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Bitdefender security appliance for home networks seeks to replace end-point antivirus

Lucian Constantin | Nov. 26, 2014
Antivirus firm Bitdefender unveiled a hardware security appliance for home networks Tuesday that aims to protect devices by scanning network traffic to detect and block potential security threats.

Bitdefender BOX can identify and block connections to malicious URLs and known bad IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, malware downloads, malformed packets that could indicate incoming attacks and other potential threats. However, the device does more than scan network traffic.

Bitdefender will also provide light software agents for Windows, Mac and Android that will communicate with BOX and can act as replacements for antivirus programs. These agents can detect if the software or the OS installed on computers are missing important security patches and can automatically install the updates. They also monitor all applications executed on the devices and use the Bitdefender cloud to determine if they're clean.

When a computer is taken outside of the user's home network, the agent can establish a VPN (virtual private network) connection back to BOX, routing all traffic through it and analyzing it for threats. This also protects the device from man-in-the-middle and other attacks when connected to insecure networks, like to public Wi-Fi hotspots.

In the future, Bitdefender plans to implement parental control functionality in BOX, which will also be enforced by the software agents, even if the user takes the device outside of the home network, Botezatu said.

Since BOX is aimed at parents and nontechnical users, a lot of effort was put into making its set-up process as simple as possible, Botezatu said. Users can configure and control BOX through a user-friendly application installed on their Android or iOS devices, he said.

If users choose to install the device alongside an existing router, they need to provide the username and password for the router's administration interface and BOX will automatically make the necessary configurations so it can start inspecting network traffic. When configured as a router, users will be asked about their ISP connection settings.

BOX's price might seem quite high, putting it in the same range as high-end home routers. However, according to Botezatu, since BOX and its software agents can replace traditional antivirus products, users will no longer have to buy individual antivirus licenses for each of their devices. Instead, the $99 annual subscription for BOX will offer protection for an unlimited number of devices, some not even covered by traditional antivirus products.


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