Internet Security & The Internet Ready Toaster: Do You Really Need That?
Have you stopped to think how quickly technology has evolved in recent years? It just seems that anything will connect to the internet now.
Whether it’s your laptop, smartphone, tablet, watch or TV, and we’re kind of taking those for granted now. But now it can be your fridge, kettle, thermostat, smoke detector, door bell, car, microwave, bicycle, toaster etc etc…! And it’s this quick in-rush of, almost desperation, for the big companies to rush things to market that all connect to the internet and it’s perhaps left holes in the security they provide and many of us forgetting whether or not our network infrastructures are any good, capable or secure at home.
Most homes have a network infrastructure that comprises of bits of kit that have been forgotten over the years.
They may be routers that are provided free by the internet service provider of choice, with built-in Wi-Fi or maybe something a little better, that’s been installed by a professional, but perhaps being left behind now, running on some old software, and therefore perhaps not as secure as it really should be.
So what are the drawbacks of having a poor network infrastructure at home?
Having your equipment hacked into is one thing, but perhaps there’s nothing much to worry about here?
If you have the right devices, hopefully, the hacker will start your favourite music playlist and make some toast, just the right shade of brown. But what if they were targeting you and tapping into your CCTV to check if you were home or not, accessing your cameras or accessing your laptop for personal information? Now that’s pretty scary! Most of the devices out there will be secure enough to stop this from happening and it would perhaps need to be a pretty sophisticated criminal to go to these lengths, but my advice is to minimize your risks by first asking if you really need everything to be internet connected, such as a door lock for instance.
There are devices out there that will offer the same levels of convenience but aren’t internet connected. If you do need the device internet connected for whatever reason, put some time aside to research and choose products that have a good track record for security features and keep an eye out for any flaws that may be exposed in the future and have a routine put in place where you or someone else will apply any software patches as soon as possible. Having a good quality router and Wi-Fi system in place with the latest updates and patches applied is essential.
Aside from security, having so much kit connected to your network will usually drag the speed of your network down.
The net result is often waiting for web pages or music streaming to load or movies buffering from time to time, which quickly becomes annoying. If you have a good internet connection in place, this is typically becomes avoidable by selecting kit that’s built to deal with today’s high demands in multimedia, having good Wi-Fi signal throughout and having a system that’s capable of managing the traffic and kit connected, to give the right levels of priority to certain services, such as video, voice calls, security etc.
Speed can also be affected by your neighbour’s Wi-Fi clashing with yours or by having devices that are ‘sticky’ and keep a hold of weak connections to your Wi-Fi. These drag down the speed available to the rest of your devices. An intelligent Wi-Fi system will automatically select other channels when it detects a neighbouring Wi-Fi system is clashing with yours and do its best to release those sticky devices, as and when required, so the rest of the home devices can enjoy a faster Wi-Fi connection.
If you have the choice, always wire your devices in.
I often see printers, laptops, music systems and games consoles connected through Wi-Fi, when they’ll benefit from being wired and will reduce clogging up the Wi-Fi. If you’re buying a new device, always see if it’s possible to hard wire it into your network instead. It reduces security vulnerabilities, improves reliability and typically provides a higher speed connection.
These things are really just scratching the surface, but it’s fair to say that your network infrastructure, with the ever increasing thirst for internet connected devices, has never been more important than right now. If speed and security are important to you, it’s worth checking the type of network equipment you have in place and whether it’s good enough for your needs.
Whilst it’s impossible to say that any one system out there will 100% block every kind of hacker or that these are completely flawless, it’s certainly possible to choose something that makes it much more difficult to hack and will provide much higher levels of speed and reliability. Having a routine in place to check everything is up to date or can be updated remotely by your installer, will certainly go a long way.
If you need any help or have any concerns at all, please feel free to get in touch.
If you’d like more info on the types of network systems we recommend, please get in touch or you can see more info on the latest Pakedge and Ruckus systems in the links below.
Thanks as always!
Marvin, Simon and the MDFX team.
t. 01895 262600