How To Know If My Computer Is Secured On a Shared Network

1. Test your settings

The first tool in your arsenal is Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer. This free tool examines your Windows and Office settings for any potential problems, especially contamination.

First, MBSA will test your user account passwords and let you know if any account has a weak or disabled password, which is easy prey for hackers.

MBSA will also check many of your account settings. Is your computer set up to get automatic updates? Do you have more than one administrator account on the computer? This software will check all of that information for you.

MBSA also has guides to what settings are preferred and why. Just click the “What was scanned” or “Result details” links to read them.

Also, pay attention to your shared folders. MBSA will show you folders set up for sharing. You may have opened up some private folders in the past, so anyone on your network can access files in these folders. Make sure you’re only sharing what you meant to share, and with whom. Learn more about MBSA and download this free tool.

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2. Update your browser plugins

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Keep your browser updated. Only the latest, safest version will help protect you from infections and attacks.

But an up-to-date browser is just the beginning. You need to make sure your browser plug-ins are up to date, as well. Just like an old browser, an outdated plug-in leaves your browser and your computer vulnerable.

Open up the browsers on your computer, even the ones that you don’t use, and go to Mozilla’s Plugin checker. It will show you every plug-in installed on the browser and whether it’s up to date. Even though it’s the same company that makes Firefox, the Plugin checker works for Internet Explorer, Chrome, and other browsers.

If you want to remove any plug-ins or toolbars you find, follow the instructions I provide here.

3. Test your firewall

One of the most fundamental security setups is a firewall. Windows and Mac have decent firewalls built in, and many third-party security programs include them.

A firewall keeps hackers from seeing your computer online when they’re searching for victims. Even if they know where your computer is, the firewall keeps them out.

But they’re not perfect. A wrong port setting can send up a flare, revealing your computer or giving hackers an opportunity to slip past. If you have a virus, it might have changed your settings without you even knowing.

A port test service like PortTest scans your firewall to make sure your computer is invisible. If it can see you, so can the hackers. Click here to test your computer’s firewall.

How Can I Protect My Computers and Data When Someone Else Is Using My Network?

For extra security—and a less complex way to protect your files than on an account-by-account basis—, youll want to protect the really private files on your network using encryption tools. Our favorite encryption utility TrueCrypt can secure your entire system, a set of folders or files, or even external drives. Its also pretty easy to set up.Advertisement

P.S. Got your own security tips or ideas? Lets hear them in the comments.

Alternatively, if you have just a few sensitive docs you want to protect, use 7-Zip with its strong AES-256 encryption to zip up those files. Using 7-zip is just a matter of right-clicking to send files or folders to an archive or entering in the password to decrypt the zipped file.

For example, I have a wireless router/modem combo given to me by Verizon, to which Ive attached a more advanced Netgear router (connecting these two via Ethernet cable and the LAN ports). Because these two routers are on different subnets (the Verizon router/modem has a 192.168.1.X subnet by default and the Netgear has a 10.0.0.X subnet by default) the information sent over each of these individual networks is separated and secured, so one network can be shared with guests and the other used privately.Advertisement

Dear Insecure, We hear you. No ones stuff should be rifled through, whether youre protecting something as mundane as photos of you in a swimsuit or more sensitive information like your bank statements and tax returns. If you share your network with friends or neighbors or just want to take extra precautions, these steps can protect your most important data from prying eyes. Most of them, by the way, are similar to the settings tweaks you should make to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks, because, basically, the concept is the same: If you have any doubt at all when it comes to connecting your computer(s) to others, take a safety-first approach.

Keeping yourself safe from the kids (and others).

Normally, we think of threats as being “out there” on the internet. Sometimes, the threat comes from within our own home.

This article was originally titled “How Do I Protect Myself from My Children?” On reflection, though, it’s not just the kids you need to worry about; it’s just about any device you connect to your network: the computer your friends bring over, the “internet of things”-enabled device you purchase, the smart TV … and yes, sometimes the computer belonging to a child.

The good news is that you can protect yourself. You just have to look at your network a tad differently.

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In this article

Applies to

  • Windows 10, Azure Stack HCI, Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016
  • Describes the best practices, location, values, policy management, and security considerations for the Access this computer from the network security policy setting.

    If running Windows Server or Azure Stack HCI Failover Clustering, dont remove Authenticated Users from the Access this computer from the network policy setting. Doing so may induce an unexpected production outage. This is due to the local user account CLIUSR that is used to run the cluster service. CLIUSR is not a member of the local Administrators group and if the Authenticated Users group is removed, the cluster service wont have sufficient rights to function or start properly.

    The Access this computer from the network policy setting determines which users can connect to the device from the network. This capability is required by a number of network protocols, including Server Message Block (SMB)-based protocols, NetBIOS, Common Internet File System (CIFS), and Component Object Model Plus (COM+).

    Users, devices, and service accounts gain or lose the Access this computer from network user right by being explicitly or implicitly added or removed from a security group that has been granted this user right. For example, a user account or a machine account may be explicitly added to a custom security group or a built-in security group, or it may be implicitly added by Windows to a computed security group such as Domain Users, Authenticated Users, or Enterprise Domain Controllers. By default, user accounts and machine accounts are granted the Access this computer from network user right when computed groups such as Authenticated Users, and for domain controllers, the Enterprise Domain Controllers group, are defined in the default domain controllers Group Policy Object (GPO).

    Constant: SeNetworkLogonRight

    Possible values

  • User-defined list of accounts
  • Not defined