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What Are the Best Types of Internet Security?

Cybersecurity has been part of the conversation since the internet first went mainstream in the 1990s. The early days of the web were hampered by viruses, identity theft, fraud, and other safety concerns, making security a central aspect of internet best practices.

A lot has changed since the days of dial-up, but hackers, phishing schemes, and fraudsters are still ever-present. Even if you tread carefully online, risks like spyware and other malicious software need to be acknowledged, assessed, and mitigated to the best of your ability.

People spend their entire lives learning about cybersecurity and creating anti-malware solutions that quickly become obsolete. Let’s start by keeping things simple, so you can beef up your defenses again Trojans, worms, and anything else the dark web throws your way.

Today, we’re exploring the best types of internet security that you should add to your arsenal. Whether you’re in the market for a new router or just want to see how your security stacks up, this is a great place to start.

General Network Security

Network security involves the protection of devices and apps connected to the web.

Network security is a major concern for large corporations and everyday internet users alike. Sadly, stories about stolen data or fraudulent activity with bank accounts or medical info are all too common.

Here are some ways you can boost your network security and ensure your safety from cyber-attacks of all kinds.

Router-Based Firewalls

While most apps and consoles are well-protected from cyber threats and thieves, traditional desktops and laptop computers tend to be more vulnerable due to their direct and unrestricted access to the internet.

Antivirus programs can only go so far, and the best way to protect your network from the top-down is to use a firewall system that blocks intruders at the furthest point on the perimeter.

Instead of trying to protect individual devices and applications with third-party software, router-based network security is a necessity. While you can purchase firewalls for your existing router, it’s more effective and secure to buy a router that already includes strong privacy and security measures built into the hardware.

This way, you won’t have to configure another layer of software, miss out on updates for the latest version, and potentially leave your network and your sensitive information vulnerable to attacks in the process.

Router-level systems are more powerful, less prone to disruption, and often include proprietary features that further assist your efforts to disarm cyber threats.

For instance, the best network-level firewalls have the power to anticipate and detect cyber-attacks with the help of machine learning protocols, meaning the software accesses a database of past threats and adjusts automatically. 

This provides round-the-clock defense for information like credit card numbers, virus protection, webcam protection, and anti-spyware capabilities without the need for a subscription. 

You deserve a secure browser and a virtual private network at all times. With router-based firewalls, fewer updates and patches are required to ensure the latest, most effective cybersecurity measures for your home network, giving you peace of mind.

Smart Security Habits

Even with the best router-based firewalls protecting your network, you need to be smart about how you share information, download content and apps, and navigate websites related to financial or medical data.

These security habits entail smart password management, only buying from trusted online vendors, and using two-factor authorization features whenever they’re available.

Stop keyloggers from saving your keystrokes and finding the passwords for your social media accounts, your email inbox, and your online banking information. The more layers of encryption, the better. That goes for your savings accounts, your investment portfolio, healthcare and car insurance portals, and everything in between. 

App-Based Controls

Maybe you’ve used firewalls or antivirus software before, but you don’t know whether your investments paid off. Wouldn’t it be great to have visibility into how these systems are working and whether your network is truly under lock and key?

That’s what you get from a dedicated app connected to your router’s firewall, complete with reports about cyber threats and updates that keep you informed at every turn.

These apps also let you change settings and passwords on the fly, so you can stay ahead of cyber attackers whenever you suspect shady activity.

Don’t just settle for routers with bare-bones security features. Find a router with an app you can trust for your cybersecurity strategy that works on Macs, PCs, and any other devices in your home.

Internet of Things Security

You’ve probably heard about the Internet of Things by now and the promises of next-gen smart homes that come with it.

As is true with any type of web-related tech innovation, cybersecurity needs to be part of the conversation from the beginning. Here’s what you should know about this important trend.

More Devices and Vulnerabilities

The critical nature of IoT security is clear to anyone who learns about the technology.

The Internet of Things is a broad term representing a large collection of devices connected to the web, including devices that would not traditionally be associated with network functionality.

For example, household appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and thermostats are being added to the IoT roster in many homes, along with security systems and even automatic garage door openers.

The emergence of IoT is exciting for many home and business owners, but it can be concerning from a cybersecurity standpoint. 

Advanced Network Security

As home networks grow into full-fledged IoT ecosystems, firewalls and other protective measures will become a necessity. 

If you already connect more than a dozen devices to your network, you know that device management is an ongoing challenge. Protect your primary devices, your portable storage devices, and any other vulnerable devices added to your network.

With mesh router systems that improve widespread IoT performance, you can step up your security while ensuring every device stays safe.

Parental Controls and Restrictions

Like cybersecurity, parental controls are an essential way to keep your family safe online.

Rather than protecting your home network from exterior attacks, parental controls are about setting internal restrictions and limitations so children cannot stumble upon dangerous parts of the web.

In addition to shielding kids from harmful content, parental controls help protect your network by limiting access to areas of the web that allow for vulnerabilities, attacks, malware, and other cyber threats.

Modern internet security should be built from the inside-out instead of only creating protective measures from the outside-in.  

Content Filtering and Restrictions

If you have curious kids with access to phones, tablets, and laptops, you know that it’s hard to monitor how they use the internet.

Rather than micromanaging their screen time and looking over their shoulder, content filters can automate the process while ensuring protection along the way.

You can choose from pre-configured filters that sort by age group or content type, or you can create your own restrictions and parameters for individual users and devices on your network.

