BullGuard Premium Protection is probably one of the most comprehensive security suites available. Alongside industry-leading malware protection, galvanised even further with a new triple-layer behavioural engine, it now includes a new Home Network Scanner.
The Home Network Scanner is a proactive response to the increasing number of smart devices people are adding to their networks, such as baby monitors and security cameras.
This is a relatively new trend, but one that is accelerating. In fact, it’s growing at such a rapid rate it has widely been dubbed the next wave of computing and one that is set to transform the places we live and work in.
When you hook up a smart camera to your network, you’re probably not thinking in those terms. But you’re in an expanding army of millions around the world who are adding all sorts of smart devices, from thermostats and baby monitors to fridges, smart TVs, speakers and alarms.
However, as is only too apparent many of these smart devices lack good security features. In fact, their vulnerabilities have been exposed many times over already, whether it’s hackers creating vast botnets of compromised devices or targeting specific devices and homes.
This is why the new Home Network Scanner feature in BullGuard Premium Protection is so important:
- It proactively assesses your entire network and every device on it 24/7. This includes all connected devices whether a smartphone, baby monitor or desktop computer.
- When a new device connects to the network, the scanner automatically performs a deep scan and a status check, highlighting back doors and vulnerabilities that cyber crooks could exploit
Home Network Scanner in action
When we think of hackers, we tend to picture a shadowy mysterious figure hunched over a screen and keyboard. The truth is hackers come in all shapes and sizes; some are out and out criminals, others are super bright, and like to probe systems for weaknesses, develop malware code and stay ahead of the game, others are bright but not quite as super smart, and straddle a divide between lawful and lawless.
Let’s imagine a hacker in the latter camp, who goes by the name of Thaddeus. Based in the US, he is driven by curiosity and a desire to flex his skills. He’s not averse to anonymously selling his skills and making money when he deems it safe to do so.
Fish in cyber space
Thaddeus has been reading about a recent smart device attack in which hackers attempted to steal data from a US casino through a fish tank connected to the internet. The hackers managed to compromise the tank to send data to a device in Finland before the threat was discovered and stopped.
This was a recent real event. Thaddeus is intrigued. He begins exploring the Shodan search engine, which detects, categorises and stores information on smart connected devices the world over at a rate of an estimated 500 million a month.
Thaddeus is excited. He discovers that there are many poorly protected connected devices, ranging from industrial control systems that manage power plants and railway networks to a certain brand of thermostat and lots more of connected devices in between.
Whoops, there goes your thermostat
Thaddeus detects a thermostat with an IP address that corresponds to Minnesota. He thinks this is funny because he lives in the same state. He also discovers that the device has an open port to the internet.
Chatting with other hackers on dark web forums about his discovery, Thaddeus learns that he can use the open port to access the device and also the home network.
He discovers that if he exploits the open port and the home network it takes only a few trivial steps to escalate the intrusion and begin, for instance, gathering personal information, such as passwords and usernames used for online banking as well as account numbers. Thaddeus has hit a gold mine and his hacking peers are encouraging him to exploit it. The question is whether he does or not?
Closing the door on hackers
However, what Thaddeus doesn’t realise without further probing is that the thermostat he is considering hacking has already had its port closed. The owners ran a BullGuard Home Network Scan which revealed that the thermostat had an open port; a manufacturing device flaw common to many smart connected devices.
They discovered that all they needed to do to close the port was to set a new rule in their firewall. As a result, their home network and private information is safe, irrespective of how many port scans hackers carry out to probe their network for weaknesses.
BullGuard Home Network Scanner scans the home network and identifies all connected devices. In the situation outlined above, the scanner would immediately detect the open port thermostat vulnerability and flag it to the owner, enabling him or her to rectify the situation.