Nowadays, most of the population has access to the Internet, in a variety of ways: mobile Internet, fiber Internet, cable Internet, radio link, Starlink (Elon Musk's idea to bring the Internet to places where it doesn't already exist), etc.
This involves willy-nilly having some sort of local area network (LAN) in the home. Sometimes very simple, like a cable modem from the carrier or a prepaid modem, and sometimes some people want something more from the network.
If you are one such person then you have come to the right place, welcome to the club. In the following article I'll tell you a bit about my recently upgraded network, and what it looked like before. Maybe you'll be tempted to upgrade your network too? 😌
There are those for whom the default modem from the operator is enough, I'll say more, most people are enough because, well, it's no surprise that it will give you what it was created for - Internet access. That's all it is and that's all it does. But is it the best solution? Not always and not for everyone. If someone just wants to use it, then yes - sure, just, a technician from the operator plugs the modem into a socket and into the electricity and it works. Magic. As Apple says - "It just works.”
But it also has its drawbacks, well... let's agree, these devices are not the most efficient or the most secure (yes, most people have them on default settings and admin123 type passwords). They simply are what they are. Many people don't realize how dangerous it is, all it takes is someone with Kali Linux, or another OS to tap into these packages, and crack with a dictionary password, a password of this type should only take a few seconds. It's not worth it because it's illegal, unless you're from the blue team - that is, an ethical hacker, or you train on your own network as a lab and learn networking / Linux / cybersecurity. The administration panel of such a device is another drawback, custom firmware, limited capabilities, no craze. You can change the password, the name of the Wi-Fi network, the password to it, basic IP address reservation and that's mostly all. You can't even change the LAN IP address (in UPC at least the network must be 192.168.X.X). By virtue of the fact that it's the carrier's firmware, they decide the frequency of updates - and here they're unlikely to respond the fastest, with new threats and vulnerabilities appearing in the world every day. As long as you still have the latest model of modem, and one of the higher subscriptions, maybe these updates will be once every few months, you don't even know when, they randomly install overnight, but there is no certainty. Any more advanced change requires a call to support, such as at UPC (to get them to give me IPv4, since they changed it remotely themselves and I only had IPv6 on the WAN side).
Another disadvantage is that the device you get from your carrier actually takes care of everything on your network. It is referred to as a modem or router, but it really is:
Let's already imagine that such an unpleasant and fatal scenario happened, someone cracked the password to your modem, either you had the default one, too simple, or there was a vulnerability in the software and even a 63-character WPA2 password did not help. The consequences could be different, it depends on the attacker, but he could eavesdrop on you in an uncontrolled way (you won't know about it), plus if it was nothing more than packet eavesdropping then half bad. But all it needs is deep packet inspection, weak encryption and it can learn your passwords and read your network traffic. Maybe to your bank, or maybe your e-mails. It can shut down your internet, play pranks, change addresses, substitute fake websites, take over and infect your devices, peep even through your webcam. Make your devices into cryptocurrency miners, put your computers on the BOTnet and attack other users on the Internet, set up your network as a relay or node in the TOR onion network, which can lead to legal problems and service visits, and so on. I could list endlessly like this. It all depends on the ability, desperation and doggedness of the attacker. And that's just some of the things. In modern networks, it is possible to set a trap on the network, a so-called honeypot, to simulate a "client" and expose oneself as a decoy on the network, in order to lure a cyber attacker and have it detected, investigated and rejected.
Sure, you can also use VPNs to protect yourself, but this solution is also not ideal and does not solve all problems. You pay some VPN operator, maybe the one from YouTube ads, I won't name, but the most famous ones. And in most cases he can peep what you "push" through the network nodes anyway, or he can pass this data to other authorities, or even ad trackers. Plus you have to install it per device, well unless you want to install it in advance for the whole network (not every router supports this). So whether such a commercial VPN protects you or not depends on the provider, but they also have their advantages like geolocation, you connect to 🇺🇸 , and watch serials available there on streaming platforms like Netflix, which are not available in Poland. The topic is very broad, so it would be appropriate to expand it, look at it from several perspectives and write about it in another article.
As you can already see, I've outlined the situation for you a bit, and the disadvantages outnumber the advantages, and cyber security is important, and will become more important as time goes on. It's worth learning, but it's also worth protecting yourself so you don't become a victim of attack.