You also have the choice to set access “schedules” that limit the use of certain apps or sites during homework hours, dinner time, or bedtime.

Enforcing these controls is helpful for parents and for anyone concerned about cybersecurity in general.

Browsing History Monitoring

If you suspect that your child is hiding where they spend their time online, parental controls can help monitor browsing patterns so you can get the truth in real-time.

You can set restrictions if necessary or have a conversation with your child about smart internet use, cybersecurity, and other subjects that may be tough to tackle.

Phone Security on Public Wi-Fi

Network security starts at home, but it expands into the world when you have a supercomputer smartphone in your pocket at all times!

Consider adding another level of cybersecurity to your personal devices as you access Wi-Fi at work, on secure guest networks, or in any public setting.

How it Works

Cybersecurity is even more of a concern when you’re out and about, connected to public networks at airports, train stations, restaurants, and even hotels.

With a dedicated app like Gryphon Homebound, you can apply all your security features to any activated device, including parental controls.

All internet traffic is directed back through your mesh router at home, giving you a much-needed protective barrier. You get the benefits of data encryption, malware protection, content filtering, and more, wherever you roam.

Even when you aren’t at home, you and your family will stay protected and maintain cybersecurity best practices at all times.

Take Back Control of Your Cybersecurity

Knowledge is power, and these cybersecurity must-haves are a great first step towards securing your home and mobile devices. 

Incorporate our recommendations for hardware, software, and best practices, so you can stay protected from any online threats.

 

Sources:

Top Security Practices | Cal Poly

7 Types of Cyber Security Threats | University of North Dakota

Securing Home Wi-Fi | UC Berkeley

What Is Network Security?

The front door of your home almost certainly has some kind of a locking mechanism just like the doors of your vehicle. Inside your home, you might have a safe, lockbox, or chest that requires a key to open. 

The point is that you are surrounded by physical examples of security that will help to protect your personal belongings and valuables. Network security works in a very similar way. Only instead of being a physical lock and key, it’s virtual software designed to keep your personal information safe from outside threats. Having access control helps with data loss prevention and protecting security information. Wireless networks need intrusion prevention systems and anti-malware software. Let’s talk about security solutions that offer confidentiality and network security tools.

Why Do You Need Network Security?

Regardless of whether you are using the internet recreational or professionally, network security is extremely important. Without proper security, hackers and cybercriminals will have a much easier time infecting your network and/or devices with malware or viruses. These codes can grant them access to your personal data, financial information, and all kinds of other sensitive details that you probably want to be kept private. Wireless security is an endpoint that provides network access control and threat management. Therefore, it’s extremely important. 

Cybercriminals have become so sophisticated in modern times that even highly sensitive and encrypted data protected by national governments are no longer safe from attacks. Although you most likely aren’t at risk of being attacked by the same hackers capable of such high-profile crimes, you should still take precautions to keep your data safe with web security. 

Also many connected devices in your home are vulnerable to cyber attacks such as a connected thermostat or your smart TV.   Once the hacker has taken over one of these devices, they can sit on your network to snoop in on all your activities and launch ransomware or steal your identity as you make online purchases or pay your bills.

How Does Network Security Work? 

The overall definition of network security is relatively broad. However, network security generally refers to the process of taking preventive measures that will protect your networking infrastructure from external and unauthorized access, modification, and misuse. Basically, there’s normal behavior for your network and underlying behavior that is cause for concern. 

There are lots of different ways to achieve this goal and will often require a combination of hardware, software, behavioral analytics, and cloud services. All four of these network security types are recommended as they each perform different tasks despite having a similar goal. The three important network security types break down as follows:

Hardware 

The most common example of network security hardware would be the router with built-in network firewall that you use to create your Wi-Fi network. Routers are often the first line of defense from cyber-attacks because they are responsible for connecting your devices to your modem. Since they act as the intermediary between the two devices, routers with built-in firewall can help to filter out potential threats that might have made it into your modem. 

Software

Arguably the most famous type of network security comes in the form of software. This level of security will typically come in the form of anti-malware, antivirus, pop-up blocker, VPN, spam filters, or any other various types of virtual program designed to keep your device safe. 

Even if you are using a high-quality router that includes different types of network security features, you should still have some kind of security software for all of the devices inside your network.

Cloud Services 

The rarer of the three security types, most cloud services operate in a similar manner to hardware. By rerouting the traffic through a cloud service, you can help to scan, isolate, and block potential threats and prevent them from reaching any of your devices. The cloud service will perform these tasks before the traffic is allowed to reach your network, helping to keep your router protected as well.

What Are the Different Options for Network Security?

There are quite a lot of different options that you can use in order to protect yourself from external threats. The more layers of defense that you enable, the more secure that your data and information will be. In the previous section, we talked about the different types of security options, but this list contains a more detailed breakdown of the most effective security types. 

Firewalls 

One of the most common and popular security options is to use a firewall. They are generally one of the first lines of defense as they have the ability to isolate networks from one another. Another reason that firewalls are so popular is that they are available as both hardware and software. 

You can use a firewall that operates as a standalone device or you can download software onto the device you are aiming to protect. Firewalls operate based on one of two principles:

-Blacklisting will allow all connections to proceed with the exception of those that are specifically listed. Most firewalls will create this list automatically based on updates and information provided by the security company that you purchased the software or hardware from.

