the default network settings turned on. Look for the file sharing and printer permissions within your control panel. All sharing functions should be turned off unless you have multiple computers running in your home. Even then, you can probably get away with turning off file sharing. This will prevent infected files from spreading to other computers on your network. You can always email files between other computers if needed.
The bottom line here is that you should not rely on your internet service provider as your only source of security, spam protection and malware. While they do typically provide protection at the server level, it is designed more for large scale attacks. The most prevalent threats on the internet come from infected email attachments and websites that have been hacked. Both of these sources typically go beyond the realm of standard ISP security provisions. This is ultimately why you need another layer of security in the form of programs like SPAMfighter and VIRUSfighter.
This is a guest post from the experts at http://internet.inmyarea.com