F-Secure's Router Promises to Protect Your Smart Home

SAN FRANCISCO — You soon may not have a choice over whether to buy a smart-home device that connects to the internet, because such connectivity will be everywhere, a leading cybersecurity expert said at a private luncheon at the RSA Conference here this week.

Credit: F-SecureCredit: F-Secure

"I think the internet will disappear," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finnish information-security firm F-Secure. "In 30 years, we won't be talking about the internet. It will just be in the background."

To protect consumers' connections to that ever-present internet, F-Secure announced that the F-Secure Sense, a $199 home-security wireless router along the lines of the Bitdefender Box and the upcoming Norton Core, would be available in mid-2017.

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The Sense was first announced in November 2015, but F-Secure representatives told Tom's Guide that building a hardware product — the company's first — was more difficult than it initially seemed. After having done lots of testing, F-Secure is confident the Sense will be ready by the end of June.

The device, a tower with a diamond-shaped footprint, will be both a dual-band 802.11ac router and a home-network security appliance, protecting all internet-connected devices on a home network from malicious traffic. It will run on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB of RAM and 1GB of storage.

Credit: F-SecureCredit: F-Secure

The companion Sense app and desktop software (subscriptions will be $96 per year, with the first year free) will add F-Secure's antivirus functions to iOS, Android and Windows devices.Mac compatibility and a virtual private network are in the pipeline for the future, but may be not be part of the initial release.

You can pre-order the Sense router now for $199. Tom's Guide will do a full review as soon as we get a unit from F-Secure.

Hypponen stressed the importance of devices like the Sense in protecting home networks, because, as most security experts agree, far too many unsecure Internet of Things devices are flooding smart homes across the world. Thousands of IoT devices were hijacked in October 2016 to create a massive DDoS attack and disrupt internet connections in North America.

"The Internet of Things is a clear and present danger to the internet," Hypponen said.

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