More se­cu­rity set­tings

Your de­vices con­nect to the in­ter­net us­ing a series of vir­tual ports, with dif­fer­ent ports used by dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions and ser­vices.

APC Australia - - Superguide Secure Your Digital Ecosystem -

Some are stan­dard­ised — for ex­am­ple, port 80 pro­vides con­nec­tions to the web, while port 25 is used by SMTP email servers — but oth­ers are al­lo­cated on an ap­pli­ca­tion-by-ap­pli­ca­tion ba­sis (if you want to ac­cess your Plex Me­dia Server over the in­ter­net, for ex­am­ple, you need to con­nect through port 32,400).

In the past, you had to man­u­ally open ports through your router’s setup util­ity, but thanks to the ar­rival of Uni­ver­sal Plug and Play (UPnP), apps can now com­mu­ni­cate ef­fort­lessly with your router and open the ports they need in the back­ground. While con­ve­nient, this does open your router to po­ten­tial breaches (mal­ware can open ports to wreak havoc, for in­stance). You should, at the very least, check pe­ri­od­i­cally to see which apps have ac­cess to your router and if you don’t recog­nise any, dis­able it im­me­di­ately to close all ports. You can then in­ves­ti­gate the du­bi­ous app fur­ther us­ing the IP ad­dress to tar­get the de­vice it’s orig­i­nat­ing from be­fore de­cid­ing whether or not you should re-en­able it.

A bet­ter ap­proach — if a bit less con­ve­nient — is to man­u­ally set up port for­ward­ing your­self. Apps should alert you when this needs to be done, and you can fol­low the step-by-step guide at the bot­tom of this page to see what in­for­ma­tion needs to be set up for each port.

One fi­nal thing: check your router’s sup­port web­site to see if any firmware up­dates are avail­able for it. Th­ese can add more fea­tures, but may also con­tain se­cu­rity fixes. In­stalling an up­date usu­ally in­volves down­load­ing the up­date file to your PC, then up­load­ing it man­u­ally to your router’s con­fig­u­ra­tion util­ity where it’s then ap­plied. Be sure to back up or record your set­tings be­fore do­ing so, in case the up­date wipes them out.

“You should, at the very least, check pe­ri­od­i­cally to see which apps have ac­cess to your router and if you don’t recog­nise any, dis­able it im­me­di­ately to close all ports.”

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