TNPC One crucial security tweak…

by DanB

TNPC Newsletter
by Dan Butler

02 May, 2007

Hello

We have entered the “interesting” weather time of year here in
Texas. Tornados, thunder storms, hail, high winds, and more. It
certainly keeps things interesting.

This issue an easy to implement security tip, a helpful website
indirectly related to your productivity, and a helpful Word for
Windows tweak, a book review.

Coming soon – a special teleseminar on Identity Theft. What
concerns and questions do you have for my special guest? Let me
know here:
Click here to share your question…

First go read and comment on the previous issue at the blog:

http://www.tnpcnewsletter.com/blog/category/newsletters/tnpc/

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Internet? Then check out the new book I have been working on and
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+++———————————————————–+++

*Is Your Router/Firewall Safe? by Dan Butler*

It’s scary. Malicious websites can use scripting to log in to
your router. After gaining access to your router the malicious
site can change the configuration to do their evil bidding. One
example is they can alter how your DNS (Domain Name Service) is
resolved.

Among other things your DNS determines where to fetch web pages
from when you visit a URL with your Web browser. If I control
your DNS I can send you to a fake page when you try access your
bank, PayPal, etc. This of course opens you up to potential
theft of your personal information.

The worst part? All you have to do is view a malicious website
for it to be able to gain access to your router.

How do you protect yourself? Simple – change the default
password on your router. I know, you were waiting for some
brilliant revelation. But that is the fix in a nutshell.

You do use a router/firewall right? I am talking about your
homes high speed connection to the Internet. If you connect to
the Internet using Cable or DSL you should have a hardware based
firewall. You should also make sure you have changed the default
password on that router. Routers are not expensive and have
become easy to install. Use a router/firewall even if you only
have one machine to connect to the Internet.

My machines are connected to a NetGear WGR614:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008SCFL/tnpcnewsletter?tag=tnpcnewsletter

Is this the best router out there? I don’t know. It was on sale
and fit my needs. Most brand name routers will work just fine.

Changing the default password is something I always do – but – I
found my router had the default password some months back. What
happened?

We were having DSL problems and the router support had me reset
the router. After a lot of other troubleshooting my Internet
connection was working again. I forgot about resetting the
router and it had the default password.

Changing your router password is usually simple. The exact steps
differ from brand to brand and sometimes from model to model. To
find the steps for your specific router start by checking the
manual. If you can’t find the manual visit the manufacturers
website or call their help line.

While you have the manual handy find out how to backup your
routers configuration. Back up your configuration after you
change the password. Remember where you save that backup file.
Next write down the steps for restoring your saved configuration
and for changing the default password

Here are the main tasks you should know how to do with your router:

- Backing up your configuration
- Restoring a backed up configuration
- The name and location of your backed up configuration file
- How to reset your router
- The default password for the router
- How to change the default password
- The phone number for support

I know that looks intimidating if you don’t like to get your
technical hands dirty but really all of these tasks are simple
and within the reach of anyone reading this newsletter. You can
write the instructions for these tasks on an index card and keep
that card with your router. Makes it easy to find when you need
it.

Take a moment now and update that password. Make sure you pick
something easy for you to remember but difficult to guess.
Always test the password after you make a change.

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*Handy Tip for Using Microsoft Word*

One of the most useful features in Microsoft Word is Styles. It
is also one of the most under used. Styles can save you more
time than almost any other feature. One problem is knowing which
styles are assigned to which sections of your document. Here is
an easy way to see the styles.

Open Word and go to Tools / Options. Now click the View tab. You
will see a place to set the “Style Area Width” value. You can
type a value directly in that box. Set that value to about 0.75.
Click OK. Now choose View / Normal view. You should now see the
styles used in your document in the left margin.

I normally use “Print Layout” view so I can see almost exactly
what my documents will look like when they print.

*Interesting Helpful Website*

While looking for information on tires for my van I ran across a
very helpful and informative website. Lots of useful information
that actually answered my questions and helped me get on the
road again – literally.

So how does this relate to being productive? Keep on top of your
tires and you won’t lose time waiting on the side of the road.
Ok that was a bit of stretch. This site saved me a lot of time
and gave me confidence when I went shopping.

If you need tires or just information about this crucial part of
your vehicles performance give them a look.

http://www.tirerack.com/

+++————- Recommended Resources ———————–+++

My favorite way to look up personal information about myself and
others. I have used it for years.
http://zcat.com/qpp/x.php?adminid=8&tid=9

BANABU is 11 simple principles you can start using immediately
and easily share with others. I started applying these
principles earlier this year with myself and my family. We’ve
really enjoyed this and think you will to. Highly recommended.
Find out what BANABU stands for and discover more here:
http://zcat.com/qpp/x.php?adminid=8&tid=35

+++———————————————————–+++

Copyright 2007 Dan Butler
All Rights Reserved.
ISSN: 1522-4422

  • Casey

    Re: TNPC One crucial security tweak…
    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your suggestion on securing my home wireless router; it’s something I had avoided for a long time, and your article scared me into doing something about it.

    I’m sure you’re very busy, but if you have a minute, I have a couple of questions about this.

    1)Your article talks about a “Router/Firewall”, and I’m not really sure what the distinction is. I have a wireless router (Linksys BEFW1154); is that the same thing as having a firewall, or is there a specific piece of hardware I need? I also noticed that Windows XP has what looks like a software firewall in the Control Panel, but I’m using the default settings. Do you know if this is an effective firewall? Can you point me to some websites or documents for checking my settings?

    2) In addition to changing the default password, I activated the WEP protocol, with 128 bit encryption (my router apparently does not have the more recent protocols, which I understand are more effective). But the WEP is making it difficult for my Mac to access the internet (I have to enter a 31 character password each time I connect to my home wireless), and impossible (so far) for my PCs to access it. In your opinion, is WEP worth the hassle? If so, do you know of any good sources of info on setting up my computers so they can access the internet more easily with this protocol in place?

    Thanks for any light you can shed on these questions, and thanks again for a great newsletter!

  • http://www.QuerkeyTurkey.blogspot.com Catmoves

    I’m pretty unhappy with all these ads in the text portion of your newsletters. I recognize you have a need to make money, but this is not a pleasing way to do it, in my opinion.

  • Ken Tager

    I want to thank you for the security tip about changing the default password for one’s router. I recently got a new system (slipping under the Vista roll-out deadline by just a couple of days, rather than be saddled with the latest in memory-hogging cartoons and the woes inevitably attending v. 1.0 of anything — particularly Microsoft’s anything). My upgrade coincided with my first broadband connection, as DSL had become available in my neighborhood in just the last year — my first fixed IP address.

    I get several e-zines about PCs, but I’d become very lax about reading most, as most of the news was irrelevant to my old system, running Win 98 with a dial-up; my inbox just piles ‘em up unread. I have kept up with TNPC, however, probably because most are brief and to the point, and many are of general application (I’ve been a TNPC subscriber since back in the days of “Truth by the Naked, Gleaming Truckload,” and that it’s always been). Well, this one was right on point for this Internet ingenue. I hope I never have occasion to find out just how good a tip it was.

    Thanks, Dan.

  • http://www.QuerkeyTurkey.blogspot.com/ Catmoves

    I'm pretty unhappy with all these ads in the text portion of your newsletters. I recognize you have a need to make money, but this is not a pleasing way to do it, in my opinion.

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