Security firms have launched routers at CES that
can stop smart household gadgets being hijacked
Symantec, BitDefender and Intel unveiled devices
that scrutinise data as it flows across home
The companies say routers with built-in defences
will be essential as homes are filled with net-
The routers also come with parental control
features that help manage how much time children
spend online and what they see.
“You will have to buy a security solution for your
internet-of-things,” said Alex Balan, chief security
researcher at BitDefender.
The “internet of things” refers to the growing
collection of smart gadgets that can be controlled
via the net.
“Pretty soon everything will be connected one way
or another and managed by a smartphone app,”
said Mr Balan. “You won’t be able to avoid it.”
But that interconnectivity and ease of use comes at
a cost, he said, adding that the end of 2016 had
seen a surge in attacks that compromised net-
connected CCTV cameras, televisions and media
The poor security on these gadgets led to them
being enrolled in massive networks by hackers who
use them to carry out overwhelming attacks. One
network, called Mirai, staged some of the biggest
net attacks ever seen.
The problem has got so serious that the US Federal
Trade Commission has kicked off a competition to
create tools that consumers can add to their home
network that can protect IoT devices from attack.
Cash rewards of $25,000 (£20,000) will be given to
the best entrants.
“Security for these devices has to start at the
network level,” said Gareth Lockwood from
Symantec. “There’s no other way to do it.”
As the entry and exit point for home networks,
routers were the best place to put a security
system that can watch for malicious traffic coming
in and cut off hackers trying to access insecure kit.
While current home routers do have security
systems, most are pretty basic, said Mr Lockwood,
and none is ready for the explosion of smart
devices predicted to be in use soon.
“If we look forward four to five years from now we
expect to see between 20 to 30 billion devices in
homes,” he said. “There’ll be tens of devices per