-Whitelisting will deny all connections unless they are specifically listed as acceptable. This firewall principle operates as the exact opposite of blacklisting. Although whitelisting is a bit more extreme and will deny access to a large majority of the internet, it is the more secure of the two.

Intrusion Detection Systems

An intrusion detection system works similar to the way that your immune system works. It doesn’t necessarily prevent the infection (malware) from entering your body (network), but it can quickly identify any abnormalities in network traffic and remove them. The system will then learn from this incident and use that information in the future to help prevent malfunction along with similar attacks and lessen their severity. 

Even though modern network security is incredibly strong, there are still some hackers able to gain access to your network. An intrusion detection system isn’t enough of a security measure by itself, but it can be very effective and beneficial when coupled with other network security options. 

VPN 

A VPN, or virtual private network, creates a sort of bubble between your device and the internet. Whenever the VPN is activated, all of your data traffic will be routed through this encrypted “bubble”. This encryption will hide your IP address whenever you are using the internet and effectively hide your location. 

Any information in this bubble will be inaccessible without the VPN key, which will be provided to you by the company that you bought the VPN software from. So not only will using a VPN make you virtually invisible online, it will make it very challenging to break the encryption key that is protecting your data. It is often recommended to use a VPN when surfing the internet in order to avoid possible detention by spam or hackers.

Antivirus 

Using antivirus software is one the most common examples of cyber security for your network. They are borderline essential to protecting your device. Other examples on this list will provide an extra layer of security for your network, but at the very least you should be using antivirus software to protect the integrity of your web gateway and network.

Whenever you have antivirus software installed and activated, it will constantly and thoroughly scan your device and network. The software will typically run in the background while you use your device and search for any viruses, spyware, ransomware, worms, or any other types of malware that might have entered your network or device. Once an anomaly has been located, the antivirus software will track, remove, and repair any damage that it may have caused.

Cloud Security 

As more and more data is being stored in clouds, the security for them has become much more important. Unlike some of the options on this list that focus on protecting your network, cloud security is designed to protect your data against threats anywhere that you access the internet. 

A cloud is sort of like a personal bank where you can easily store and access various data, applications, and other information. If you were to access your cloud using an unsecured network, it could result in potential malware getting through and entering your cloud. Using security software for your cloud can help to eliminate potential blind spots in your protection and keep your cloud safe and secure. 

Email Security 

One of the most common ways that malware enters your network and device is through email gateways. Otherwise known as phishing, these attacks are fake communications that are created in order to look real. An email will often appear in your inbox that will look like a legitimate message. However, by opening the email or clicking on the link that is usually found within, you put yourself at serious risk of a data breach. 

Email security places an emphasis on preventing these phishing attempts by using end-to-end encryption keys. It’s almost like using a coded message when writing a letter. Even if someone were able to view the letter, they wouldn’t be able to understand the code. Another method for email security is to use a spam filter. They will use specific filtering methods in order to identify the content and senders of suspected spam. The email is often automatically deleted and never even reaches your inbox. 

The Takeaway 

When it comes to network security, you can never have enough. The more levels of security that you use, the more protected that your data and information will be. In order to properly protect yourself from cyber attacks, you should be using a combination of security software, hardware, and cloud services. One of the most effective ways to significantly boost your network protection capabilities is to use a high-quality router that places an emphasis on cyber security. Using such a router with built-in network firewall can provide a very strong start to your security system.

 

Sources:

Significant Cyber Incidents | Center for Strategic and International Studies | CSIS

What is Network Security and Why is it Important? | Herzing

What is an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and How Does it Work? | Search Security

What Is a VPN, and Why You Need One | PC Mag

How Does Antivirus Software Work? | 2021 | US News

What is Email Encryption, How Does It Work, and How Can It Protect Your Organization? | Expert Insights

Securing Your Home Network: A Comprehensive Checklist

by Dennis Devlin & John Wu

The Internet continues to be an extremely dangerous place, and both enterprises and individuals have become more dependent on it than ever before.

The COVID pandemic has forever changed: 

• The way individuals purchase, learn and work from home
• The way companies deliver goods and services individuals depend on
• The defined physical and digital boundaries that once separated consumers from suppliers, students from educators, and employees from employers.

We have become digitally interdependent at a speed that has greatly exceeded our ability to do it both safely and reliably.

Cybersecurity focuses on protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital information. 

The recent wave of ransomware attacks has threatened all of these and dramatically demonstrated our current inability to function safely and reliably over the Internet. 

The White House has warned corporate executives and business leaders to step up security measures to protect against ransomware attacks after the large number of recent intrusions.

• The FBI Director has even compared the current situation to 9/11 in terms of its urgency.  
• President Biden has issued an Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity and directed the private sector to make this an urgent priority.

Identifying, defining, and defending an organization’s cyber-attack surface is a prerequisite to effective cybersecurity, and something I learned during decades as a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for major corporations and universities. Every CIO and CISO has the same priority. 

• Home networks have become an integral part of the cyber-attack surface of every organization that supplies goods and services over the Internet.
• Effective cybersecurity is a combination of changes to people, process and technology that reduce the potential risk of cyber-attacks.
• Gryphon offers a comprehensive home network security technology solution that combines a highly cost-effective mesh router, subscription security services and best-in-class usability that can significantly reduce home network security risk and associated support costs.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is the Nation’s risk advisor, working with partners to defend against today’s threats and collaborating to build more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future.

