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Craig discusses problems that businesses can face when remote workers have IoT devices on the network they use to connect to work.

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Newly Patched Amazon Alexa Flaws — A Red Flag for Home Workers

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Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Hey, we got a new red flag for home workers when it comes to those smart digital assistants that we have in our homes. Yeah, indeed. Not only can it cause problems for us in our homes, but that problem can go right through to the business.

Craig Peterson here. Thanks for joining me today and thanks for all of your messages. I’ve gotten some great comments. This week had one that I’m going to do another followup on, but it had to do with what kind of router to use at home. I did a whole webinar on this back in March. I’m going to add that back to my list again because obviously there’s still a lot of questions.

Many people can’t attend these webinars, but I really would suggest when I do come out with them. That you consider attending if you possibly can. I get it. You can’t always attend these things that you’d like to attend, but I responded directly anyways. and I’ve gotten to the point now where I look at it and say, these crappy, sorry for that term, pieces of, hardware that you buy from the big box retailers that are given to you by your friends, at the phone company, the cable company, they are not worth it. It is not worth it. You’ve got to at least go to the prosumer stuff. And that’s what I said to him. The prosumers stuff means that really you got to get something like a Cisco go hardware.

Really? You do. Yeah. There’s a lot of alternatives out there. Juniper has some stuff. HP has some stuff, but there’s only one that has a beautifully integrated ecosystem. The low end of the consumer world nowadays really has to be prosumer and me, I’ll let you know if there’s something that comes out that I think is as good or better.

But, also that Cisco is what I do. My company mainstream has been the number one, installing reseller of Cisco gear in the Northeast US, quarters into quarters. So it’s something I like. So just to let you know. Okay. But bottom line, my advice to him was trying to get the Cisco GO stuff.

Now you can buy it on Amazon, but there are things that you need that you cannot buy from Amazon. You’ve got to go to a licensed reseller in order to get the more advanced protection that you get from some of this Cisco software that is available for the go. Of course, as you move up the line, there’s better and better software, but at least start there.

Let’s start the show off here with our first article. You’ll see this, of course in your newsletter that came out this week, and this is something I’ve talked about a long time in general. And in general, what we’re talking about is. The whole internet of things concept, and how many years have we talked about that? It’s been at least a decade. In fact, I was going through some of the articles on our website.

We’re just shutting some of them down because they are so old. But back in 2007, I was already talking about this. So we are 13 years later. And we still have these same problems.  People still aren’t taking care of them, and they’re still doing things the same way and they are getting nailed. And nowadays, particularly when we’re thinking about workers working from home, and I am going to be in a couple of weeks doing a little sip series about working from home and what are the top things you can do to protect your business. If you have people connecting from home now, I don’t mean like they’re just connecting from home an hour a week, nor do we’re only gonna talk about the people who are working from home pretty much full time. Doesn’t matter. There are some things you have to do, things you can’t do.

And so we’ll be going into those with some of the training coming up in a couple of weeks and make sure. You are on my newsletter list. If you want to find out about that stuff. That’s just Craig peterson.com/subscribe.

So we’re working from home. I think we’ve established that we’re starting to see office space deserts now. I went to see my chiropractor, this week and massage therapist.  I’m standing outside her office and she’s in this cluster of offices with other people having a little business and of course, it’s a type of business where she can’t really do it from home now can she. She has to actually have her hands on you in order to do some of this stuff. And boy, was it. Oh, a wonderful thing. Cause my neck and my back just it’s been really bad after that whole kind of COVID, in bed for a couple of weeks, thing. And. I looked around the parking lot. It was shocking to me. I was there and this was after lunch, usually, there are a lot of people who are there in the parking lot, not just for her business. there’s gotta be a hundred different office spaces that are in there. There has to be that in this case, when I was there were three cars in the parking lot and that was it.

So you talking about these office space deserts. Where the people just aren’t going in there anymore. It’s just astounding. Some of these big cities like New York City, the whole city is shut down. They’re losing all of these restaurants and all of these places where people used to go shopping because people aren’t going there.

Where are they? They’re at home. In some cases, you have to be at home. Think about all of the families or the young kids, where the kids are no longer going into school. They’re sitting at home, they’re on their computers, hopefully, following the teacher and doing their schoolwork. Now I got to put a side note here.

This is the perfect opportunity for you as a parent. To see what your kids are being taught, to look over the shoulder. Now it’s amazing to me. I have read quotes from teachers who said they don’t want parents looking in because they don’t want parents to know what’s being taught. Then there are some unions in some of the local school districts that are saying, it has to do with the privacy of the other children in the class.

You use to be able to, as a parent go and basically audit your school’s classroom that your kid was in. So you could go there and sit in the back and just see what’s being taught and how it’s being taught. and then the teachers didn’t like that because heaven forbid a parent question the professional.

Now we found out, some of these teachers, in fact, a very large number of them are blatant Marxists, just teaching the Marxists dogma. You can see that now when you look at all of these fascists marching in the street, it’s just incredible. So take that opportunity and watch what your kids are doing.

Watch what the teachers are saying and help your kids out. But in many cases, obviously we can’t and get people to watch kids. We can’t get babysitters because there’s such a high demand for that. So we are forced to work from home. For that very reason, just to make sure that the place doesn’t burn down and maybe you can get a few minutes to watch what the teacher’s saying. What’s really going on there in that classroom.

So if you’re working from home, what are you doing? we are sitting there on very frequently, our own computers connected again, quite frequently to the network at the office. Now, if you’ve attended any of my VPN training, that VPN we’re designed for businesses to connect to. Networks at different locations and that’s what they’re good at. They’re not really designed to protect anything other than the data while it’s being transported. That actually becomes a problem, if you use one of these VPN services, it makes you less secure. I go into the reasons why in my VPN course, and we’ll be teaching that one again. So keep an eye out.

But we’re now looking at having people at home using their home computers, which don’t have all of the protections in place that hopefully, your business computers had, the medium and large businesses have some pretty decent protections in place, but the small businesses, those businesses under 500 employees, very rarely have the right kind of protection in place.

So now you have a personal home computer to the network at the business. What’s on that home computer? We’ve talked about that before. That’s a real problem, but now we’re asking them the question of what else is on your home network that’s connecting to that business network. One of the things is probably your Amazon, Alexa, or your Google home or who knows what other things. We got light bulbs hooked up. We’ve got all kinds of things hooked up to our home networks. They found a trio of vulnerabilities recently in Amazon Alexa devices, just as they found them in all of these others, a Google home, everything else.

Apparently these vulnerabilities could have led to broader attacks on the home networks because of the way, most of us are misconfiguring VPNs. Those attacks can now easily spread over the network to our business computers. So these are vulnerabilities that were made public last week by researchers at Checkpoint.

Checkpoint has been in the security business for a long time. They made firewalls. I think they’re based out of Israel. They’ve had some very cool stuff, but we’re looking at more than 200 million Alexa smart home devices. I have them in my home, but what I’ve done is, I actually have five different networks in my home.

One of them is for the internet of things devices, so if they are compromised, they cannot get out and they cannot get to any of the other devices inside my network.

Then, of course, I’m using professional gear for my network, not just prosumer gear. I would advise people to look at that very seriously.

So next we have a study coming out about the. The presidential election and how both parties, both sides are very concerned about some security concerns.

So we’ll get into that. When we get back.

Stick around, you’re listening to Craig Peterson and I’ll be right back.

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