LAD: LateralAccessDevice

takes you back to before the Internet

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The Secret Life of Computer Networks

The average traffic on a home computer network today tops what was typical for a small office ten years ago. Back then home users did not generate much network traffic, but today with Internet-connected “smart” TVs, entertainment systems and gaming consoles in addition to a few tablets, laptops and desktop computers streaming bandwidth-hungry video, audio, chats and online games, the level of chatter on the home computer network has risen enormously. The utilization on business and corporate networks has likewise risen tremendously.

Ten years ago, IT departments, including network engineers, were hard pressed to explain the purpose of all the communications that traversed their computer networks – there was just too much of it, and at first glance it isn’t always easy to tell the purpose of a specific packet or stream of packets. Today it is even more so, with home computer networks also joining the party. To be able to make sense of network traffic today in any meaningful sense of the word and in any useful time frame it is imperative to have a system that can segregate the traffic. In essence, divide and conquer. Divide and conquer the network traffic data so that communications pertaining to nefarious activity or malfunctioning equipment would stand out from the greater volume of innocuous, legitimate traffic. With an ordered sense of your traffic, it is easier to sense strange or anomalous traffic and ferret it out.

Many internet-based scams rely on the user not knowing how his or her computer works and not knowing how his or her computer network works. While it is true that a computer can only do what it is told, what you don’t know is who is doing the telling. One common scam starts with getting a virus on your computer that tells the hacker/handlers a bit about you – say, your password to Facebook – perhaps enough for them to figure out where you are, what your interests are and so on. Then they get creative, misconfiguring the computer so it doesn’t work quite right or disabling a password so that the user believes something is wrong with the computer. The next step is to trick the user into communicating with the scammer, under the guise of a phone call to tech support or customer service, who, for a small fee will fix the problem with the computer (the problem caused by the scammer’s own virus in the first place). While a few years back a scratchy phone connection and poor English skills may have been a red flag, these days we are conditioned to accept such things as normal.

From there the scam could escalate to a flood of strange charges, when you thought you were only paying $50.00 for a tech support service, or it could take a slower, more subtle route with the “discovery” of more problems needing more “fixes,” or even to the marketing and sale of the victim’s profile to other scammers, who may call pretending to be from tax authorities or insurance companies, basically exploiting any angle gleaned from the victim’s profile and computer data to get more information and more money.

While the scam can grow ever larger as the victim thinks he or she is paying for a legitimate service and is further targeted for more based on information gleaned from the computer, social media accounts and similar sources, the root cause is the initial lack of knowledge about what was going on on the computer and who was giving it commands. Segregate the computer network traffic and categorize it into legitimate categories and you get the ability to see things in plain sight and then react. Don’t have the time or desire to look at the traffic? It’s even simpler and more effective to use the proven method of disconnecting it all when you are not using it – take your computer back to before the Internet and limit Internet access to when and what you actually need (if you’re not using the computer, why should you let someone else?). This limits the window of opportunity for the hacker to exploit and makes it easier for you to spot that your computer is acting strangely. With no connection, your network has no secret life to worry about -- take away the hackers’ ability to communicate with the computer and you take away their ability to manipulate it and you.

The haystack keeps getting bigger, but the needle in the network can be found. IPCopper’s Lateral Access Device, along with its many other features, provides tools to capture and segregate network traffic according to a number of parameters, making it easy to find both what does and doesn’t belong. If you find something you don’t like, block it. Or just block it all for good measure when you don’t need it. Either way, you have the control, not them.

LAD: LateralAccessDevice is software that turns a computer chassis into a high-performance, multi-purpose Internet / network tool that combines multi-dimensional firewalling, network monitoring, access control, packet capture, DNS, NAT and a host of other applications into one easy to use, integrated, high-security package. You can get it already preinstalled on a computer from your own vendor or you can download it directly from this website. The software is the same either way, though the version might be different.