Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lock the Door at Night

Do you leave the front door unlocked when you go to sleep at night?  What about your home network?  Do you leave the router on?  Most likely the answer is yes, as powering it off and on regularly can be a chore.  Here's a way to leave your router on but keep your network secure while you're sleeping.   It's easy - block all network traffic from going in or out of your network during a specific time period.

Using a browser, log in to your router.  Most likely the address is  For this example, the router is a NETGEAR WNDR3400 N600 Wireless Router.  If you've never logged into your router, the username is 'admin' and the password is 'password' or 'admin'.   Make sure you set up a good password and add encryption for all your wireless devices.

The NETGEAR software is navigated via the menu in the left-hand column.  Look for the Block Services option under Content Filtering.  From there choose the Add option, which will take you to the above screen.  Fill in the values as shown above.  Service Type is "User Defined", Protocol is TCP/UDP, Starting Port is 1, Ending Port is 65535, and give the Service Type/User Defined value a descriptive name, such as "all traffic." This will block all TCP/UDP traffic on all ports.  We want to apply this rule to "All IP Addresses."  Alternatively, you could specify a specific IP address or a range of IP addresses.
By selecting All IP Addresses, there will be no Internet traffic during the times you define (in the next step) for all devices in the house.  After entering the values, click the Add button, which will take you to the Block Services screen.  Here you want to set the Services Blocking option to "Per Schedule."

Now choose the Schedule option under Content Filtering.  You'll be presented with the following screen:

As you can see, for this example, I've selected every day of the week.  For the time range,  enter your time slots in the Start Blocking and End Blocking dialog boxes.   Here it is set to start blocking any services we defined in the previous menu at 1am.  The restriction will be released at 5:30am.

That's all there is to it.  This is a handy way to keep the kids from surfing the net at all hours.  By configuring your router, you're protecting all of your devices.  Xbox, iTouch, iPad, Android, you must have one or two of those, right?  Other routers may have different menus, but they will have a way to block services during a specific time period.  If they don't, it's time to upgrade your router.

Shut your router down, so you can sleep peacefully at night.