Most people already know to install antivirus software as soon as they get a new laptop before they become a soft target for hackers, but as we fill our homes with an ever-wider variety of internet-connected devices, we need to start looking at protecting our entire home networks rather than just individual devices.
Cybersecurity has made the headlines across the world in recent months, with organisations from the NHS to FedX infected by ransomeware, and news that nearly that the CPUs in nearly all laptops and smartphones are vulnerable to attack because of the Spectre and Meltdown bugs. Whilst the scale of these issues have made them frontpage news, they represent only a tiny fraction of the security threats facing internet users every day.
Keeping your operating system, antivirus, and other software up-to-date should keep most people’s laptops reasonably well protected, but not every device has such tight security. Many people do not run antivirus at all on their smartphone or tablet, and a majority of Mac users think they are safe from viruses and malware thanks to some misleading ad campaigns from Apple over the last decade.
An increasing number of us have also started to install connected speakers, televisions, light-bulbs, thermostats, and other devices to our home networks – items which are increasingly becoming targets for hackers. 2016 saw the first large-scale use by hackers of a botnet made up of infected home devices in an attack that brought down the entire internet for millions of Americans on the eastern sea-board, so it is about time we took security for the Internet of Things (IoT) more seriously.
IoT devices do not have the processing power to run antivirus software, and some manufacturers are even so lax as to hardwire in an administrator username and password. Therefore, the only way to keep these devices secure is to install some form of guard that monitors and protects the entire home network, and security firm Bitdefender is one of the companies that has stepped up to develop a device that does just that with it’s latest Bitdefender Box 2 ($199 + $99/yr subscription).
The Box is security-focused router that protects any IoT devices on your network from malware, stolen passwords, identity theft, spying, and a variety of other threats, as well as offering a useful array of parental controls. Or, for those with an ISP-supplied router, the Box can be installed alongside that device to provide the same level of protection for your network. Bitdefender also bundles the Box with a subscription to their Bitdefender Total Security 2018 package to make sure that all your laptops, smartphones, and tablets will remain secure when you are using them elsewhere, such as on the public WiFi at your local coffee shop.
Most routers on the market today only offer a basic firewall, and were never designed to provide always-on protection for the increasing number of IoT devices we are installing in our homes. If you would like to see whether your home network is vulnerable to attack, then Bitdefender offer a free IoT vulnerability scanner that will identify any risks you may currently face – it may just be the wake-up call you need to take home network security a bit more seriously!