Smart-homes, ambient surveillance, and love/hate with VPNs.

October Letter

Hi there,

Apple users endured the Catalina and iOS 13 upgrades this month. For most, the upgrades were uneventful. For others, not so much. Including me. More on that later.

Family Office Magazine 

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The publisher of Family Office Magazine invites our readers to a complimentary 1-year subscription:

The Magazine's Fall 2019 issues includes my article:

"Cybersecurity for Private Clients, Families,& VIPs"

Smart Homes and the IoT

IoT - the Internet of Things.

Increasingly, the 'things' that surround us are connected to the internet. Aware, "smart", and connected, they act as life-monitors observing activities and collecting personal information.

Fifty to a hundred billion things will be connected and monitoring by 2021. Many of them embedded in our personal lives and private environments. 

Personal Devices & Private Environments

The result of the Internet of Things can be described as a state of ambient surveillance.  Sadly, but not surprisingly, unfettered access to surveillance-level streams of private activities and personal information can quickly and easily turn very bad. 

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Each internet-connected device, or 'thing', is attached by cable or Wi-Fi to a router. This "local network" makes up your private environment. The router connects the local network to a modem, which connects to the internet. If a hacker can get on an IoT device it can access the local network and "own" its activities. 

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The information streaming from your personal network is sought after by many. Cybercriminals, state-sponsored hackers, Big Tech, Big Government, the creep down the street, and bad guys from around the world; they all want the information they can get from watching your network. 

Increasingly, they're using IoT things to get in.

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Protecting Home Networks and Devices

The best way to protect a local network and all connected 'things' is by putting a "gate" between the modem and the router. A 'smart' gate that inspects everything inbound from the internet and blocks the bad from getting in - like a dome of security over all of your internet activities. Click the image below to learn more.

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Ideally, the smart-gate also anonymizes everything going out; for privacy, security, and personal safety. Including cameras, TVs, doorbells, thermostats, and everything else streaming from the Internet of Things.

This is what our Managed Network Security service does, and if you'd like to learn more about how we use advanced science and intelligence to protect home and home office networks, contact us here:

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About Your VPN - a User's Guide

So, anyone feeling a love/hate thing with their VPN? Me too.

Like I said in the introduction, the past 30-days of updates and upgrades from Apple and Microsoft have taken their toll. It seems VPNs were especially affected by the changes.

The iOS 13 upgrade put my iPhone 11 out of commission for a good half day. And I had to reinstall my Freedome VPN to get it to behave. Why? Why does this happen, and why do we put up with it?


Here are some tips and insights to the crankiness inherent to VPNs, and why we advocate and endure their use in every day life:

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The Total Wealth Symposium

Screen Shot 2019-10-24 at 6.10.18 PMFinally, a big "thank you!" to all our friends from the Total Wealth Symposium, this year at the Amelia Island Resort.

If you attended or viewed the simulcast, and haven't connected to me or Diane yet, please do so by replying to this email soon, or reaching out to

Thanks for reading,

Brad Deflin

Click to view online

 “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott
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Apple Mac OS Catalina - Privacy and Security Features

Wired Magazine reports - "The latest macOS update is chock-full of ways to better safeguard your data."

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Apple iOS 13 Privacy & Security Features

The New York Times on the new suite of privacy tools in Apple’s latest mobile software, from minimizing location sharing to silencing robocalls.

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Has Your iPhone Been Hacked? Google Reveals Massive Malware Attack

Newsweek reports the malware was capable of stealing passwords, encrypted messages, chat histories, location data and more. Information was then sent to a "command and control" server operated by an unknown hacker or hackers, uploading new data every minute.

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Ransomware Up Over 350% in 2019

Tech Republic reports "There have been hugely-successful ransomware attacks that have resulted in criminals making off with thousands, even millions of dollars from a single infection," the article states. "If that isn't motivation to double down on this attack type, we don't know what is." 

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Facebook Paid Contractors to Transcribe Users’ Audio Chats

According to Bloomberg: "Facebook, which just completed a $5 billion settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission after a probe of its privacy practices, has long denied that it collects audio from users to inform ads or help determine what people see in their news feeds. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg denied the idea directly in Congressional testimony."

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The best way to start protecting?

Go private! Over 80% of cybercrime originates with an email. 

  • Own your email - not Big Tech
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