Security software specialist Trend Micro and consumer electronics company Asus announced a partnership which will see Trend Micro’s Smart Home Network worked into Asus wireless routers.
The agreement is designed to strengthen security for smart devices in the home by integrating the combination of network management and security with parental controls.
Trend Micro’s Smart Home Network features three-phase defense to address the before-during-after stages of home network security.
Before, it will check the router configuration--for example, the password strength, to lower the risk of being compromised. During, the company has both inbound and outbound protection. For inbound protection (attacks from outside), Trend Micro’s Intrusion Prevention engine protects system and application vulnerabilities of the router and home network devices, and creates a “Virtual Patch.”
For outbound protection, the company checks the Website or server’s reputation and integrity before users attempt to reach malicious ones.
If a PC or handheld device got infected by malware, it will have some abnormal behaviors such as talking to a hacker’s “Command and Control” servers or trying to infect neighborhood devices. The solution could detect and notify so that users clean up accordingly.
"As far as the parental control, we offer both “cloud-based” and “on-premise” solutions to categorize the Website access and classify the network applications, respectively," Terence Liu, Trend Micro product manager, told eWEEK. "The former uses our cloud database to differentiate millions of Websites, and the latter analyze network traffic to identify the user applications such like P2P, gaming, streaming and social networking applications."
Liu said home network devices such like home routers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) are usually very vulnerable because of improper configuration, which allow WAN (Internet) access, weak passwords (or even use of default passwords) and also because the manufacturers could use vulnerable system libraries and many of the web GUI are filled with security holes and could be compromised by Cross Site Scripting (XSS) or Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF).
"Even the router vulnerabilities being disclosed and the vendor eventually releasing a upgrade firmware, end users rarely patch," Liu said. "That’s why our intrusion prevention technology could be very helpful by creating a virtual patch to shield the vulnerabilities."
Meanwhile, the quality-of-service feature has the ability to intelligently prioritize Internet traffic by identifying more than 800 Internet applications, as well as 1,000 different Internet-capable devices across 25 hardware categories including mobile devices, smart TVs and gaming consoles.
Started in August, the Asus RT-AC87U began to be embedded with the Smart Home Network software suite, followed by two other models, the RT-AC56U and RT-AC68U, as well as additional new and existing models.
The updates will be completed by the end of 2014, and customers who have already purchased those products can also benefit from the latest firmware on the Internet by upgrade.
"We see today’s home network environment is similar to a small office a decade ago--we have more Internet-connected devices than before, we have more and more security events, and parents need to manage the Internet usage like gaming and social networking and block porn videos from children," Liu said. "Also, there are more and more Internet services like video streaming, so we need better quality of service in terms of bandwidth, not to mention more and more IoT [Internet of things] gadgets and appliances that are coming."