Take 3 TV Phone Internet Security Headache

Are You A Consolidated Communications Customer?

Most of my on site, hands on computer systems work serves customers in Southeast Texas. I find myself working with clients that have Consolidated Communications wireless firewalls / routers providing internet access and DHCP services to my client’s network devices.

Consolidated’s new “Take 3 – TV, Phone, Internet” package is the latest rage around here. I understand similar product offerings are available all over North America. This sceanario poses a particularly challenging security problem for small office and home networks and changes the paradigm of small home, small office networking.

If you have TV, Phone, Internet service from your local telco, you need to carefully consider your options, because you have handed your local network real estate to your local telephone carrier, compromising any security that you think you might have. On the upside, you now have some serious bandwidth.

I’ve seen many instances of the telco’s wireless firewalls / routers configured with default settings and unfettered wireless access to the network of the telco’s customer. The telco’s wireless firewalls / routers need to be configured this way for “TV, Phone, Internet” to work correctly and to facilitate a quick installation process.

This sceanario poses no problem for a typical home network, with two or three computers, with directly attached printers, using network access for Internet and email, as long as a fully licensed regularly updating security software package including anti-spyware, anti-malware, anti-virus, firewall is installed on each computer.

For those small home and small office networks with shared applications, shared files, and shared network printers and multi-function devices, this sceanario poses some unique problems. Everything in this type of network environment is at risk. Imagine someone in the lobby of the office next door finding their way to your networked fax and scanner from their laptop, connected to your internet connection from your unprotected wireless connection. It is happening everyday. 

If you find your business or home office depending on your local telco’s wireless firewall/router, you need to reevaluate your systems architecture and make some simple changes. For starters, place a hardware firewall between your network and the telco device. You might want to do this now, before your neighbor’s teenager deletes your QuickBooks company file.

I’m not kidding here.

If adding a hardware firewall is too complex for you, please call a local IT person or logon to http://www.lakeconroecomputer.com