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S2E05: Home (in)Security, part 2

Last year we started to dig into the idea of what it’s like to be an IT professional with a strong religious, ethical, or moral point of view, who is also a parent. In that episode we discussed some of the concerns we have with technology, and how we get around those concerns. But like most topics in tech, there is a lot more to say. So today we’re revisiting this topic to extend and deepen the information we shared. In this podcast, Leon Adato, Keith Townsend, Al Rasheed, and Destiny Bertucci about parenting with a bible in one hand and a packet sniffer in the other. Listen or read the transcript for part 2, below.

Leon: 00:06 Wlcome to our podcast where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate IT. We’re not here to preach or teach you our religion. We’re here to explore ways we make our career as IT professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.
Leon: 00:53 This is a continuation of the discussion we started last week. Thank you for coming back to join our conversation.
Leon: 00:59 Okay, so I’ll, I’ll run down, uh, my setup, I’m using what, what I officially call pro-sumer. It’s not really consumer. It’s, it’s in between professional and consumer equipment. Qustodio uh, sorry, Ubiquity, uh, network year, which, um, the, the security gateway that they provide, which you don’t have to buy if you don’t want to, you can actually run it – okay. really geeky – on a container. You can run it in a container or you can run it on a raspberry pi. Uh, that’s what I’m doing. Or you can run it in a virtual machine or you can buy the security key and put it on your network. And that gives you actually NetFlow data. So you can not only tell how much bandwidth you’re using, but you can tell by, uh, by source and destination. And so you can tell which device was accessing which targets at any given moment and see a breakdown, and see a breakdown by categories. You can see how much social media traffic, how much video, you know, YouTube or Netflix or Hulu traffic, et cetera. So that lets me see that. Um, it has allows me to create multiple networks so I can segregate my IOT devices. Again, Destiny, going back to the whole Ring and Wise camera thing, I can put those on a completely separate network, which doesn’t fix the problems we were talking about, about them being hacked. But it does allow me to lock down those devices a lot more than I would my cell phones or the tablets in the house. I can have separate, you know, lockdowns and controls. Um, and unless you create filters, uh, whether they are access control lists or other kinds of filtering that you can do. Uh, I also have Qustodio on every device in the house. So every Tuesday.
Destiny: 02:44 I used to use that.
Leon: 02:44 Well you’re the one that told me about it. Uh, so that’s the one I’m using. Yeah. Qustodio on every cell phone, every tablet, every laptop. It even runs on Linux. Yay Linux! So I run that on everything. And that allows you to have per-user controls. It also lets you have really granular settings. Like I can say that my son is able to watch YouTube videos from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. And that’s it. But he can watch, you know, Netflix or Hulu at different times. And the overall device usage is up to four hours a day and after four hours it shuts down. And you know, on Saturdays there’s absolutely no usage until after sundown because obviously he shouldn’t be using it. But Keith, to your point, temptation is temptation. You never know. So it lets you have really granular controls about the who, the what and the where that devices and that follows my kids everywhere they go that use the device. So it doesn’t matter if they’re inside my house or outside my house. Qustodio goes with them. And it does give you some other really nice benefits, like Destiny you told me about, uh, your daughter was in, uh, an accident and you knew immediately she couldn’t tell you where she was, but her phone was able to tell you where it was and you were able to get there really quickly because you know, your daughter who was already sort of in crisis and not able to process the information, wasn’t able to give over that information. So it has a lot of,
Destiny: 04:16 Yeah, I got an alert immediately that something had happened and I had a kid see her GPS location, knew everything that was going on and I was already on my way to get her before she even found her phone.
Leon: 04:27 So yeah, it’s really, really good stuff. So Qustodio goes on every device. Ubiquity is the network gear. I have a little app called pi-hole, which will, uh, run on a Linux machine or you can run it again on a raspberry pi. It was meant for raspberry pi, hence the name pie hole. And what that does, it’s, it’s security, but it’s also almost an internet speed up. It filters out, uh, spam ads that come into your house. They just never come into your house. The pie hole captures them. So you’ll see a page and there’s gonna be three ads you can see. And two, you can’t because the two, you can’t were span ads. So that speeds up the webpage. But it also means that there’s a whole bunch of garbage that me and my kids are not even seeing. And that’s on a element by element basis on every website.
