Monday, November 6, 2017

Avira SafeThings™ reimagines home security in the IoT world, without adding another device in the house

TETTNANG, GERMANY, November 6th, 2017 Avira, the German security developer behind the award-winning antivirus solution, announces the availability of its SafeThings™, a totally new approach to safeguard smart homes and the growing number of IoT devices. With nearly a decade of experience in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Avira has developed a gateway software solution for IoT devices that provides security and privacy without additional infrastructure, nor added complexity for the users.

Effective solution that just works

Avira SafeThings™ is a software application installed on routers that automatically secures the connected devices in the home, by using machine learning and artificial intelligence, in a friendly manner, with a compelling user interface. SafeThings™ is easily delivered via the router or the internet service providers and doesn’t require end users to act as the information security officers for their home.

“We know that people don’t want to buy yet another device and they certainly don’t want the headache that comes with installation,” said Travis Witteveen, CEO of Avira. “With Avira SafeThings™ we are strengthening our core competency, best in class AI-based detection.  We know that users just want to enjoy the experience of the smart appliances, without leaving the couch, and while being safe. They expect security and privacy protection to just work. Together with our partners, the internet service providers and router manufacturers, we work to deliver IoT security and privacy to consumers, via their routers, in a highly effective and friendly way.”

Avira SafeThings™ transforms routers into home protectors, supporting user privacy and placing IoT devices beyond the reach of hackers. SafeThings™ sits where the home meets the internet, within the home router. By identifying what goes in and out – and then using artificial intelligence to dynamically analyze their behavior – SafeThings™ can quickly identify intrusive or hijacked IoT device activity and stop it. It safeguards users’ connected devices against hijacking, ransomware, misuse and intrusion, while enabling owners to see and control how their connected devices handle data.

IoT became the spying neighbor within the house

The smart home has become a reality. The Internet of Things enables convenient manageability of a variety of devices - from electronics (phones, tablets, TV), to utilities (thermostats, lighting, energy trackers) and even appliances (connected washer / vacuum cleaners). According to the industry analyst firm Gartner, the estimated total number of connected devices would hit 8.4 billion in 2017, a big jump of 31% from 2016. That count puts the number of these devices well over that of the 7.5 billion people inhabiting the Earth.

Internet of Things benefits come with a tradeoff: the owners are virtually naked and exposed in their see-through smart homes by providing nonstop, often unencrypted information for about all their private actions - choice of TV programs, CCTV videos of home activities, and even preferred thermostat settings. Fundamental principles of security are routinely ignored with IoT devices. They are often shipped with default or poorly generated default passwords, and no “change password at first use” policy.  There’s extreme cases where no password is required to access devices or select services on those devices. Additionally, unnecessary ports are often left open at the factory.

It is estimated that currently 70% of the IoT devices are vulnerable to hijacking.  Attackers know these and exploit such vulnerabilities putting both the connected home and the network infrastructure at risk. The release of Mirai malware in October 2016 changed the landscape dramatically, proving that the smart devices can be enslaved into a botnet to distribute spam and malware or to stole private data for blackmailing.

In real life, most people close the curtains or lock the door when they realize they are exposed. But with many connected smart homes, users don’t even realize that the spying neighbor next door lives now in their house. They might not know which of their household appliances – from light bulbs to washing machine – are tracking the online and offline behavior. Even worse, they have no way to slam the door on these intruders, apart from unplugging the device.

Building a secure platform

Avira SafeThings™ is a security platform, fusing several functions together as it secures the smart home, via four basic actions:

1.     Watches– A software agent tags each device in the smart home and collects basic information about messages going in and out through the gateway. This info is like the sending and return address on a letter, Avira SafeThings™ is not getting into the private content.

2.     Thinks – SafeThings™ uses AI – such as machine & swarm intelligence – techniques to dynamically classify each device, determine normal behavior, and develop the advanced logic needed set the rules for connected devices. It also learns and adapts to develop more accurate detection, by itself.

3.     Acts – When SafeThings™ AI detects unusual device activity, it has the agent enforce the rules. This shuts down the suspect activity without disturbing the device’s usual functions.

4.     Shares - The SafeThings™ user interface shows in a friendly manner what’s going on in the network. The user gets to know more about the data the smart devices are collecting and broadcasting, without requiring stepping into the process.

Device security with Avira inside

Avira is bucking the industry trend of selling an additional box for Internet of Things security. As a software solution, Avira SafeThings™ is available only through internet service providers and through router manufacturers.  To get Avira SafeThings™ covering the home network and router activity, interested consumers should talk to the local service provider or look for the Avira label on their next router.

For more details, please visit: https://safethings.avira.com

About Avira

Avira protects people in the connected world – enabling everyone to manage, secure, and improve their digital lives. The Avira umbrella covers a portfolio of security and performance applications for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. In addition, the reach of our protective technologies extends through OEM partnerships. Our security solutions consistently achieve best-in-class results in independent tests for detection, performance, and usability. Avira is a privately-owned company that employs 500 people. Its headquarters are near Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany, and the company has additional offices in Romania, India, Singapore, China, Japan & the United States. A portion of Avira's sales support the Auerbach Foundation, which assists education, children, and families in need. For more information about Avira visit www.avira.com.