After the DDoS attack over the weekend that brought down many major websites on the net, it's a good idea to check your own router and make sure that it's as secure as it can be. These Denial of Service attacks rely on 'bot nets' that are actually made up of unsecure computers on unsecured networks all over the world. Here are some basic steps you can take to make sure your network is protected:
1. Log into your router. You'll find the instructions for this in your router's manual, but the address for most routers is 192.168.1.1, which you can just type into the URL bar of your browser. You'll see a control panel once you're logged in. Change the default name of it to something unique. Don't include any self identifying information, though. For example, Leo uses dead rock star names.
2. There's a default admin login that you'll be given in the router's instructions. Change that username and password. If you can't change the username, at least change that password.
3. Turn off "WAN administration." This would allow someone to administer your router from the outside world. Unless you're an IT professional who needs to administer routers from a remote office, you shouldn't have this turned on.
4. Turn off "UPnP." This is a feature many routers have that will allow software running inside the network to open up holes to the outside world. It's fine if you're playing an Xbox game and want to have a server running, but it's very bad if you get malware on your home computer and it opens up the router.
5. Turn on "WPA2 encryption." This keeps other people from using your access point, and more important, any communication from Wi-Fi can't be snooped upon by other people.