Destiny: 05:16 Which also protects you from the cyber attack. So…
Leon: 05:19 okay, there you go. And, and finally, uh, OpenDNS or a Cisco Umbrella, depending what you would call it. And the benefit of Cisco umbrella. It’s not just that it’s a DNS protector, it’s crowdsourced everybody who’s using it. Every corporation, when, when the Umbrella system sees a bunch of attacks coming in from a particular IP address, Umbrella blacklists, it automatically, and nobody who is using Umbrella can get to that site. So if an enterprise is suddenly seeing a new cyber attack, you’re not going to even get it because that IP address, that destination is automatically puts, you know, black holed, so you’re never going to get there. So…
Destiny: 06:01 And the cool thing about that, if you remember right when I was talking about this in Australia was the main thing that I loved about Cisco Umbrella is like SD-Wan, especially like the way that they’re running their network and the way that they’re testing and getting things done. Like you were saying on the blacklist and everything, you are getting that enterprise level new technology and new hacks that are coming to SD-Wan that you are getting prevented from as well.
Leon: 06:25 And I will say that for the basic level it’s free.
Destiny: 06:28 Yup. And then you can get, you know, a little crazy with it, with your little cloud access, security blockers and everything.
Leon: 06:33 I will say for those people who are interested in it, um, and again, you know, thinking about the Orthodox Jewish community which tends to go with whitelist only. So I can’t get to any site that I haven’t purposely white listed that, um, you’re only, you can only have a certain number of white list items before you have to pay for it. But anyway, that’s my setup. Um, what does everyone else have?
Al: 06:52 I actually have something similar to what you just described. I’m just getting into Ubiquity, so I’m curious to learn more about it. Everybody speaks very highly of their products and their services, but I want to filter the content that’s coming in or trying to go out. I want to be able to see what, uh, is being viewed online. And this way this can provide me with something to go back to whoever the guilty party is and say, look, this is why I’m here. This is why we implement this and this is why we’re going to prevent it moving forward.
Destiny: 07:23 So some of the things that I’ve also implemented, because obviously you know the Qustodio and everything in which that that I’ve set up before, but I’ve helped a lot of people use the Mobisip as well. But it also depends on what devices you like. Right? Like like if you have Kindles versus you know, iOS updates or if you have Android versus… There’s different things that you can grab. But mobi, sip is one of the ones that I like for like a Windows / Apple kind of a household that you have. And I like setting that up, especially for teenagers because they can request like when they’re like trying to do homework, like for health and it has to do with sex or something like that, it’ll automatically go to my phone and I can look at the link, bring it up, see if I approve it and approve it from my phone. And it automatically allows them to start engaging with that content. So it’s not like, you know something that’s not very like quick, if that makes sense. Cause if they’re in school using their laptop, cause here they get to use their own laptop or iPads or Kindles or things like that at school then it’s something that I can easily like switch on and off. So much so to where even the school now is trying to implement that on their tablets because they were like “how did you do that?” But um, same thing is another product is Net Nanny. I don’t know if you guys have heard of that, but net nanny as well. Those are some of the things that I’ve helped a lot of families set up on with those. A NetGear, they also have NetGear Armor. So here around in New Mexico, a lot of the free wear of which they give people. So a lot of the times, you know a lot of the people that are going to be on the internet will have NetGear. Right? It’s usually a Nighthawk in this area and like you can get extenders and things of that nature. But it comes with something called NetArmor that can help you visually like be able to, to track and to do things and to block things at the actual router itself. Something that I do like about that product in the way that they have it set up though is that it’s very user driven, if that makes sense. So like if you are new to it, as we were talking about earlier, protect your networks. It’ll say “guest network: enable or not?”, You just click the box and it’ll disable it, right? So disabled that guest network if you’re not using it and it’ll ha so you can set up reminders, you can do dynamic QoS, like you can block people, you can do scheduling when you can shut down your network, shut it down per device, you know, things like that. But it’s very user, um, uh, has a lot of user accessibility to it that I like because it’s one of those things where if you’re new to it and you’re going to be given a router and you’re going to be giving everything out of the box and “Here, welcome to the internet.” Right? It’s very step-by-step on how do I protect myself. And that’s something that they’ve actually started doing in the past six months when they engage that NetArmor. So I think that NetGear is coming around and understanding that Hey there’s people out there that don’t know what they’re doing per se to secure themselves in their home network. So let’s see if we could make it wizard driven. Right? Cause anytime it’s wizard driven it’s fun. So those are some of the things and it comes with the device, right? So I think that it’s one of those things that if you are listening and you have NetGear or if you have something that your provider, your ISP has given you to connect to the internet, make the phone call the tech support. Right? Like ask them “What’s my username and password ?”if you don’t already know it. Cause I know several people who have no idea and ask them, what did you set this up for? How do I log in? Okay cool. Let me turn off my guest network. Let me change my password, let me see what I have going on here. And they will walk you through those, but you can also Google it and figure it out just as much. But you, you have to be the proactive one to protect your fort, right? Like you have to want to protect yourself, which means you’re going to have to understand and use the GUI, use the actual website, like dial into it, see what it’s doing, look at those logs, set up your alerts, update it, right? Like set it to automatic updates so you get those security updates. So just so that you’re implementing that basic cyber hygiene.