CISA has published a comprehensive checklist of steps that can be taken to improve home network security. We invite you to review this checklist (below) and see how Gryphon uniquely addresses each of these areas. 

We then invite you to try our solution and consider recommending it to the individuals you serve and support. It’s a win for them, and it’s a win for you and your organization.

How do I improve the security of my home network?

CISA Checklist and How Gryphon Can Help

Increasing Wireless Security with Gryphon

The CISA checklist includes steps to improve your wireless security. Follow these steps below to ensure the security of your wireless router. 

Note: Consult your router’s instruction manual or contact your ISP for specific instructions on how to change a particular setting on your device.

Gryphon Insiders Webinar Recap: Tips & Tricks, Q&A and more

Last Wednesday, Gryphon Insiders held our first live webinar. We discussed new releases, network security, and tips & tricks for making the most of their Gryphon routers. We were also able to answer some of our Insiders’ burning questions. Read on to find out more about this exclusive presentation—and, if you’re interested, how you can attend the next one.

What is Gryphon Insiders?

The Internet and the ways we use it are constantly evolving, so we at Gryphon understand that we need to be constantly evolving too. We’re not perfect, but we strive to be the best, and we’re always ready to adapt to the changing needs of our current users. 

One way we do this is by connecting with people who already own a Gryphon router. This way, we can find out what we can do better, with the guidance of the real pros—namely the parents, educators, and even kids who use our products every day.

This is why we set up Gryphon Insiders, a club for the people who love their router and have ideas about how Gryphon can improve.

Among the perks of joining Gryphon Insiders is access to our live webinars, where Insiders can ask questions and have them answered by Gryphon’s most knowledgable industry professionals. Insiders will also get personalized digital parenting tips and security advice, and may even be updated on new releases ahead of other customers. 

What kind of information can I access through Gryphon Insiders? 

To give you an idea of the information you’ll have access to at one of our live webinars, we’re happy to present you with a basic recap of our first webinar. Panelists went into great depth during the meeting, so this summary just skims the surface of the exclusive information you’ll be able to access if you join Gryphon Insiders. 

The importance of securing your home network in the (post-)pandemic era

First, founder and CEO John Wu opened with a discussion about a new product launch and a big upcoming software update, which includes new data insights and additional machine learning features. 

He then briefly discussed the necessity of securing home networks, especially in recent months. “If you really think about it, our home networks are becoming enterprise networks. Most of you have at least a dozen connected devices in your home… Just over the past year, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of attacks that are happening. Ransomware has increased over 400%… Most of us are working at home, we’re doing distance learning, so hackers are targeting homes.” 

John then passed the mic to Consumer Security Advocate Dennis Devlin, who has worked as a chief security officer at various companies and schools for decades.

Dennis talked first about what drew him to Gryphon. “Professionals like me used to make a lot of money, still do, securing big networks. Each individual parent and homeowner now, especially in light of COVID and everything else, has to put together a network that can not only secure the entertainment that it was brought in for, but also work from home, learn from home, do all your purchasing from home, and it’s a really scary proposition.” 

He invited attendees to check out some of his recent blog posts on the ins and outs of cybersecurity, including this one which encourages you to learn what’s on your network.

“I could share with you logs, every single day, of people trying to break into our home network,” he adds. “They’re just scanning random IPs.” 

He gave advice on how to better protect your home network from attacks, expanding on points made in his last blog post. 

Setting up routers, restrictions, and how to avoid early mistakes

Next up was Senior Technical Support Manager Sarah Kimmel, who besides being a tech expert and blogger is also a mom herself. Sarah was one of Gryphon’s first customers and supporters and recently joined the Gryphon team. She was reminiscing with John about their first meeting, even before the Gryphon tower had its release:

“As soon as I met you, I knew exactly when I spoke to you that this was exactly the product I’ve been waiting for, I’ve been looking for, I was super excited and couldn’t wait until you actually had a product to release… It was exactly what I was looking for.” 

Sarah talked first about the standard spacing for routers and repeaters to get coverage over the entire house, taking a deep dive into this infographic:

She discussed how to determine if your repeater is too far from your router: Click “Network” in the app and then click the green Wi-Fi icon next to the name of your mesh repeater. If the RSSI is higher than 20, you’re good to go.

She also discussed possible Gryphon setups for families that primarily used shared devices. (Essentially, set restrictions for the age of the youngest kid on the device.) 

We then moved on to Q&A. Sarah and Allan Chua, VP of Marketing and Business Development, talked about how to avoid the early mistakes that some Gryphon users make, including forgetting to power cycle their router and modem. Dennis explained why it’s important to block access to Tor and other parts of the dark web.

Panelists were also able to answer some new questions in the chat as they came up. After thirty minutes of updates, informative tips, and one-on-one answers to our Insiders’ questions, we were ready to wrap up the thirty-minute webinar. 

Interested in joining our next live webinar and having early access to exclusive information? 

The next live webinar for Gryphon Insiders will be streamed on Zoom on June 2nd, 10:30 AM. Chris McKenna, founder of Protect Young Eyes, an organization dedicated to digital education and protecting kids. All you have to do is sign up for Gryphon Insiders. 

How do I join Gryphon Insiders?

It’s easy: just sign up here. The good news is it’s completely free, and you don’t have to give out any personal or confidential information. Every two weeks you’ll have the chance to participate in activities or challenges with fellow Gryphon users: posting reviews and stories, referring friends, and more.

