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Published on 04.12.06 by Brent Trahan

Secure Shared Material on Your Network

Learn how to secure the data on your home network so that most people can’t access it.

Large elaborate home networks are starting to become common. If you have wireless access to your home network you might want to take the steps in this guide to secure material like files and folders that are shared on computers in your network so that if someone accesses your network they don’t get to your data.

Use Strong Passwords

Windows XP is a major boost in terms of security from previous operating systems. In the case that someone gets through the protection of your wireless network you can have a second defense by securing your files with strong passwords for your user accounts.

According to Microsoft a strong password should be a random string of characters consisting of letters, numbers, and symbols that is 14 characters or longer.

By default the Administrative account has no password. Give the Administrator account and all other accounts strong passwords.

You can quickly change or give a user account a password by logging in to that account and once you are logged in press CTRL+ALT+DEL on your keyboard. Click the Change Password button and follow the directions.

If the CTRL+ALT+DEL method doesn’t work that means you are using fast user switching. You can change the passwords by going to the Control Panel and opening User Accounts. Click change account and select the account you want to change. Click change my password and follow the directions.

Make sure you remember you Administrator account’s password if you don’t use it often. If you loose that you are out of luck if you ever need to use that account.

If you want to test to see if your password is considered strong check this page out.

For more help in creating strong passwords click here.

Restrict Access to Shared Files & Folders

When sharing a folder you can limit the people you want to have access to that folder.

The first thing you need to do is create all the user accounts of people that will be allowed to access the shared folder. An example of this would be if you have a laptop that will be accessing a shared folder on a computer on your network you need to add the exact username and password of the laptop’s user account to the computer that is holding the shared folder.

For help with creating new user accounts click here.

Once you’ve created the user accounts of the people who will have access to the shared folder on the computer that is sharing the folder you can move on.

Right-click the shared folder, click sharing and security, click the permissions button.

Notice how everyone has permissions to at least access the shared folder.

Click Add, click Advanced, click Find Now, and select the user you want to have access to the shared folder.

Hint: If you hold down the CTRL key while selecting users you can select multiple users at one time.

Once you’ve selected the user(s) you want to have access to that shared folder click OK. Click OK in the select users window.

Select “everyone” under group or usernames and click remove.

Your window should look something like the one above. Give each of the people in the window full access by checking it off in the boxes under permissions. Now only those people can have access to that shared folder.

Take Steps to Secure Your Wireless Network

Having a secure wireless network will keep most people out of your network. Check out my guide Secure Your Wireless Network for details on how to secure your wireless network.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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