Leon: 11:28 Right. And there’s a few other points of, of that basic cyber hygiene I think that are worth talking about. Um, Al, you hinted at it earlier, but I want to hit it again. Uh, password managers: Period. End of sentence. Whether regardless of what device, regardless of what environment we’re talking about, use a password manager for two reasons. First of all, that way you don’t have to have everything set to the same password because your password manager will remember it. And two, closely to related. It will generate strong, secure passwords that you don’t have to remember. And it will automatically input those passwords into all of your apps. And that is the number one attack vector for people who are trying to get your information is they’ll just, you know… When you see in the news, Oh, there was a Amazon S3 bucket that had 2 million usernames and password hashes that were in there. What that means is they now have a library of 2 million people and their password that they say, “Oh, this person uses this password. They probably use it in a few places. Let me try it against this site, this site, this site.” And suddenly they have their bank or they have your Facebook or they have your Instagram. And from there they can get into your this and your that and your other thing. And that’s how people build an a, you know, an attack against a particular individual. And by the way, these things can all be automated. I think sometimes we think of hackers as “Well, who’s really gonna worry about little old me.” Nobody’s going to worry about little old you. There’s a bot for that. There’s a, there’s a machine that is automatically walking through those 2 million accounts and just running a whole set of predefined processes. And when it finally gets a hit and goes through every other possibility, it sends a report back to somebody and then they start digging.
Al: 13:12 Right. And if I could add to it, a lot of people underestimate two factor authentication. It literally takes two minutes to set up and it saves you hours upon hours moving forward.
Leon: 13:24 Yes. Everything. They can have two factor authentication, turn it on.
Destiny: 13:29 And here’s the thing, you have more information and this is statistically shown on your phone than you do in your home. Think about that. Used to, we used to keep files or mortgages or information or bank accounts or statements and everything in our house. You’re all accessible from your phone and an application or a website. So if you have stored passwords, things like that and you’re not changing them, you’re kind of at a disadvantage anyway. And some of the things that me and you have talked about, Leon, especially, ESPECIALLY at conferences, is securing your line, encrypt your phone. I was like, we literally… me in Leon. We’re in a conversation one day when the lady was like, “Oh, I don’t care if they get my phone, who cares?” I was like, “Oh, I don’t know. But if you pay attention over there, they’re like literally going through everybody’s photos and putting them on display because they can. And they’re displaying your bank account that’s overdrawn. So I don’t know what to tell you right now. Feel like you should probably secure that.” And it’s those little things like, I mean, I use Avast Secure Line. I mean, it’s like cheap for a year to use it. I can constantly connect it and it’s encrypted the whole time. It constantly keeps me protected. My kids are that way as well because they’re going to school and I’m sorry, but their school does not even have an IT person and like they’re in an open network. I’m like, “no.” This just isn’t gonna work for me. So I, but it’s one of those things where it’s like you teach them to protect themselves and now they do it on their own. Like my kids will tell you if they see something that doesn’t make sense, right? Cause you see something, you say something. And like if they get sent something from their teachers or like, cause now they’re using third party applications are using Google drives, they’re using all this stuff and people are sharing passwords and my daughter’s like “you really shouldn’t do that.” Well then they found out that one of their friends got all their homework deleted, right? Like it’s like they’re seeing it in their daily transactions of school to where they are more ahead of changing passwords, not giving your information. Make sure you have more than a four digit code on your phone because they’re have friends who break into them like they are figuring out the cyber waters way faster than most parents are right now. And that’s, that’s okay. But if you have that open forum or if you’re having those conversations, you can actually help each other.
Roddie: 15:47 Thank you for making time for us this week to hear more of technically religious visit our website at http://technicallyreligious.com where you can find our other episodes. Leave us ideas for future discussions or connect with us on social media.

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