By: Think Akamai  09-12-2011
Keywords: desktop computer

PROBLEM:  Mr. Lot A. Bux, a financial advisor with a growing business, decides it is time to move out of his home office and establish a small office in town.  He has a desktop computer in the office and a laptop that he carries around with him on appointments.  Because he needs to share information between computers, he decides to network them together using the wireless technology that he’s heard so much about.   He purchases a wireless access point (a device that allows you to network two or more computers together or connect to the internet, all without wires) and sets it up with good success on his own.  He is delighted to find out that the access point he purchased comes with a built-in firewall to protect him from hackers, as much of the data on his computers is confidential.  Pleased with his progress so far, he decides to explore technology even further by connecting his home computer to his office computers by using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).  Now he can work from his desktop computer at home and access the information on his computers at work.  What Mr. Bux doesn’t realize is that by linking his home and office computers together, he has now created a hole in his firewall, a hole which is necessary to allow him to access his office computers, but also gives the rest of the world the opportunity to access his confidential information as well.  
SOLUTION:  While networking protocols like RDP are becoming easier for the average user to set up single-handedly, it is important to understand the potential dangers to internet security that come with them and the capabilities/limitations of your security equipment.  In this case, the firewall that came with Mr. Bux’s particular wireless access point was basic and limited.  While it would have been sufficient for protecting just his office network, once he went to connect a computer outside his office, a more sophisticated firewall was needed.   Instead of using an open connection between computers (i.e. the “hole” in the firewall), what we suggest is to install a firewall with a virtual private network (VPN) service and intrusion detection.  
VPN is a secure encrypted tunnel (a protected “hole”) formed between the client computer (in this case his home computer) and the firewall.  Only someone with a predefined user name and password can access the network.  This type of firewall can also be set up to shut down anyone who keeps “knocking” at your network, i.e. the hacker who keeps trying different user names and passwords to get in.  
Intrusion detection will give you a report of who is trying to gain unauthorized access to your network, and this information will allow you to take proactive steps in blocking the hacker. FUTURE GROWTH:  With this new and improved firewall, Mr. Bux not only has a secure way to access his network from home, but he now also has room for growth should he want to open up a second office with remote accessing capabilities.

Keywords: desktop computer

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