Each time you complete an activity, you’ll earn rewards points. You can then redeem these points for online gift cards and other valuable rewards—like access to our webinars. There, you’ll get to participate in our Q&As, plus receive exclusive information and updates. These webinars go into even greater depth than we’re able to discuss on this blog, and strengthen connections between Gryphon and our users on a more personal level. 

We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about how we can improve our routers and software to make your life easier. Join Gryphon Insiders today. 

Ask Dennis: Information Security 101

A guide to information security

This is the first in a series of regular articles that Gryphon will be sharing to help current and prospective customers better understand the what and the why of home network security. We want to better protect the people who use these networks to work and learn from home safely.

• Training teaches HOW we do things, and the Gryphon technical team will continue to provide excellent support on how to effectively use our products and services.

• Education teaches WHY we do things. We will try to provide background information that answers many of the questions you may have about home network security and safety.

Information Security in the News

Stories about huge security breaches impacting hundreds of thousands of users of software from SolarWinds, Microsoft, Verkada, and others have filled the media in recent weeks. You might be asking yourself: Should I be concerned? Is there anything I can do to better protect myself?

Each of these security breaches were different but involved common weaknesses (vulnerabilities) that attackers found and exploited in each product. This article will attempt to explain two of those vulnerabilities: unpatched software and weak credentials.

• These same vulnerabilities can exist in the devices, software, and networks which you own and manage. You can do something about that!

What is Information Security?

Information security focuses on protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital information, as well as the devices, software, and networks used to access that information.

Confidentiality means that information can only be seen by people who should see it.

Integrity means that information can only be changed by people who should be able to change it.

Availability means that the information can always be accessed when needed.

There are three areas where information security controls can be effectively applied: people, process and technology. These are areas that we plan to address in future articles so that you can better understand what we do, and what you can do to better protect your home network and the people who use it.

• Educating and training people to make better decisions that minimize security risks.

Establishing and following processes to identify, understand and manage people and devices connected to home networks.

• Choosing, maintaining, and managing technology to properly to reduce vulnerabilities.

What are Software Vulnerabilities?

Do you get frequent notices from hardware, software, and network companies about applying software patches? Do you ever wonder what that really means and why there are so many patches? Let us try to explain:

Every piece of software starts with a specification (intended functionality). After the program is created a team tests it to determine what the program does (actual functionality). This is called use case testing and identifies features that are missing or not operating properly (traditional faults). These are normally fixed before the software is released to the public.

But some software vulnerabilities are only discovered after their release, impacting the security of your information.

The overlap of these risks could result in a breach of information security

 

Testing for Software Security

By Herbert H. Thompson and James A. Whittaker
Dr. Dobbs November 01, 2002

After the software is released to the public, attackers begin looking for things the software does that it should not do (unintended, undocumented, or unknown functionality). That is called abuse case testing and tries to discover vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit.

Once a vulnerability has been identified and can be exploited, attackers begin to use it as a tool to break into systems and disclose confidential information, alter the integrity of the information, or cause an availability (denial of service) attack.

When software manufacturers are made aware of the vulnerability, they work on fixing it and issue a software patch to correct the problem. Sadly today there are still vulnerabilities that have existed for many years and remain unpatched on millions of devices.

Every one of the major breaches described at the beginning of this article involved exploiting software vulnerabilities. This is why applying patches promptly is critically important and something you can do to reduce your information security risk.

What are Strong vs. Weak Credentials, and how do they affect Information Security?

When you meet someone, how do you know who they are? In person we can recognize the individual (see their face, hear their voice, shake their hand.). And you meet them in a context (a certain location, via other people, etc.) that further validates their identity. In addition, you may ask for a credential (like an official photo ID) that even further proves a person is who they say they are.

Until recently, and sadly even today, most Internet credentials are simply a user ID and password. If I learn your user ID and password and I can log in correctly I become you. If I learn your credit card number and the card doesn’t require anything else to use, I can buy anything I want.

In general, your identity can be proven by:

• Something you are (photo, fingerprint, voiceprint, other biometric),

• Something you have (credit or debit card, official id, security token, etc.), or

• Something you know (user ID, password, passphrase, other secret).

Each of these is called a factor of authentication. If you use only one of them it is called single-factor authentication. If you use two or more of them it is called multi-factor authentication. Guess which type is stronger? This is why Gryphon always encourages users to set up multi-factor authentication on their accounts!

Believe it or not, in one of the attacks mentioned at the beginning of this article, users had not changed the default user ID and password supplied by the manufacturer. That is one of the easiest things for a hacker to exploit. Gryphon does not allow default credentials.

Whenever you install a new hardware device, network device, or software product, immediately change all default user IDs or passwords to something that only you know and that would be exceedingly difficult for an attacker to guess. The longer and more complicated it is, the more possibilities there are, and the less likely it is to be compromised.

Dennis Devlin (Consumer Safety Advocate)

By: Dennis Devlin
Consumer Security Advocate

 

Future Articles in this Series…

In future articles, we plan to cover a range of topics that try to explain the why of information security in plain English. The author has had a long career as a Chief Information Security Officer for major corporations and research universities and knows what is needed to protect large enterprise networks. He will work to distill that knowledge into practical things that you can do to protect your home network and the people who use it. Your comments, feedback, and suggested topics for future articles are welcomed and encouraged. Thank you for subscribing!

