The other day, Paul Taubman (The WordPress Help Guy) commented on my blog. (OK. Not the first time, but this comment is important.)
He said the following:
Not only is it TOO MUCH WORK to really check out a manufacturer and their security reputation, most people may not even understand what it means if they do investigate it!
I wasn’t making light of the situation- or his comment. After all, we know that our computers and our smartphones need to have up-to-date security (even if the vendors end up providing bad updates that lock up our devices). But, now, we have televisions, refrigerators, security cameras, voice assistants (e.g.,, Google Home, Alexa), toilets, the whole darned shooting match!
And, here’s the real kicker. These vendors want us to serve as our own IT department. As opposed to the desires of Bill Gates way back when (a lifetime ago in Internet Time) who wanted computers to be (here’s the joke) like refrigerators- that we’d just buy one and let it do its thing. (Which is one of the problems- refrigerators are now smarter than the computers were back when Bill made this declaration!)
Welcome to the new hell. The Internet of Things (IoT).
One such firm is named for a Stephen King nightmare. Cujo. This firm claims it can provide all the security with need with a complexity factor that won’t phase our grandparents (that’s certainly true- mine are dead!) or our kids (and my kids range from the GenX to Millenials). Plug in Cujo’s device (a $ 249, one-time fee for this firewall) and your network and everything connected to it are completely protected.
Cujo combats the Mirai botnet (and other ideas cooked up by hackers), just like the two devices I discussed last Thursday- Norton and F-secure. And, McAfee is jumping into the act- well, not really, Way back in 2016, they knew that IoT was insecure and it took manufacturers, installers, and us users working in concert. As you can see from this picture from their blog.
But McAfee is now hooking up with D-Link to provide us some secure routers. (You can bet these will cost $ 250- with a subscription fee, too.)
Comcast (one of our internet providers) is going to include Cujo in their routers soon, providing their customers some modicum of security. (Wait for it. Finally- something I can applaud about Comcast! Unless of course, they plan to use this to raise their already sky-high prices.)
So, for those of us who are willing and able to ensure the security of our IoT devices, the tasks are pretty clear. We’ll choose our IoT devices, ensuring that the ones that are in our homes and/or offices will have built-in security. For example, Google Home may be more expensive- but with the security included, the overall price for your system may be much lower.
But, then again, if folks don’t bother checking to see where their IoT device resides on the secure device continuum, you can rest assured they won’t be purchasing a secure router. At the very least, we must ensure our router has a unique user and password (again, no admin/admin or password/password), with everything on our network protected by the firewall the routers that we already have installed.
If that’s not what you have in mind, you can expect to ante up security fees that run from $ 100 to $ 250 a year.