Update: Alright, I’m an idiot, but also a perfectionist. I typo’d “Wireless” in the original title and didn’t notice it until just now when I went to write another post. Since I hate leaving it typo’d as “Wirless”, I just had to go and update it… Forgive me oh loyal readers…
Ordinarily I avoid McAfee products like the plague, but just now I stumbled upon their Wireless Home Network Security product (and optional ‘Suite’ version, which packages it with AntiVirus and Spyware to suck maximum change out of you).
Honestly, this looks like a pretty cool idea, and one that I’ve thought was needed for several years now. With so many unprotected WAPs around these days (I’ve got 2 in range of me here at home and another business’ in range at work), it’s obvious that something needs to be done about this problem, if not to protect those of us running web-based services and servers from being hammered by SPAM and DDoS attacks, then simply to protect people from their own stupidity and ignorance.
Furthermore, I’m pretty much shocked that McAfee would be the ones to come out and publish a product that sounds this good. I’d counted them out for the game long ago, even more so since they were fined $50 million for claiming inflated revenues (131% so in 1998 alone). Still, if this product is anything like it sounds, it could be that last desperate attempt to hang on that McAfee needs to make a comeback.
For a long time now, security has been a complicated and expensive business. With Cisco dominating the VPN market with prices so insanely high as to eliminate everyone but large corporations, consumers have been forced to take a backseat. Now picture for a moment a product for the average home idiot. Install it on your PC, it probes for wireless access points, asks you for your password, and instantly upgrades the firmware on your WAP to the latest version, implements the strongest grade of encryption (WPA or WPA2) possible, and instantly creates a “local VPN” between you and the other machines on your network.
Not only is everything encrypted by the native encryption of the wireless signal (the WPA), but communication between your machines is also instantly (and without any interaction on your part) encrypted between all the other machines running this client software on your network.
No longer would security be the sole domain of multimillion dollar corporations. Now it would be available to Joe Moron. Not only would it help cut down on the overall number of unsecured WAPs in every community, but it would also help improve the overall quality of life of everyone (and not just by keping Joe’s neighbor from browsing his 2005 tax returns).
I’m not sure that this particular McAfee product would do anything even remotely similar to my vision, but it looks like it’s a no-hassel start that any idiot with a computer can buy, install and use.
I, for one, intend to try it out sometime this week (particularly since I can get it at an educational discount), just to see what kind of a start we are off to. I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it goes, but I’d also like to hear any opinions if anyone out there has any previous experience with it. Anybody?