Ask Dennis: Why should I know what’s on my home network?

There are probably dozens of devices on your home network. Do you know them all?

About Dennis Devlin: Beginning in the early 1970s, when large-scale cybersecurity practices were still being defined, Dennis Devlin was already starting to work with major institutions like Hoechst, Harvard, Thomson-Reuters, Brandeis, and George Washington University to help them secure their networks. Though he is now retired, Dennis is still passionate about cybersecurity and safety, especially as the responsibilities of maintaining a network shift from institutions to the individual. Now a proud parent and grandparent, he freelances as a consumer security advocate with home and family safety in mind. You can read more about what led him to Gryphon here.

Why should I know what’s on my home network?

By: Dennis Devlin, Consumer Security Advocate

In December 2020, a widespread Internet attack took place that involved a product from a very reputable company called Solar Winds, which was used widely on many large enterprise networks. The product itself was compromised and then used to attack multiple critical US government agencies and major corporations. This is what’s known as a “supply chain attack” and illustrates the fact that it is critical to know what is on your home network

This initial issue of Ask Dennis will address this topic for our readers. Like the TV commercial says, it’s important to know what’s in your wallet, and in many ways it’s even more important to know what’s on your network. 

But only networks in big organizations get attacked. Right?

Highly publicized attacks usually involve large, well known organizations with “information worth stealing.” Many individuals falsely assume that no one would ever attack their home computers and networks.

Attacks against large, well-known organizations are known as directed attacks, with clear targets in mind. 

There is another type of attack that simply scans every Internet address (also known as IP or Internet Protocol address) it can find to see if any vulnerabilities exist that can be exploited to gain access. These are crimes of opportunity, like trying to open car doors until you find one that is unlocked. This is why network security is so important, even in an individual household. 

But I don’t have anything worth attacking on my home network. Do I?

Every home network is an entry point to almost everything else these days: your place of work, your children’s school, your bank, your credit cards, your doctor, your merchants and more. This makes home network security more vital now than ever. In addition, a crime using your home network address covers the criminal’s tracks because it looks like you committed the crime. 

But I have a firewall! Isn’t my network protected?

Well, sort of. A firewall is like a one-way mirror. Insiders can see out and get out. In general, outsiders cannot see in and can only get in when they are invited in. Devices and software inside your network are often considered “trusted,” but in many cases they probably shouldn’t be. 

This is because while your network router and firewall do a good job turning away outsiders who try to get in, the devices you allow to attach to your network may invite them in. You bought a new computer, printer, iPad, iPhone, smart TV, smart thermostat, web camera, garage door opener, baby monitor… The list goes on and on. The day of installation it seemed like a good decision. After that, you probably forgot all about it. The device did not forget, however, and keeps doing its thing, 24/7. 

How do I know if I’m vulnerable to an attack? 

What do you know about each device on your network? Is it from a reputable manufacturer? Was it well-tested? Does it receive security patches when vulnerabilities are discovered? What exactly does the device send to a server outside your network? What exactly does the device allow back into your network? Remember, firewalls can allow external access to your network when that access is invited by a device inside your network.

On the day you first installed your home router and firewall, your home network was probably very “stealthy” when it came to your network’s presence on the Internet. As mentioned earlier, hackers continuously scan the Internet for discoverable addresses that advertise they are open and available to connect to. Available networks expose what are known as “ports” and “services” to the Internet to enable outside devices and servers to find and connect to them. 

What kind of devices can compromise my network security? Are there really that many opportunities for hackers to target my household? 

When I was a Chief Information Security Officer for large corporations and major universities, we followed multiple international information security frameworks to reduce our risk. In every framework the first step was to identify information assets, starting with which devices were connected to our networks. These were networks with tens of thousands of devices attached to them! 

My wife and I are retired now and live a much simpler life than when we were both information technology executives. When I did a scan of our home network, I discovered 37 different IP addresses that have been used at least once! Frankly, I was a bit shocked. What was going on?

I went on to identify and enumerate each device using its IP address. We have an Internet-attached picture frame from our grandchildren, a smart thermostat, our garage door opener, a weather station, desktop computers, laptops, iPads, iPhones, smart watches, printers, network-attached storage devices, scanners, and security cameras. All of the devices were legitimate! 

Think of your homes with young children: you use school devices, home devices, work devices, media players, guest devices that visitors and friends bring, home automation devices, light switches, speakers, etc. There are now even Internet-connected light bulbs and refrigerators!

Every one of those devices is a computer that could potentially open an outbound connection through your router firewall and upload and download information you never know anything about. Every one of those devices could also potentially compromise your network security if it is vulnerable, exposed to the Internet and not patched.

What if I can connect to my home network from outside my home? Does that make me safer, or more vulnerable? 

If you can connect to your home network from outside your home, your situation becomes even more complicated and potentially risky. If you can connect to your home network and devices from outside your home you are probably using something called a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN provides you with a safe, encrypted “tunnel” between your device and your home network. It is functionally similar to the HTTPS addresses you use to communicate securely with your bank over the web.

To make such a connection possible, your home network must expose and advertise one or more ports (with names like Port 443) and associated services to allow it to happen. Your home network then requires some sort of authentication—a user ID and password, a onetime code sent to your mobile phone, or something similar—to prove that you are you. 

