Christmas is coming – but turn off the Wi-Fi

Every year, as Christmas draws nearer, many can be heard questioning the sanity of annual gifting madness. In the past, everything was better when the parents themselves were children and most were happy with a wooden car. Today’s children are far too spoiled anyway. But if you think the favorite toys of yesteryear (Magic Cube, He-Man, Furby, Tamagotchi) are the spawn of the devil, you’ll be amazed by the current toy trends. A survey of parents by the security software manufacturer McAfee found that 90 percent of children want networked toys. Hardly any parent, however, has IT security in mind, which is quite important with such digital technology finding a place in our children’s bedrooms.

Four Common Myths about VPNs

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a useful tool that encrypts data before it passes across the public Internet and then decrypts it when it reaches its destination. Rather like shutters on the windows of a house, it shields what goes on inside even though the outside can be seen by everyone in the street. The process, often referred to as tunneling, is particularly useful for businesses whose workers have to use the Internet in public places like coffee shops or airports. It is also helpful for those who want to keep confidential customer information or intellectual property safe from the prying eyes of hackers and spies. In 2017, the U.S. Trump administration overturned regulations preventing ISPs from making money from users’ browser data. At the same time in the UK, the Investigatory Powers Act served to increased government surveillance of Internet activity in response to a heightened threat of terrorism. Both led to a surge in interest in VPNs. A VPN is an established technology that has traditionally been seen as the province of technical specialists. Perhaps because of this, and in spite of VPN services becoming easier to deploy, a number of enduring myths persist.