Firewalla is a simple but effective way to take control of your home network


I'm not the kind of person who possesses the programming or IT knowledge to run my own servers and host my own email. But I can manipulate some things on the internet or on local networks, like how to access the gateway to your router and make some changes in there, even if I don't fully grasp the differences between the ports. I'm also someone who's hyper-attuned to data privacy issues who still enjoys the conveniences of some smart home technology.

And that's why I've really been enjoying my Firewalla, a small piece of hardware that you plug into your router to access an app that gives me clear visual command over my network. It's basically a Firewall, VPN, adblocker, and intrusion detection and prevention system all rolled into one. Here's how the company describes it:

Firewalla is a smart firewall device that you simply plug into your router. It monitors network traffic and alerts you via an app if one of your devices starts uploading data including who the data is being shared with and what country. There is an option to stop devices from sending data, which could stop their operations as well, but step one is having transparency and knowledge. Firewalla will also block hackers and cyber thieves from being able to breach smart home devices to steal person information.

I've always felt pretty confident that I'd securely setup my home network. But there's still that lingering concern that someone may have found their way in to spy on me somehow. Read the rest

Google's watching you watching porn

Friends, you're going to wish you were still making the scene with a magazine after reading this sentence: Google's web trackers are all up in your fap time and there's pretty much nothing (except maybe using a more secure browser like Firefox, read up on cyber security tips from the EFF, refusing to sign into a Google account and never going online without the protection of a VPN) that anyone can do about it. Read the rest

The inventor of the Web doesn't want you to use a VPN

Congratulations to Tim Berners-Lee for winning the Turing Award this week. It's well deserved. Curiously, Berners-Lee doesn't think you should use a VPN even though the current administration just repealed the Federal Communications Commission’s privacy rules for Internet providers.

From the Standard Examiner:

Q. What is going to happen to Internet users as a result of the legislation?

A. When President Trump signs [it], it’s quite possible nothing happens at all. But let’s imagine what would happen if people started to record and sell the clicks. The population would divide. Some people would protest and do their best to switch to another ISP, and some people would decide they wouldn’t have the energy to do that. Some people would move to a huge market for different technical systems. People would start using Tor. They’d start going through proxies so that instead of your Internet traffic going straight to your house it goes to a VPN [virtual private network]. Normal people in America will basically go into defense cybersecurity lockdown against their ISPs. Everything will get encrypted. People who care about it will find ways to deprive their ISPs of data. . . . There’ll be a great market for people who provide that technology.

Q. How do you shield your privacy? Do you use a VPN?

A. I’ve got them available to me here, but . . . I ought not to do that. Actually, you shouldn’t. [You should be] going to protest so the world outside becomes one where you don’t need to cheat to get around this problem, so that you don’t have to use skills as an expert to get around this problem.

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TigerVPN was simple to set up

I've been happily trying out TigerVPN, offered in our Boing Boing Store. Read the rest

VPNs: which ones value your privacy?

Torrentfreak has published its annual survey of privacy-oriented VPN services, digging into each one's technical, legal and business practices to see how seriously they take the business of protecting your privacy. Read the rest