If you can see your home network from the outside, so can hackers. If you can access your home network from the outside, hackers will also try to do so. If your authentication is an easy to guess password like “abc123,” hackers are also probably already accessing your home network. Always use the complex passwords and more than one method of authentication if you can!  

How can Gryphon help me secure my home network?

Gryphon routers were designed with you in mind by information security professionals who are parents (and grandparents) themselves. Remember that home network security includes knowing which devices are on your network. Gryphon makes it easy for you to identify every device connected to your network, and then explicitly configure and administer the who, what, when, where and why of how each device uses your network. 

Gryphon also incorporates active malware protection using both signatures and machine learning to quickly detect and stop malicious behavior by any device connected to your network. And it watches your network seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.

Beyond the Router: Meet the Team

As much as we’d like to boast otherwise, our routers aren’t a catch-all solution to every issue—rather, they’re a tool in your arsenal to help you navigate the sticky, ever-evolving world of technology. Our tech problems are changing and growing all the time. Children are being introduced to screens at earlier and earlier ages. COVID has moved our business and education experiences to the digital realm without us really comprehending what goes on there. The most effective way to combat these issues is really with information: You can’t solve a problem if you don’t understand it in the first place. 

This blog exists to provide that information. We’ll write what we know from years of tech experience. We’ll do the research on emerging issues and condense everything so you don’t have to struggle under a mountain of technical jargon. We hope that this can be your go-to site for understanding how to protect yourself and your family from online threats. Helping people with their digital experiences is what Gryphon set out to do, and our work here is an extension of that. 

The individuals on our team operate from a wide variety of perspectives and experiences. Digital parenting and cybersecurity are important to all of us for different reasons, but always on a personal level. We think these issues matter—that’s why we’re here. We wanted to introduce ourselves so that you could get an idea of where we’re coming from and what we can offer you. We hope that, with time, we can become more familiar with our readers too, and work together to better curate the content that you want and need. 

Allan Chua, Director of Marketing

Allan has personal experience with the difficulties of digital parenting

When my son was eight years old, he had an encounter with adult content online. It was completely heartbreaking. I felt like the moment he saw what he saw, a part of the innocence of his childhood was lost and we could never get it back.

I reviewed his browsing history and saw that he was not looking for any of it. Just by being a kid doing kid stuff online, he saw things no kid his age should see. It was at this point I realized that when it comes to protecting our kids online, we need to be vigilant. We need to assume that they will come across things they shouldn’t see if we don’t do anything about it. Not doing something to prevent it absolutely makes me, as his parent, a serious part of the problem.  

In the process of searching for solutions, I found Gryphon through their Kickstarter campaign even before I ever met John and Arup. Amazingly, less than one year after the tragic incident with my son, I found myself on the marketing and business development side of the company. 

Gryphon is also important to me because, while I love technology and feel able to wield all the benefits and opportunities it presents, this is not the case with my family. We can control our entire house by voice and even my BBQ grill has a WiFi connection—but my family doesn’t have the same comfort with tech. They don’t feel safe with it. I can see through the digital dynamics of my family that there’s a tremendous need to give people the power to feel safe within the technology that runs their lives.

Tara Langager, Social Media Manager

Tara grew up in the transition period of digital parenting

My parents had to learn to navigate the uncharted territory of what we now call digital parenting alone. Their version of parental controls was simply unplugging and hiding the router. I know now how helpless they felt trying to protect their children—even in those days, the Internet seemed like a force that could not be tamed.

It still does, and parents still feel a sense of urgency to protect their children’s safety. Thankfully, today there are more resources available to protect them from online threats, and Gryphon is among them.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with countless families who tried every type of parental control product, only to have their child bypass each one—except for Gryphon. We provide families with a product that not only protects their children but restores their sense of peace and safety, and that’s something I want to share with every family.

As we launch this blog, I look forward to offering parents a fresh new look and approach to digital parenting.  With the perspective of someone who has navigated the world of a digitally connected childhood, and understands the struggles for both children and parents, I hope I can provide you with a unique set of tools to help you and your family. 

Our goal is to empower parents by providing them with the most up-to-date trends and threats facing digital infrastructure. This space requires parents to always remain two steps ahead of their children. We want to foster an environment that encourages an open dialogue between parents. Technology is ever-evolving—there will always be a new source of danger and new obstacles to overcome—but not having to do it alone is a great reassurance.

Isabelle Rupani, Content Writer

I’ve been online since the age of eight, and as a child was constantly overriding my parents’ attempts to control my screen time. Now I’m struggling to monitor my own young brother as he enters a digital world that’s much more complicated and manipulative than the one I knew.

My experiences, along with those of my peers, have provided me with an intimate insight into young people’s messy, psychological relationship with the Internet. I’m familiar with the ways it can help and the ways it can hinder. I’ve learned that parents are often worried about the wrong things: For instance, making a toxic friend of the same age is much more probable than entering into a relationship with a predator, and the growing pressure to excel at and monetize hobbies can smother your child’s creativity much more thoroughly than a little online gaming.

As much as I want to warn you about the dangers of the Internet, I also want to help you see the ways in which it is valuable. I want you to understand how your children perceive it, and how you can alleviate their resentment of how you monitor their lives online. I love kids and I want to help you protect yours while also protecting your relationship with them. I know how fragile that connection can be, especially in their adolescence, and I don’t want any misconceptions about their experience to be what severs it.

I find that Gryphon makes some of the most stressful parts of digital parenting easier, so that you can focus on what really matters. I hope that through my research and experience I can help you ensure that your child has a healthy relationship with themselves, with their devices, and with the world around them.

