Privacy and Security News and Tips 20160830

Software is like Lego. You can make anything with it, but it may not be appropriate. — Stuart Sherman, CEO of IMC Worldwide

Weekly Tip

Protecting your Personally Identifiable Information

May you live in interesting times. When it come to technology and its impact on our daily lives, we have arrived at those interesting times. Every time you turn around we have a new “connected” device whether it be our toaster, refrigerator, TV, or light bulb, we have something new to think about when it comes to protecting our security and that of our family. The internet of things has arrived in all of its glorious geekness for us to secure and defend.


Think about your home network and how it has evolved over time form a simple dial-up connection on a single computer. We didn’t think about firewalls and security, but we also did not stay constantly connected to all that exists beyond our personal networks. Now, with everyone having an always on broadband connection, many of us rely on the “firewall” provided by our internet providers. Have your noticed they never need a password to work on it or update it, no matter who you work with at your provider. That is because they have hard coded back doors into your network. Can they be trusted? What about if someone else gets access to that information? What about the devices on your network, are they secure from the internet or each other? It is time to take matters into your own hands and think about adding some extra layers of protection to your network. The lengths you take this to will vary based on your needs, but you should consider using your own firewall inside of your network that blocks your provider getting to your computers. If you also have smart devices like cameras, lights, outlets, etc, you may want to think about a second firewall to keep all of those devices away from your computers and away from your internet provider. The image to the left shows a subset of my network, so you see 3 networks to segment different security zones. These are all set so the outside of each of my zones faces the inside of the provider and the outside of theirs goes to the internet. This can obviously be adjusted and expanded based on your needs, but in this configuration each segment allows for high levels of security and still gives you the ability to embrace the latest connected device (toothbrush).

When it comes to our security, we have to weigh the need for security and connectivity and make the most informed choices that will protect our data, devices, and privacy. Without the knowledge of what your devices will do, you may be sharing your nanny cam with the world, or allowing your neighbor access to unlock your doors and control your lights. You may be giving your passwords and voice recording to some overseas group. Embrace the technology, but make sure you go in with your eyes wide open to the probability that security was the last thing they thought of if that.

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