Your faucet can't spy on you... but your internet can!
We, the consumer or user, trust the advice of I.T. Professionals, or “Geek Squad” to recommend ways to protect ourselves. With that advice we setup, install and configure an environment in our homes. As we go through a crash course of general online behavior, we need to keep in mind that everything is designed around the user’s experience benefit, or is it? The world wide web, the internet, was a place to give everyone access to information. At the beginning, it was place for the people, but then someone, a social application, found a way to profit from this and to understand how this happened, we’re going to design a path of accessing the internet. So, we start with your computer, as a standalone device, not connected, just powered on. The laptop, tablet or desktop is secured, unless someone takes it away from you physically and has your password. But it only has access to the applications or information on it, so we connect a cable or WIFI, that will give it access to the world. This cable is like a water pipe, connected to the city, where everyone is connected. The only difference is that this water pipe travels both ways, gives water and receives water.
Imagine that you have a faucet with control buttons, and the water can be Regular, Sparkling, Lemon Flavor, and so on. You select the preferred water and from the central station your choice is then delivered.
But what about other people connected to the same network of water? How does your selection only arrive to you? And how do we control other people’s selection not arriving to your place? Well, we install something called a router, or firewall. The job of a router is to only allow your request to pass at your faucet because let’s face it, there are neighbors and then there also other people in your house. Each Faucet is requesting different types of water. The “Router” takes your specific request and creates a “ROUTE” to the station, to your faucet.
How do we control the faucet constantly receiving unknown requests? How about someone just sending a new “Trick” flavor?
Well, we install a filter, a firewall that understands if you sent a request or the details of what you requested and makes sure to only allow what you requested, if you requested.
And, this is how your home network, WIFI and Firewall works.
· The faucet is your device
· The pipes are your connection, WIFI
· The router and firewall are what controls your requests
· The waterpipe outside your house is the internet
· The water plant is the website
· The water type is the webpage you selected
Seems simple and private right? Up until you realize that while all of this is happening every time you go visit a webpage, a little file downloads on your computer, a cookie. This retains information of what settings you have selected on the webpage, what you have searched for and where you went after you left that webpage... All this AND more! Although this file, “the cookie” was initially designed to make life easier (save login details, style choices of the website), someone figured out that you can read these files and use this information to target you with ads. In essence, your privacy is being violated, just imagine someone putting a microphone in your water and now listens to your every thought!
Scary... and it does not quite stop there, all this security we put in place, a firewall to protect us from unwanted data or water flavors, is tracking and saving your every virtual move. A firewall keeps a record of every website you go to and stores a spreadsheet or database table that holds all this data. Ok, maybe the outside world can’t see the data stored in the firewall, but someone in your household can! And maybe some of these records are shared within the manufactures of these devices? Hmmm!
So even if you clean your computer, the devices that connect us to the internet have records and now comes the biggest record keeping device, your ISP. Your Internet Service Provider is tracking, filtering and monitoring everything! They are watching and even deny you access or can even slow down a connection to a website, download or chat! Sometimes that choppiness in a video is your ISP slowing down the connection.
So now tell us, where were you protected? …. Fortunately for you, you landed here and now things are about to drastically change!