Can Antivirus Protect Your IoT Devices in 2019?

Aviva Zacks
Posted: September 16, 2018

Is your fridge sending your personal information to criminals? Is your kettle a part of a massive DDoS attack on your bank? While it may sound ridiculous, these problems have already become a reality.

If you’re used to relying on an antivirus for protection, you probably think that it can protect your Internet of Things (IoT) devices as well. After all, industry-leading antivirus software protects your PCs, laptops, and smartphones from cybercriminals…why not the rest? 

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. IoT devices such as smart TVs, Internet security cameras, Wi-Fi thermostats, and baby monitors, do not possess enough computing power to run an antivirus or simply don’t allow you to install it.

Therefore, the key to protecting IoT devices is to monitor for threats at the network level through deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention, and anomaly detection.

Major antivirus vendors such as Bitdefender, Avast, and Norton have rolled out innovative IoT security solutions to protect the growing number of connected devices in your life, and we’ll show you why you need them.

Why do I Need to Protect my IoT Devices?

Experts at IHS Technology, a global information provider based in London, predict that by 2025, there will be as many as 75 billion connected IoT devices. With the smart home revolution and the rapid growth of connected devices, there are ever-growing new vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit, and they’re very motivated to do so.

IoT Botnets

While your kettle may not have enough processing power on its own, combined with millions of unsecured devices like cameras, routers, and household appliances, it’s known as a “botnet.” These botnets hold enormous computing power that can be manipulated by hackers.

In 2016, an army of CCTV cameras formed a botnet called “Mirai” that left much of the Internet inaccessible on the United States’ east coast. According to Kaspersky Lab research, the distribution of multipurpose remote access tools (RATs) that affect IoT has nearly doubled in the last year (from 6.5% in 2017 to 12.2% in 2018).

IoT Devices are Extremely Vulnerable

The connectivity that makes smart devices work is what makes them exploitable.

Sadly, manufacturers and developers don’t always take extra steps to secure devices. IoT products are developed with convenience and automation in mind; the embedded firmware that are running these devices is often vulnerable, with limited or no built-in security.

In fact, Mirai botnet happened because manufacturers used default and easy-to-guess passwords across the board. Researcher Brian Krebs reported that Mirai was able to take over 500,000 devices by guessing the default password from a list of only 61 combinations. These included passwords “admin” and “12345.”

These extremely weak login credentials were the only layer of protection between hackers and the device. These devices can be used to spy, steal personal information, and even gain physical access to your home.

If you cannot rely on manufacturers to secure your devices, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some of the best solutions that smart homes and IoT devices desperately need:

Norton Core

  • Multi-layer security for your network and IoT devices
  • Easy to manage through your smartphone
  • Superior performance: up to 2.5 Gbps
  • One year of Norton Security included

Your router is probably the least secure device in your home. When it comes to your home network, your router is like a front door. It connects all your IoT and web devices together; if hacked, no device in your home is safe. Even with a strong password, hackers can find a vulnerability at another entry point to your network, such as an unsecured IoT device.

Norton Core is a secure Wi-Fi router that protects your network and IoT devices against cyber threats. It uses military-grade techniques used in Symantec high-end enterprise products such as deep packet inspection, intrusion detection, comprehensive data encryption, along with Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network to defend against malware, viruses, and other threats.

Norton Core is automatically updated against the latest threats and is extremely easy to setup and use. Core discovers your connected devices, identifies vulnerabilities, and defends your IoT devices from threats.

The Core app makes security easy. It monitors data from your connected home and if there’s a problem, Core will alert you immediately with timely insights and tools.

Norton Security comes with the device, and it’s one of the strongest antivirus products on the market.

See Norton Deals >>>

Bitdefender Box

  • Stops network-based attacks
  • Protects IoT devices
  • Comes with Bitdefender antivirus
  • Doesn’t slow down network performance
  • Works with your Wi-Fi router
  • Advanced parental controls

The new Bitdefender Box is great at protecting your IoT devices. The Box’s security features shield devices from attack at the network level.

Simply plug the Box into your existing router and it will immediately begin monitoring Internet traffic, inspecting all data entering or leaving your network, and stopping brute-force password guessing.

It also adds a firewall, acting as the home equivalent of a heavy-duty enterprise security device. Its exploit protection capabilities protect against advanced attacks like SQL injection, path traversal, and local file inclusion.

Every time a new device connects to the network, you get an alert. You can also conduct a network-wide device-vulnerability assessment to see if there are any issues. If an anomalous behavior is detected, the Box shuts down traffic to keep sensitive information from leaving the network.

The Box itself is secured with encrypted updates signed by Bitdefender to prevent any malicious updates from loading. It features advanced parental controls so parents can set online time limits for their children, filter sites by age, or “pause” the Internet.

The included Bitdefender Total Security software is one of our top-rated antivirus products, with a full suite of extra tools like a password manager, a secure browser, advanced parental controls, and file encryption.

See BitDefender Deals >>>

F-Secure Sense

  • Includes one year of antivirus software
  • Multi-layered network protection
  • Perfect for families on a budget

F-Secure Sense is a Wi-Fi router that doubles as a security appliance to simultaneously protect any number of devices connected to your local network.

By combining a router, security appliance, and local malware protection software, F-Secure Sense adds multi-layered protection for your network. When combined, these multiple layers protect all devices, regardless of whether an anti-virus agent is installed on them.

It may lack advanced features like parental controls, a guest LAN, and Wi-Fi protected setup, but with an affordable price, F-Secure Sense is a perfect fit for an apartment or small home.

Aside from protecting your network and IoT devices, it includes a year of antivirus subscription to protect up to 25 laptops, PCs, and mobile phones.

See F-Secure Deals >>>

The Bottom Line

Due to computing power limitations, IoT devices cannot be protected with a typical antivirus suite. You need multi-layered protection that combines strong malware protection with bullet-proof network security. Major antivirus vendors have developed innovative ways to make enterprise-grade network security available for your home.

About the Author

Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks

Aviva Zacks is a content manager, writer, editor, and really good baker. When she's not working, she enjoys reading on her porch swing with a cup of decaf.