Dennis Devlin, Consumer Security Advocate

Dennis is a cybersecurity advocate

I have been working with computers and networks ever since I was a student at UPenn in the 1960s. I spent my career managing information technology, security, and privacy at large international corporations such as Thomson (now Thomson-Reuters), and higher learning institutions like Harvard, Brandeis, and George Washington University. For most of my career, computer and network risks were something that institutions worried about. They hired professionals like me to make sure that computing and network technology risks were identified, understood, managed, and minimized.

Since then, the world of computers has changed dramatically. The responsibilities for identifying, understanding, managing, and minimizing technology risk have largely shifted from institutions to the individual consumer. This shift has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and almost no one is fully equipped to handle it, though these risks affect everyone: parents, business owners, employees, students.

I learned of the Gryphon Guardian while my daughter was searching for a way to protect my granddaughters on the Internet. The product intrigued me, and the more I learned about Gryphon the more impressed I became. I have worked with technology all my life. Technologists like me expect (and too often enjoy) complexity and detailed jargon. But I found extraordinarily little of that. Instead, I found a network security solution that seemed to be written for consumers and parents to empower them to identify, understand and manage the people and devices connected to their home networks, and by doing so minimize many of the risks. Moreover, Gryphon is not just a product, but a service that combines anti-malware protection and the rapid detection of anomalies. 

I was so impressed that I contacted the founder, John Wu, and asked how I might be able to help. The rest, as they say is history.

What Will Smart Homes Look Like 10 Years From Now?

Gryphon - Internet of Things - IoT Devices

Current smart home devices are primarily responsive to people’s commands, like checking the weather or playing music. But based on current trends, the IoT (Internet of Things) industry is steadily moving towards a future where smart devices will not simply follow through on requests, but anticipate and fulfill needs based on preferences and presets. For example, devices will potentially be able to predetermine things like the temperature people will want in their rooms, what antibiotics they might need, and more. 

This trajectory also means more new homes are being built with IoT technology, and researchers predict that 63 million American homes will be “smart” by 2022. With this increase in internet connectivity and automation in the home, there will also be an increase in technology’s access to personal information—leaving people’s private lives even more vulnerable to hackers. 

Gryphon Online Safety provides IoT device protection to accommodate this trajectory. Every connected device on the Gryphon network is protected 24/7. No software installs are needed on any of the devices in the home to be secure. When you’re Gryphon connected, you’re Gryphon protected. 

Portions of this content are a summary of an article published by TIME on July 25, 2019.

Learn more by reading the original article “What Will Smart Homes Look Like 10 Years From Now?” (https://time.com/5634791/smart-homes-future/) and/or visiting: https://gryphonconnect.com/internet-security/

Citibank Email Scam

Portions of this content are a summary of an article published by Fox News on January 23, 2020.

There is a new and dangerous scam hitting Citibank customers’ email inboxes in a hacker’s attempt to trick people into giving up personal data: first bank login information, then details like date of birth and social security number.

What makes this scam so believable?

First, the attackers went to elaborate efforts to make the email look like it was from Citibank. The design and content look genuine enough that there is no obvious reason for people to it give it a second thought—so they click on the link.

From there, people end up on a site where the scammers provided fields for customers to enter their information. The scammers even used standard Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate security measures to make it look as if Citibank took steps to protect their customers’ data, when really information was being stolen.

What is Gryphon doing to help?

If you are a Citibank customer, we are protecting you and your data from this scam targeting you by blocking connections to the scammer’s URL. So if you do accidentally click on a bad link, you won’t be able to get to the site.

But this scam isn’t the only one of its kind, and we have measures in place to protect you and your family every day from people out for your data. One of these steps we take is to automatically filter out from your browser dangerous malware attempting to gather your personal information (also known as phishing).

As a best practice to avoid scams like this, we recommend you avoid clicking on email or text links from your bank, even if it looks legitimate—call them to confirm.

Learn more by reading the original article: [New scary email scam goes after your banking info.](https://www.foxnews.com/tech/new-email-scam-goes-after-banking-info)

For more about how Gryphon can protect you and your family on the internet: https://gryphonconnect.com/internet-security/

Another Ring Camera hacked to spy on an 8-year-old: What to do now

Gryphon Blog - Another Ring Camera hacked to spy on an 8-year-old - What to do now

The hackers in this case was able to hacking in this person’s Ring account by using an existing database of already exposed emails and passwords.

There are a few very simple steps to take to avoid being a victim.

1) Update your Ring password
2) Use a more complicated password with symbols and numbers
3) Don’t use the same password as another account
4) Turn on 2 factor authentication for your Ring account if you will be using Ring for sensitive areas

This content is a summary of an article published by the Tom’s Guide on December 12, 2019.

FULL ARTICLE LINK

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WHY CHOOSE GRYPHON

DESIGNED BY INDUSTRY LEADERS:

With over 20 years of experience in networking technology and security, the Gryphon co-founders led the team that invented the revolutionary MiFi mobile hotspot technology. As much as we appreciate the benefits and convenience of being connected, we also deeply understand the associated threats.

PRIVACY PROTECTION:

Gryphon is not in the business of collecting your data. We believe your data is your property and you should have total control of how it’s stored, accessed, and used. In addition to protecting your home WiFi, we’re equally committed to protecting your privacy.

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