Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wi-Fi, 15 years of advantages with some added risks

Many of us have ever dreamed that we were teleported. Being able to instantly move from our bed to the bathroom, from home to the office or from Madrid to Los Angeles sounds great, right? But all attempts to do so so far have been just an illusion, like on the video that accompanies this article.



However, there is indeed a technological development that teleports all types of content: posts, news, movies, music... It is in our home, in libraries, factories, airports, and even at city buses. The vast majority of us use it every day. Surely you already know that we are speaking about Wi-Fi. Perhaps what you did not know is that the Wi-Fi Alliance - the international association that promotes this technology - was born 15 years ago. This association celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2014 with some impressive facts: over 22,000 certified products; Two billion Wi-Fi devices sold in 2013 alone; today 25% of homes around the world enjoy this wireless connection.

Although on the other side of the coin we can find security incidents due to misconfigured Wi-Fi networks, or the prohibition of its use in restrictive regimes like the North Korean one. Indeed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has decided to limit the use of Wi-Fi technology in foreign embassies in order to keep citizens away from freely accessing to the Internet. From now on, embassies will require Pyongyang’s authorization.

Undoubtedly Wi-Fi, along with mobile data connections, has greatly facilitated us to stay constantly connected to the Internet. However, as a counterpart it increases the young people’s risk of addiction. According to a report by Kelisto.es, 21.3% of the more than four million children who connect to the Internet in Spain are at risk of becoming addicted to it.

Who knows if any of these children will end up downloading a malicious media player through wicked ads displayed on YouTube, Amazon or Yahoo! Apparently, some cybercriminals have managed to trick ad networks associated with these large Internet domains in order to conduct a "malvertising" campaign running since May. In fact, it has already affected 71 other legitimate domains.

It is therefore important that parents are aware of the risks associated with technology and the Internet so that they can educate their children to use them with caution and responsibility. A good practice is to keep systems up to date. So all those who have installed Microsoft products should check whether they are eligible for any of the four security bulletins released yesterday covering 42 vulnerabilities.

We are not supposed to have to warn about it, but parents also must make it clear to their children that taking intimate photos of oneself is very risky, especially if those pictures are stored on the cloud or on Internet-connected devices. If at some point they were in the public domain, some artist could even try to  display them in an exhibition. That was the aim of the artist XVALA who announced that he would use the recently leaked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton for an art show, but finally backtracked.

But to raise your children, you need to be knowledgeable about everything that happens in the world of technology and its dangers. So we invite you to follow us through our social channels (find the links at the right sidebar) or on our blog.

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