Pictured below: Fingbox
An amazing new network tool anyone can afford and easily use to keep their network safe and secure.
Update 1 week later: I ordered Fingbox the day I wrote this. You can read about my experience setting up and using it.
Perhaps the Biggest Data Security Threat in History was Revealed Last Week
The Threat is Known As Krack Attack
I first learned of this new security threat in an email my Dad sent me. We were traveling at the time so I couldn’t really research it until we arrived home. The Chicago Tribune’s headline and article shown below was one of many I read in the days following the initial news that our WiFi networks were no longer safe.
The more I read the more I struggled with how to share this news with my readers. The news was bad, to be certain. Frankly, no one wants to be the continual bearer of bad news. Unfortunately, at least initially, I didn’t have any good advice to share with my readers. The only advice I had was the same advice as that of all the experts.
Best Advice to Follow to Prevent Krack Attacks
Make sure that you keep all your devices up to date with security patches and general updates.
Because the advice that’s given in literally every source I found didn’t seem to offer much in terms of really useful information, and because I didn’t feel I had anything new to add to the equation…I ended up not saying anything at all.
I Began Educating Myself so That I Really Understood the Threat
As I continued reading and learning I finally began to understand the crux of the problem much more concretely. Ultimately that learning process has been very worthwhile…so worthwhile in fact that I want to share one resource. This article was extremely helpful for improving my understanding of the problem. In it the author describes what an ‘Evil Twin Access Point Is.‘
The ‘evil twin AP’ concept lies at the heart of the Krack Attack threat…so while the author describes this in the context of public Wifi’s…it pertains to private, or home Wifi’s too. I think the author has done an amazing job of explaining a really complex concept in a way that’s easy to understand!
What led me to the ‘Evil Twin’ article was an email I received today about the development of a product I’ve been monitoring for a long time now. I was really excited to discover that not only was this long awaited product now available…it’s a network scanning device for everyday people…but it may be the answer to mine and many other people’s prayers to address the problem of how to stay safe following the Krack Attack news.
Therefore I finally feel as if I have some good, if not great advice to share in addressing this scary sounding situation. But before a get into the details of that, there were a few more realizations I’d arrived at which put the Krack Attack news into better perspective. So first, here are a couple of general observations which mitigate the significance of the overall threat quite a bit. Most of these were taken from this Krebs on Security article.
The likelihood of an individual of family’s network to be attacked using Krack Attack is very small.
The reason for this is because an attack can’t be done remotely…the attacker needs to be in close proximity to the network he/she is attacking. Therefore in the case of residences…there’s a good chance that you’d notice any strangers hanging around your home. Especially if they were there long enough to employ their nefarious tactics and then wait around even longer to take advantage of them and capture people’s data while you’re engaged in online activity. Because it’s a real time situation they would need to be present the whole time.
When the Threat was Announced There Were Already Some Solutions Immediately Available
That’s because the researchers who discovered the vulnerability first took their information to the tech world…so that equipment manufacturers could begin working on fixing their hardware immediately to prevent this vulnerability from gaining too much ground in harming users. Therefore many users had already received the patches prior to even hearing the first reports of the very bad news.
This holds true primarily for Windows users…although I don’t know all the specifics, I’d guess that it’s probably Windows 10 users who are safest. Another huge hardware provider, Apple, said they would be releasing this fix very soon.
Once a devices software is updated with a fix, there’s no longer a vulnerability for that device.
There’s No Evidence Pointing to Any Actual Exploitation Using the Vulnerability
Since this vulnerability was discovered by good guys who immediately took the correct actions to address it’s very broad reach, no one has any knowledge of actual hacking incidents which may have taken advantage of the vulnerability to date. That’s probably one significant reason why the guys that found it brought it to the attention of those responsible for correcting situations in which the exploit could occur first. Even before announcing it to the general public. So that when the hacking community did learn of it, there would already be fixes well underway.
