Safeguarding connected home networks from cyber security risks

Johannesburg, 22 Jun 2018
Read time 3min 30sec

In a bid to safeguard connected home networks from sophisticated cyber attacks, which often result in compromised passwords, e-mail addresses and other personal information, including private banking details, Duxbury Networking is promoting a comprehensive, recently announced security service.

Dubbed Netgear Armour, the service is geared to provide security for any device connected to a home network via a Netgear router.

Tobie van Schalkwyk, business development manager at Duxbury Networking, the local Netgear distributor, explains that Netgear Armour, powered by Bitdefender, which is an award-winning leader in cyber security, is an advanced multi-layer solution that runs on Netgear routers and connected devices. It actively detects and protects home networks from cyber threats.

"With the proliferation of 'smart' home devices, home computer users are now many times more vulnerable to security breaches than their corporate cousins," he stresses. "While a large corporate security breach makes media headlines, home computer users are regularly having to deal with the consequences of critical data theft.

"Thanks to clever phishing and other techniques, it is easy to unwittingly download malware to a smart device and thus fall prey to an attacker's malicious intent."

Van Schalkwyk says as a result of the broad acceptance of the Internet of things (IOT), connected technology has made its way into smart television sets and home entertainment systems. Today's houses are equipped with smart lights, smart security cameras, data recorders and alarms, and an expanding range of smart appliances.

He warns that each of these products could provide a potential entry point to a home network, and the computers and data storage devices attached to it, because they use WiFi to become accessible over the Internet.

"The lack of sufficient protection when setting up an IOT device, together with failures to keep current with updates from the manufacturer, are among the primary reasons why hackers are so successful in gaining access to smart home devices and stealing valuable personal data held on home computer systems," he says.

"For example, a digital video recorder with factory settings and a default password can easily be targeted and hacked. Despite manufacturers encouraging users to practice better 'computer hygiene' by installing firmware updates as they become available and regularly changing passwords, users are generally unmotivated, until they experience the panic associated with a malfunctioning computer and critical data loss."

He notes the situation is exacerbated because an intrusion is often difficult to recognise.

"A compromised device that becomes part of a 'botnet' often performs the same, without any indicators that it is now part of a cyber attacking, cyber weaponised army. By the time the obvious signs of an intrusion appear, for example, abnormal activity due to set-up modification changes, denied access to the configuration page because of changed credentials, it its often too late to take effective remedial action."

Turning to the Netgear Armour solution, he says it has the features that one would need to keep a home network and all connected IOT, smart home and personal mobile devices safe and secure from anywhere in the world. It achieves this without sacrificing network speed, performance or privacy.

"The service scans the network, identifying every device connected to it. Scanning is fast and light on resources as it mostly occurs in the cloud to maximise power and efficiency," he says, remarking that home routers and personal devices are rarely geared to perform power-hungry or processor-intensive tasks.

Van Schalkwyk adds that, importantly, the Netgear Armour service never scans or stores the actual contents of any documents or files.

Duxbury Netgear has announced the Netgear Armour powered by Bitdefender service will soon be available via a firmware upgrade on the Nighthawk AC2300 Smart WiFi router (model R7000P) followed by firmware updates for Orbi and the current lineup of Nighthawk routers.

Editorial contacts
Howard Mellet Howard Mellet (+27) 082 652 6685
Duxbury Networking Luned Lira (+27) 011 351 9800
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