How to Protect Your Network Against Viruses

by Contributor

In an age when wireless home computer networks are common, it's especially important to protect your network against viruses. Viruses and other malware (such as worms) can spread quickly through an unprotected network.

Purchase and install an antivirus program such as Kaspersky Antivirus, Norton Antivirus or McAffe Antivirus on every computer attached to the network. This is the only way to protect them all against infection. Some companies provide discounts or bulk licenses for multiple computers.

Keep all antivirus programs updated. An antivirus program that isn't updated will not prevent new virus infections. Update all the antivirus programs on the network when they're installed and schedule regular updates.

Scan regularly for viruses on all the computers attached to the network. While this won't protect against a viruses, it will identify problems and give you a chance to isolate the computer before more are infected.

Enable wireless security. Having an open wireless network means anyone can connect to your network. If an unknown computer connects to your network and is infected with a virus, it could infect your computers as well. Enable Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) on your wireless router and configure all of your wireless clients to use it. Configure your wireless router not to broadcast the service set identifier (SSID) and change the SSID from its default setting.

Install software firewalls on all of your computers. Installing a software firewall is important in preventing worms from spreading in your network. A worm is like a virus, but instead of using files or emails to spread, it will exploit vulnerabilities in networked computers. Worms are often so effective that every computer on your network can be infected in minutes.

Use a hardware firewall, more commonly referred to as a "home broadband router." One of the advantages of a home broadband router is that it isolates from the Internet any computers that are connected to it. Though the protected computers may be able to connect to other computers across the Internet, computers from the Internet won't be able to connect to them. This prevents the spread of worms.

Tip

  • check If a virus is detected in a computer on the network, unplug it from the network and remove the virus before plugging it back in. This will isolate the infection to that one computer. Then run scans on all the other computers before plugging the computer back into the network.

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