Nowadays, protecting your online data is essential. Hackers are working tirelessly to gather as much personally identifiable information as possible to improve their Phishing campaigns. Simultaneously, data mining agencies are harvesting it to target you with spam and ads.
Online safety consists of several layers, and one of them is network security. Hackers can target your router to gain access to your device or exploit the public Wi-Fi network to spy on your online activities. This article overviews the different types of computer networks and provides tips on how to protect them afterward.
Primarily, we can outline six types of computer networks that differ in size and function:
This is the smallest type of computer network that is used to connect personal devices to a computer. For example, a printer and Alexa connected to a computer make a personal area network. One of the best-known personal area connection methods is Bluetooth.Also read: 10 Types of Developer Jobs: IT Jobs
This is the most known computer network type, used to connect different nearby computers into one network. This method was extremely popular before widespread Internet connection and was often used by gamers to play multiplayer. The network sometimes extends to a few nearby houses, but bigger networks belong to the following type.
These networks are larger than LANs and can cover entire cities. They can be managed by a single organization providing network maintenance services, but the responsibility could also be shared between multiple administrators.
This is the largest type of computer network. Computers can be connected into a single WAN even when separated by hundreds of miles. The World Wide Web can be considered the largest WAN because it connects computers worldwide.
As the name suggests, these are computer devices connected over a wireless connection. The best example is Wi-Fi hotspots that allow you to connect your device and use the Internet. However, such networks are highly insecure and require additional protection software, like VPNs – the last computer network type.Also read: How to Calculate Your Body Temperature with an iPhone Using Smart Thermometer
Most often called by the “VPN” acronym, these virtual networks were developed for safe remote access to a corporate intranet. Over time they were adapted for commercial use and are now extremely popular for bypassing geographical restrictions, providing public Wi-Fi protection, and increasing online privacy.
Securing metropolitan or wide area networks is extremely complex and requires senior-level cybersecurity knowledge. In this chapter, we will instead focus on what you can do to protect your personal network and connected devices.
Firstly, you should protect your router. A router is your gateway to the Internet, and if a cybercriminal manages to penetrate it, they can monitor your online activities or infect connected devices.
Routers come with manufacturer-issued passwords, but often they are weak and don’t provide sufficient protection. It would be best if you changed them immediately to something stronger. To generate strong passwords, you can use a password manager. This cybersecurity software is designed to protect all your passwords in a safely encrypted vault. Use its password generator to produce a strong router password and store it there.
Second, you should use Discussed VPN software to protect your devices on insecure networks. Cybercriminals often target public Wi-Fi networks with Man-in-the-middle attacks to spy on Wi-Fi users or redirect them to fraudulent websites. A VPN uses advanced encryption algorithms to hide your online activities from undesired attention.
Furthermore, fully-developed VPNs have additional features, like real-time online threat protection, Dark Web monitoring for leaked personal information, and secure DNS servers. One such feature is the tracker blocker, which prevents websites from collecting your browsing data and targeting you with personalized ads. Currently, VPNs are an inseparable part of any device’s safety.
Third, you can also set up a VPN on your home router to apply additional encryption to your traffic. However, it may slow down the network and change your original IP address, which is sometimes necessary. Although sometimes setting up a VPN on your home router is advisable, there’s another method.
Instead, you can navigate to your Wi-Fi router settings and turn on WPA2 or WPA3 encryption. This will prevent unauthorized third parties from eavesdropping on your online activities and extracting critical information.
As always, there are more things you can do for cybersecurity. However, our mentioned methods will protect you against the most common online threats. Hackers are always looking for the easiest grab and will not waste time if they notice you are using additional protection. Furthermore, breaking VPNs or password vault encryption is nearly impossible with contemporary technology, so you can be sure your confidential information is safe.
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