Hydra in the Home

Stephen Wunderli
by Stephen Wunderli — 4 months ago in Family 5 min. read
69

The Internet as we know it, has become like the mythical Hydra of Greek mythology with its multiple heads and ravenous appetites for your data. Each head snatching up everything in its path.And we consumers, with our puny swords, we gallantly attempt to chop a head off to protect ourselves…and two more heads grow in its place.

This is likely how your home is configured, right now!

How do you battle such a beast? How do you keep inappropriate content away from your kids, your data away from hackers, your identity from being gobbled up?

How do you regain control of so much of your life that has to live online? Is a Faustian bargain the only way to survive the age of the Internet? Trade some personal data for passage or access?

It certainly seems that way. We feed the beast bits of ourselves for the convenience of shopping online, doing business, building a community and socializing with friends.

Let’s talk about the risks to your family that come from a variety of devices around the home.

Every Internet-connected device in your home (phones, tablets, laptops, home automation systems, TVs, web cams – and maybe even now your fridge) are contacting the Internet all the time.

If these devices get hacked, the first typical thing a modern virus, trojan, botnet, or ransomware app does is try and reach out to its master servers in order to get instructions on what to do.

Depending on the bad actor, anything from your local data, surfing history, preferences, profiles, and resources can be hijacked into streams of data now at the service of others.

Even worse, many completely useful sites are loaded with 30 or more different tracking systems. Your computer didn’t just magically get slower over the years, websites are getting more bloated and usually it is the buffet table for the Hydra that is being delivered and you get the content scraps. For example, simple trackers called “cookies” or more sophisticated trackers that are harder to detect keep marketers and advertisers keenly aware of what it is you searching for and the vendors still willing to sell you the thing long after your purchase. Marketers pay big bucks to know everything they can about you…that’s why there are more ads than ever on your devices today.

And to think that these activities fall into the “good guys” camp by comparison because the bad guys are simply the worst. As soon as they get into your phone or laptop they can and will upload all your contacts and anything else they can get access to.

Additionally, almost every electronic device your family uses has a web browser and falls prey to the same standardized attacks – we all need the Internet for a variety of good and legitimate uses.

We’re right to be concerned. Hacks on big, public clouds have grown.

How can you negotiate with a beast when it grows more powerful each second?

Maybe instead of bargaining with the beast or chopping off new heads, what if we could just lock it up no matter how many heads it has?

Let me give you an example. Right now, the way most content filters work on our home systems is based on a black list of curated sites to be blocked. It works OK.

Anytime a nefarious site is reported it gets blacklisted and therefore blocked by the filtering software in your home.

But there’s a big problem with the black list model: 43,000 new websites come online each and every day. That’s a lot of heads.

Who is in charge of blacklisting sites? How do they keep up with the proliferation of bad sites? They don’t. It is a reactive process and the Hydra is getting better at simply sprouting more heads.

It’s an “almost there” solution because it doesn’t have a hope of winning and moreover lacks precise individual total control.

Here’s a better idea: Block everything and allow only the things you want using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning as your champion.

That is ClearOS. A system smart enough to check out the validity of every site your family wants to visit – based on parameters that you set. The system works in real time, using AI and machine learning to discover what to allow rather than what to block. Moreover, it makes your online experience faster while validating hundreds of data points about that website?

How is this done?

It takes a new piece of hardware in your own home and a bit of software for your LTE connected smart devices. All your other computers, laptops and “dumb” devices will just work once you put up the defensive barrier.

ClearOS uses a better way way to block the bad parts of the Internet while still providing full access to the websites, apps and services you need.

As with other blacklist/whitelist technologies, ClearOS maintains a list of good and bad sites but it also can process sites that it doesn’t know about. And while on the road, your mobile devices always send and receive data through your own private ClearOS network – not directly through the regular Internet which is a wild wild west of the good-web, bad-web, and ugly-web.

Think of it as a clean-cut superhero gatekeeper for your family whose loyalty is to you, not some sales and marketing department.

Along with the good parts of the Internet come plenty of bad parts.

To give an example, of how this can work for you, let’s explain one of ClearOS’s best gatekeeping superpowers. Imagine that you or your children try to visit a website with inappropriate content, the site gets blocked and doesn’t load at all. It’s like magic. Now, behind the scenes there is a lot going on and it moves very quickly. In order for your browser to visit a site, there are a lot of things that the Internet does before your computer even contacts the site. ClearOS can prevent the very impetus of communication for sites that it knows about, good or bad. It can also react at this point to things that it doesn’t know about.

The ClearOS is smart enough to block the bad, allow only the good, and even give you as a parent the chance to decide what protections are best for your family. Whether you have little children that just need to be prevented from putting their hands in the fiery maw of the beast. Or you have responsible teenager that can handle the “trust but verify” paradigm, ClearOS can handle that. It can even disallow the Internet or parts of it for periods of time you control on a per device basis.

Your new private network using ClearOS can also force Google and YouTube into Safe Search Mode keeping your family away from unintended risky search results.

Think of ClearOS as the control hub and gatekeeper of your digital life.

All your devices at home run through it so no matter where they are, you still control what goes into them.

Now, take this level of control and put your entire home on it: every IoT device, each camera. It will even block IoT devices from being made to spy on you regardless of whether the manufacturer designed it to spy on your or they are just buggy.

Only you have access to your cameras, not unauthorized third parties. Your network is private, it’s your new network. It’s your new cloud. You can see everything that is happening, whenever you want. But nobody else can.

You’ve now dramatically reduced the risk of getting hacked.

Your family can surf the web without risking accidental exposure to inappropriate content.

See what we are doing? Locking the beast away and starving it to death.

There’s a new sheriff in town. In your town. It is you. Empowered by ClearOS.

Sponsored by ClearUnited.

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