Routers to defend smart homes against hacks

During CES 2017, security firms had launched new routers that can stop smart household devices from being hacked by hackers.

Bitdefender, Intel and Symantec have all unveiled devices which will examine the data as it streams across home networks. The companies have all said the routers will have built-in defences which will be essential as our homes are filled with net-connected devices.

The new routers will also come with parental control features to help parents manage how much time their children spend online and what sites they can see.

Invasion at home

You will have to buy a security solution for your internet-of-things. Pretty soon everything will be connected one way or another and managed by a smartphone app mentioned by chief security researcher at Bitdefender, Mr Balan.“You won’t be able to avoid it.”

“Internet of things” (IoT) refers to the growing number of smart devices which can be controlled via the net.

The interconnectivity and the ease of use will come at a cost. At the end of 2016, there had been a surge in attacks which had compromised the net-connected CCTV cameras, media servers and televisions. With poor security on these devices led them to be enrolled in a massive network by hackers who use the devices to carry out overwhelming attacks. One particular network was called, Mirai, which staged some of the biggest net attacks ever seen.

“Security for these devices has to start at the network level” said Mr Lockwood from Symantec. “There’s no other way to do it.”

As the entry point for home networks, routers are the best place to put a security system that will watch for malicious traffic and cut off hackers from trying to access insecure kit. The current home routers have a security system although it is mostly pretty basic versions and none of them are really that ready for the explosion of smart devices which is predicted.

“If we look forward four to five years from now we expect to see between 20 to 30 billion devices in homes and there’ll be tens of devices per household “ Added by Mr Lockwood.

Pause the net

All three companies launched secure routers at CES, each of them taking slightly different approaches to solving the internet of things (IoT) headache although they all have one common feature which is they share a smartphone based management system. These devices will face competition from settled devices such as Home Halo, Cujo Smart Firewall and Euro Products.

  • Bitdefender unveiled the Box which will sit alongside a home router and monitors the traffic as it flows across a network. The Box could approximately cost £106 ($129)
  • Intel Security has signed a deal with hardware firm Arris to include its security software in a specially-made line of home protection routers. Prices for this product is yet to be released.
  • Symantec have launched the Norton Core which is intended to replace the router supplied by an ISP. In the US, the Core will cost $279 (It could approximately cost £230)

However, the devices which was launched at CES will only be available in the US but will hopefully reach other regions later on this year. By buying one of the secure routers it will include a subscription to the firm’s standard security software which runs on desktops, tablets and laptops. All three of the routers include net access control systems which lets parents decide on how long the different devices will be used and what sites their children can view.

Symantec’s, Norton Core, also has an internet pause button which can cut off all access for everyone in the household.