There were no locks on the house where I grew up in rural Wisconsin in the 70’s. And we never gave it a second thought—we knew all our neighbors. Crime was simply unheard of.
Can you imagine living without locks on your house or office today? I’ll bet you lock your doors even if you live in a relatively “safe” neighborhood. It just makes sense to take simple precautions.
That’s why my programmers and I are often surprised when clients and prospective clients don’t seem to share the same level of concern for security when it comes to their local area network.
If your small office/home office connects to the internet, it’s sitting right smack dab in the middle of a dangerous neighborhood. Oftentimes, the only thing that stands between your computers and the criminal element is a piece of hardware called a firewall. In theory, your firewall is supposed to allow you to surf the internet, while keeping the bad guys at bay.
So you might be thinking, “As long as I have a firewall in place, I’m protected—right, Dave?” Maybe—But here’s a problem we see more often than you’d expect: when firewalls come from the factory, they’re preprogrammed with a default login and password—typically ‘Admin’ and ‘Password’ or something similar. If no one ever changes the login/password, there’s a good chance that your network is vulnerable. The bad guys have tools that can crack simple passwords in no time.
This is so important that I want to say it again: If nobody changes the password on a firewall that allows for remote management, you might as well paint a sign in big red letters, “COME ON IN—THE DOOR’S OPEN.” Once hackers get past your firewall, there’s not much to prevent them from rummaging through your files, taking copies of your sensitive data, trashing your website, or worse.
If you don’t know how to change the password on your firewall, please find someone who can. Since our business focuses on writing software, we don’t typically do this type of work. But we know several reputable companies who do. If you need help securing your network, let me know and we can put you in touch with professionals who know their stuff.