Internet connectivity is a norm these days, and for those on the fringes of technology – those not really into it – there are dangers. Well, the dangers are there for everyone to cope with, but the savvy techies and the already paranoid already have a handle on safety protocols and behaviour.
There are two broad ways to connect to the internet; fixed and mobile. I deal with mobile security elsewhere. Here we look at network connectivity in your home. The network you have at work is similar, so what you read here is also a good primer for that. A work network should also have server-side protections, policies and security measures to keep workers and data safe. Note that I said should, not would …I’ve found numerous security breaches on audit!
Are you secure? Are all of the devices you use secure? Do you know where the weak links in your security defence are? Did you know that the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t such a great idea yet and that gadget you plugged in for home automation could compromise your entire home network?
When WPA2 came along in 2004, the Internet of Things had not yet become anything close to the all-consuming security horror of today. WPA2 offered no streamlined way to safely onboard IoT devices to an existing Wi-Fi network. WPA3 provides a fix.
Yeah, well reality bites, so don’t depend upon slick advertising or the vague promises of a salesperson when adding to your home network.
Adding a device can open a gate for a hacker to exploit, even if you have decent malware (I use Malwarebytes) and anti-virus protection (I use BitDefender).
- Malwarebytes is a complete package and has been an industry standard for many years and works well with most internet security packages. If you haven’t already tried it, go and download it, it’s free for a month. If you like it, buy from us (at a discount) to support this site.
- BitDefender is a great all-rounder to protect against virus, spam, ransomware and malware. Various other suites occasionally rank better in reviews, but BitDefender is the one that I have seen well-ranked most consistently, and trust across all of my devices. Other suites I have found to be effective are from Trend, AVG and Avast.
Do your homework and search blogs, forums and press releases related to the thingy you’re about to purchase. It could save you from a lot of pain (like identity theft, phished account information and being held to cyber-ransom).
If you’re looking for a modem because you’ve heard about the flaw¹ in the WPA2 security and just upgrading to leverage a faster service you should know that as of 26 June 2018 the WiFi Alliance announced the availability of WPA3 and the replacement of WPS with DPP.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is a network security standard to create a secure wireless home network, but has had known vulnerabilities since 2011. One flaw allows a remote attacker to recover the WPS PIN in a few hours with a brute-force attack and, with that, the network’s WPA/WPA2 pre-shared key. WPA3 provides a fix.
Built on top of several existing but not widely deployed technologies, WPA3 makes several vast improvements over the security provided by WPA2. Most notably, WPA3 should close the door on offline dictionary-based password cracking attempts by leveraging a more modern key establishment protocol called Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE)
It’s a big deal because it adds layers of security to your devices and communication that make it very, very hard for casual hackers, even over public WiFi. It’s also worth noting that the 6th generation of WiFi – 802.11ax – is on the way and it has a number of improvements.
In any case, it’s worth reading the article ‘The State of Security | WPA3: What You Need To Know‘ and having a look at their guide for securing home networks.
Never be late!
Being late for work is not a good thing. Being late for a date is a crime. Being late in updating your software is like a lemming heading for a cliff. Eventually, you will have a nasty fall.
So what can you do? Well, ensure that the drivers on your computer are up to date. Are your operating system and programs of the latest version? Do you have programs to protect you online? Are you aware of how sophisticated hackers and ransom-bandits are?
If this is too difficult for you, get help; a local geek, or even better a local tech service that is reputable and has been recommended to you. If you’re starting from scratch, choose a business that has appropriate partnerships. Not say, just a Toshiba dealer, but a Toshiba partner. That way you know they are adequately resourced and follow stringent protocols.
- Siege mentality
Most importantly – over 60% of people are had this way – are your habits online safe? This goes beyond the obvious and simple strategies of avoiding porn and gambling sites (sure, of course you don’t!).
¹ Researchers found a flaw they called KRACK, which could let attackers on the same Wi-Fi network access your internet traffic without a password. Device manufacturers released patches for the problem, and the Wi-Fi alliance required all new routers to be tested for the vulnerability [return].