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Home Router or Trojan Horse?
The world of cybersecurity is full of stories of technology secretly encroaching on our privacy. The most common attack comes from malware that we enable hackers to store on our computers or mobile devices. Most of us are familiar with these “Trojan horse” viruses that can open up our devices to cybercriminals. However, there is another piece of equipment that sits quietly flashing away in the majority of our living rooms—the home router—which also constitutes a security threat. This device, which most home users recognize as the gateway to the global Internet, can also act as an even more insidious pathway to our private files and data. Anyone familiar with Greek mythology will recall the story of the wooden horse of Troy. This fable tells the tale of a retreating Greek army leaving behind a gift of a gigantic wooden horse at the gates of Troy. The Trojans, taking the horse as a sign of tribute in defeat from the retreating Greek army, haul the giant horse through the city gates of Troy. Unknown to the Trojans, the horse contained a small group of Greek soldiers who, when the Trojans had drunk themselves silly celebrating the win over their arch enemy, climb down out of the horse, open the gates, and allow their comrades to spring a surprise attack on the sleeping Trojans. And the rest is history, so to speak.
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