Consumer IoT

Unsecured routers: the gateway to IoT smart home threats

September 21, 2017

If 2016 was the year of device development for the internet of things (IoT), 2017 has been the year of real-world deployments and monetization. Google and Amazon have moved quickly

MikeHealey
Public Relations Specialist

If 2016 was the year of device development for the internet of things (IoT), 2017 has been the year of real-world deployments and monetization. Google and Amazon have moved quickly to offer smart home hubs in the forms of Google Home and Amazon Echo, arguably two of the most well-known home assistant devices in the consumer sector today.

The pool of IoT devices continues to grow with analysts at Gartner expecting 5.2 billion units to be in use before the end of the year. Connected door locks, home energy monitors, thermostats, and “smart” lighting are becoming commonplace. These products increasingly learn our preferences and can anticipate our needs. It means we can spend more time enjoying our home rather than managing it. Convenience is king, after all.

Except when it’s not. Nobody wants their life histories, banking details and personal photos leaked online or used fraudulently – that information, once leaked, is out in the public domain forever.

The problem with IoT devices is that the more endpoints there are connected to a network, the greater the threat vector. In other words, as the number of IoT devices behind a network’s firewall increase, the weaker the smart home becomes. A highly-connected home setup gives cybercriminals more devices to target. And as hackers adopt more sophisticated methods to attack people, they only need to find one small crack in a device’s shield to compromise the entire home network.

Securing your home with Netis Systems and Chime

A smart home’s defense is only as strong as its network’s security. This is why we have partnered with Netis Systems, a leading router manufacturer, to secure its Stonet router with Chime, our router security platform based on AVG technology.

Chime offers an extra layer of security by protecting against malware, viruses and other malicious behaviour that could compromise the network. It also provides parental controls such as app blocking and content filtering, as well as on-the-go security alerts via its user-friendly mobile app.

 

Two out of five routers in the world are vulnerable

In March this year, we ran 132 million unique scans of our user base to check the security status of their connected products. We found that over 40 percent had a router software vulnerability or were connected to the internet with weak or default passwords, compromising their security.

This evidence of unsecured routers is not unique to the Avast and AVG user base. Recently, internet and telecommunications giant Virgin Media advised 800,000 customers to change their passwords on their Virgin Super Hub 2 routers after an investigation from a UK consumer rights group found hackers could access personal information from smart home networks and connected appliances. While the study uncovered serious security flaws in eight of the 15 smart appliances reviewed, it also highlighted the liabilities of the internet access point in the home – the router.

Our partnership with Netis Systems further illustrates our commitment to solving the IoT security challenge for consumers. We believe that through collaborative partnerships and a “security by design” approach, we can help manufacturers and users safely enjoy their next generation smart home.

Netis has chosen to feature Chime security on its new Stonet router now shipping.

Mike Healey
September 21, 2017


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