As the WannaCry ransomware threat spreads around the world, indiscriminately affecting businesses and individual users alike, there is an increasingly urgent need for more cyber security around the home. Add to that the rapid growth of connected devices around our homes, and what you have is an ideal scenario for any attacker worth their salt.
Today, almost every home has multiple devices that are connected to the Internet and “always online,” such as smart light bulbs, smart appliances, PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, security devices, web cameras and more. All of these make our lives more comfortable and intimately connected with the world at large. But it also puts us at a significant amount of risk that few of us realize until we’re hit by a cyber attack.
So what do homeowners need to do in order to protect their online presence? To answer that question, let’s look at what a business typically does.
On the malware protection front, there are firewalls and other perimeter security protocols, then there’s anti-malware or anti-virus detection and remediation software, and then coding and other security specs, followed by data encryption and rights management, and then the active monitoring, detection and remediation part.
The diagram below will give you a snapshot of the typical “layered” security of most businesses around the world. Of course, this is merely a primitive illustration to help us understand what’s required, but it serves our purpose.
Now, as a homeowner, you’re probably wondering: why in heck would I need that sort of protection? You actually don’t. Or, more accurately, a lot of this is already a part of the online ecosystem around your home.
For example, if you store your files on Google Drive or OneDrive or iCloud, your data is already given a measure of protection. And the anti-virus software installed on your system provides a decent level of security for your PC. Even the software that you use on the cloud, like Facebook or Spotify, is generally protected.
But what about the plethora of connected devices around your home?
How well-protected are your Smart TV, your intelligent refrigerator, your AI security system, your smart light bulbs, even your baby monitor – and everything else connected to the Internet? How safe are these devices?
As of now, they’re probably not protected the way they should be.
In fact, any one of these connected devices that make up the Internet of Things can be used to mount a massive attack such as the one we saw last year that took out complete parts of the Internet.
“First of all, as consumers, we need to realize that this is a very real threat. The fact that Twitter and Reddit were down for about two hours that day might not have a direct impact on your life. But the fact that it was somebody’s webcam, somebody’s smartphone or other connected device that was responsible for the outage brings the problem right into our homes.”
– Excerpt from 1redDrop.com‘s “The Real Threat to IoT Cybersecurity is Poor Planning, Findings from Dyn DDoS Attacks”
Even worse than the massive Internet outage of late 2016 is what we’re going through right now on a global scale with WannaCrypt or Wanna Decryptor ransomware. Although it primarily affects businesses, home owners are not immune to the WannaCry ransomware attacks.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for that. Think of adding a firewall-type security layer around your home’s Internet connection, and getting the kind of ransomware or malware protection that only comes with high-end next-generation firewall installations.
Imagine a device no larger than a Google Home or Amazon Echo that gave you all the following security features for every one of your connected devices around your smart home:
Safe Browsing detection
Device behavior protection
Remote Access protection
Removal of unwanted devices from network
HTTPS secure connection protection / validation
There are products like that coming to market very soon, like Norton Core or BitDefender v2, for example. But there’s already one available right now called CUJO that is worth researching.
As with most other smart home firewall devices, you basically pay for the device and add a small monthly subscription fee to keep all the connected devices around your home fully protected all the time. You also have the option of buying the device and a subscription pack outright, so you never pay anything ever again.
Additionally, CUJO also has a feature that lets you control what your kids access online and keep them safe. That’s definitely something you should have if there are kids at home old enough to access the Internet.
A home firewall today has become a critical component of smart home Internet security. From smart lightbulbs to laptops to connected security cameras to baby monitors, every device around your home needs the same level of business-grade firewall protection, keeping you much safer from ransomware and phishing attacks.
If you’re a smart home owner (read that both ways – ‘smart home’ owner, or smart ‘home owner’), this is definitely a solution you need to look into so that you, your home and your family stay protected at all times.