But There Still Remains a Larger Problem…Updating Network Devices
Things like routers and access points for sure need to be patched too. But patching those via updating their firmware isn’t necessarily an easy task. Each manufacturer has different procedures for this. Simply finding their information may not be easy and the actual firmware update can be even more challenging…yet, it needs to be done! I suspect that firmware updates for things like routers are orchestrated in a manner very similar to how I describe the process of securing your network’s router or modem in this post.
If Only There Were a Way to Tell if a Krack Attack was Actively Being Employed on a Network
In light of what I learned…this threat isn’t nearly as concerning as I’d once believed it to be. But it’s still present and will continue until network hardware makers release fixes for their products. That’s why I was really excited when I received an email today from a company I’d been watching with interest for several years as they worked on developing a new breed of hardware device that can aid greatly in administering smaller networks like those used in most home throughout the United States.
The Product I’ve Been Keeping Tabs on the Development of is Called Fingbox
I was watching it for so long because of the promise it held it for keeping our home network secure and managing our problematic bandwidth issues. I believed that if the Fingbox team could make the Fingbox a reality, and do it such a way that we could afford it (without monthly subscription fees) that would be the answer I’d been searching for. It turns out that’s exactly what they did! Moreover, the timing for Fingbox could not have been better!
How I Discovered Fingbox
I first heard about Fingbox when I took an action that I almost never take…I signed up to receive email updates from an app developer. The app was called Fing. I never sign up for email updates because I’m already overwhelmed with too many emails. The thought of receiving one more was far from appealing. But in the case of Fing….I was so intrigued that I broke my own rule.
Once I’d finally regained control of our network following an almost 2 year battle with a botnet, I wanted to keep very close tabs on all of our network traffic. I discovered Fing in that pursuit. While Fing didn’t let me do a lot of the things I longed for…it did let me do one thing very, very well. Fing let me see who or what was on my network at any given moment in time…just by using my iPhone or iPad!
The Fing App
In the early years following our botnet attack, we relied completely upon one device to help us feel secure…a hardware firewall…which had been installed and was maintained by a network consulting firm we hired. The firewall device was much too complicated for us to manage on our own. Even its management reporting features seemed far beyond our skill level. Sometimes they even seemed to be beyond our consultant’s level! Because it turns out that…
Networks are über complicated…and so are the firewall devices used to protect them.
Which is precisely why I was beyond thrilled when I discovered Fing! Apparently I wasn’t alone. Back then Fing was only available on ios…today it’s available on many different devices. I wasn’t even surprised to just learn that Fing has over 20 million users!
That’s because Fing does it’s one task exceedingly well. In fact, it really does a bit more than that too…it gives users tools to save their network and device information so that once a network is scan is completed, you can immediately spot the new devices on it. Those you’d scanned previously allow you to begin storing a bit of a history regarding their network usage.
I’m fairly certain that there is another key element that explains Fings overwhelming popularity. It’s the fact that Fing was and continues to remain a free app. I also think this says a lot about Fing’s developers. It would have been so easy to convert Fing into a paid app once it’s popularity grew. I have no doubt that even under that scenario Fing’s popularity would have continued to grow.
I can’t over emphasize the importance of the ‘peace of mind’ I gained by always knowing exactly what devices were on my network. But it wasn’t just me who was impressed. As we worked with various network consultants over the years, I found that almost all of them were equally impressed with Fing. Our expensive firewall appliance simply couldn’t provide us with that information in a quick and easy manner.
How Fingbox was Conceived
While I don’t know the exact answer to this…I do know that it was several years ago. I know this because I’d been following the company for that long. I watched as the Fingbox Team grew, the Fingbox device grew smarter and more robust, while it gradually went from concept to a finished reliable device. Early on the company seemed to struggle a little bit in coming up with the right form for their product…they tested out a subscription based service. Luckily they abandoned that concept and developed Fingbox instead. Fingbox is, at its core, a network scanner…but it’s unlike any network scanner I’ve ever seen.
