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A Secure Digital Life Requires Simplicity

Timo Laaksonen

15.05.18 4 min. read

There are two things that everyone knows about connected homes: 1) they’re happening, whether consumers realize it or not and 2) the devices that make our homes connected aren’t being built with your privacy or security in mind, instead they’re often designed to collect and monetize your data.

Here are two statistics that put these two realities in context.

According to a recent report from Gartner, “By 2021, there will be over 15 billion connected devices in users’ homes worldwide, up from 4.8 billion today.” Gartner’s report also finds that “by 2021 more than 75% of connected home devices will be leveraged in distributed denial of service (DDoS) or IoT botnet attacks, up from 40% today.”

This is the future everyone sees: millions of new devices coming online every week and as many as 3 of 4 of them may be insecure.

And customers are not oblivious to these risks.

Still, we can’t expect the average user to take proactive steps to protect against the threats we all see coming if our solutions aren’t intuitive and simple. At best, securing a connected home should not require a customer to install any software at all. Ideally, security should be available by just requesting that your broadband service provider press one magic button. It doesn’t need to be any harder than that.

But once customers’ homes are secure, other questions naturally arise.

What happens if actual threat emerges or there is a breach attempt? Will users need to be notified? How? Are users expected to take action themselves, or do we help them choose between remedies? Can they get access to expert support if the situation turns really nasty?

Solving these user experience questions is just as important as making it dead simple to take security services into use.

There are lots of Internet of Things devices and smart gadgets that people take outside their homes, including watches, health monitoring devices, tablets and smartphones. You probably have one on you right now. Imagine the confusion if the same devices that are secure at home are suddenly left vulnerable to online threats as soon as they leave the premises.

The blanket of security that protects your connected home must also cover you when you and your family members are on the go. That’s the kind of security everyone can understand.

So how do we do it?

The simple way to secure consumers at home and on-the-go is to provide a combination of network security through the router or gateway on the customers’ premises working in tandem with Artificial Intelligence-powered Security Cloud and endpoint protection for devices capable of hosting protection apps, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. This way, all devices –including PCs, IoT devices and wearables — are protected in one go.

Again, simple.

“Building a connected home with an insecure router is like building on quicksand, and that is something that is going to have to change if we want smart homes to be secure,” says Andrea Barisani, F-Secure’s Head of Hardware Security.

This is why our work typically starts with pressure-testing the home routers that ISPs and retailers make available to their customers so we can answer the key question: Do they stand the penetration testing attacks over it’s whole lifecycle? We helped router manufacturers and ISPs harden the security of their home gateways to build a rock-solid foundation for the connected home.

And we believe it’s also the foundation for securing the future.

F-Secure has offered its secure SENSE router for almost a year directly to consumers. We’ve recently complemented that offering by answering the call to make the adoption of connected home security simple for customers who use home routers provided by their Internet Service Providers. We are now providing router makers and ISPs with an embedded Connected Home Security solution as a software development kit (SDK) mounted onto home WiFi routers. This Security Cloud and AI powered kit turns a regular ISP WiFi router into one that protects home users and their internet connected devices against malware, phishing and online tracking, and secures smart and IoT devices against cyber attacks.

The SENSE solution secures customers’ entire life without burdening them with unnecessary information or actions. It protects the devices you have now and the devices you want to get next, at home and anywhere they go. And manufacturers and operators can use it to secure their existing customers whose homes are already filled with connected things.

If you lock your doors at night, you’re probably the kind of person who wants to lock down your internet connection. And a secure router–your key to the connected world–is the simplest way to do it.

*Gartner Inc., Market Insight: Address 3 Critical Security Issues to Differentiate Yourself in the Connected Home Market, Annette Zimmermann, Saniye Burcu Alaybeyi, 26 April 2018

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Timo Laaksonen

15.05.18 4 min. read


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