The difference is that typically network scanners are employed by people who work with networks a lot and they understand all of the intricate details of networks. But this scanner is for everybody else. It’s strength is that it takes all this complex data and makes it super simple to understand and use.
What Does Fingbox Do?
The device itself is super easy to install by anyone…no network knowledge is required. Once Fingbox is connected to your network these are some of the safety features it provides you:
- Internet Speed Tests and Historical Data
- WiFi Speed and Streaming Quality Analysis in Real Time
- Bandwidth Analysis and Isolation of Bandwidth Hogs
- Gives Users the Ability to Block Devices from Accessing Their Network
- Temporarily Pause Internet Usage on Kid’s Devices
- Setup Digital Presences to Monitor Network Usage by Individuals or Groups
- Setup and Receive Alerts for Various Events Such as When a New Device Joins Your Network
- Logs Recent Events for Future Analysis
- Internet Connection Security Check that Checks for Open Ports & Network Weaknesses
- Monitor and Control Network Usage in Several Different Ways
- See Virtually Everything Happening on Your Network
- A Digital Fence Feature Displays WiFi Devices that are Within Range of Your Network, Even if they Haven’t Joined Your Network.
- Alerts When ‘Evil Twin AP’s’ are Present
It’s those last 2 features that compelled me to order one today and to write this post. Whether or not firmware updates are made available for our network hardware, with Fingbox’es continual monitoring I won’t worry about Krack Attack Exploits.you can read more about how Fingbox accomplishes this in this article.
Watch This Video Demonstration of How Fingbox Digital Fence Detects a Malicious AP
Additional Information About Krack Attack & Some Important Fingbox Links
Fingbox was created to monitor entire small networks like those found in most homes. There’s no practical upper limit to the number of devices contained within a network although I did see mention of the number 256…so it’s quite possible that 256 devices is the maximum threshold for one Fingbox. But even if that’s true, it’s not really a concern for me. We have more devices than is the norm and last time I checked it, we were at 37 devices.Our network is quite complex because we have a hardware firewall, a mesh Wifi network and we use a gigabit switch. None of those factors will preclude us from using Fingbox, although in their literature they suggest tweaking some of the firewall’s settings to allow the Fingbox to,operate at its full potential. Further digging did reveal that there are some routers that don’t function well with Fingbox. You can read about those here.
When you arrive at the webpage in the link above you should see something like this:
If you don’t see all of the subcategories under the compatibility menu item, you just need to click or tap on it to expand the submenu.
Fingbox is really, really new. It was funded with an Indiegogo campaign that raised over 1.6 million and its backers just received their Fingboxes in August of this year. That means that the Fingbox team will continue to enhance and improve the device as greater numbers of user reviews start rolling in. You can read and see what Fingboxes initial backers had to say about it here. If you’d like you can also see what the Indiegogo campaign was all about.
- Link to learn more about the Digital Fence Feature
- Learn More AboutKrack Attack from the Guys Who Discovered It
- Learn even more about Krack Attack from Brian Krebs, one of the most vigil cyber security professionals in the industry.
- Read Wired’s recent article on why Krack Attack is such a huge problem going forward.
- Read my article on the 1 thing that everyone needs to do to keep their home network safe and secure.
How to Get Fingbox
One of the things I find most astonishing about Fingbox is how inexpensive it is…primarily because of how powerful the device is. I’ve spent a lot of time researching network hardware and the features Fingbox offers for the really low price nad low learning curve involved is truly hard to believe! Which is why I ordered one within hours of receiving that email I mentioned.
If you’re interested in getting your own FingBox, there are 2 different ways you can do so. In both cases the price is the same and free shipping is included. The first alternative is to order it from Amazon. I became an Amazon Associate a few months ago, so if you’d like to support my website by ordering it this way I’d recieve a small commission and I’d be really grateful too :-) The second method is to order it directly from Fing. Regardless of the method you use, Fingbox is covered by a generous 2 year warranty and is guaranteed to never require subscription fees.
Please leave any comments way down towards the bottom of the page in the little comments box.