There are a lot of scary stories out there.
It's only a matter of time before you come under attack - if you haven't already.
The really disturbing thing is you may not even know it.
How many devices do you have connected to the Net? How many of those are you protecting?
How much would you be prepared to pay for one step peace of mind?
Trend Micro is a proven performer in cyber security, battling bad guys of all kinds on behalf of major corporates and domestic users alike. Now they have a box you can plug in, turn on and keep the hackers at bay.
Who said it had to be difficult?
Unlike other router-based solutions, Trend Micro's little black box doesn't replace your network, it simply plugs into it, via a single ethernet connection. The only remotely complicated part of the equation is downloading the Home Network Security app and syncing it with the unit, but that's only a matter of typing in the included pairing code.
At that point, this magical black box pretty much takes over, automatically scanning your network for all connected devices, identifying what kind of devices they are and protecting them from outside interference.
You now have the option of customising every device shown on the app. Each device can be more specifically labelled - for example Trend Micro Home Network Security can see there's a Samsung S10 connected, but you can call that phone Dad's Phone if you want. You can also assign each device to a particular owner or group of owners.
This then means you can apply a few rules to those owners - blocking explicit content or online chats for young kids, or even restricting users' time online if that's an issue in your household.
The app will notify you each time a new device connects to the network - even if you aren't. So if there's suddenly some weird, unexpected activity on your WiFi when you're not home, you actually have the option to shut it all down.
I've been using Trend Micro Home Network Security for about a week now and in that time 31 devices have accessed my network. That may sound like a lot, but remember, this isn't just phones, laptops and iPads. We're talking the whole kit and caboodle, from smart TVs to speakers, heaters and lightbulbs. Security cameras are something else it's handy to keep an eye on. (pun intended)
I know it's doing its job because I get notifications every time a new device connects, which gives me great peace of mind. Also, if I go anywhere near a "potentially malicious" site while I'm browsing, the page won't open unless I'm extra sure I want it to.
I was a bit concerned having all my network traffic monitored like this might slow everything down and initially, I did have a few issues. My home network is kind of complicated, because I use a combination of routers as WiFi access points to ensure a strong signal throughout my reasonably large, two-storey home. When I first plugged the Trend Micro HNS box in to set it up, I connected it to the nearest of these access points, the same one my TV was plugged into.
The HNS box had no problem finding every single device connected, which I found amazing given it wasn't plugged into my main modem/router, just another thing plugged into that thing. Trouble is, it did seem to interfere with the way my TV was accessing my media server, the stream often dropping out. Luckily, the HNS app lets you exclude any device from its protection and everything worked fine again once I told it to ignore my TV.
Only thing is, protecting my TV is one of the main things I was trying to achieve, given I can't install anti-virus or VPN software on it, yet it's where I'm logged into all kinds of accounts (Netflix, Samsung, Lightbox etc...) The solution was simple - I just unplugged the HNS box from the access point and connected it directly with my actual UFB modem. This required no extra setup - everything started working again as soon as it was switched on. What's more, I was then able to UN-ignore my TV and the whole network has been humming along swimmingly ever since.
In fact, I've run speed tests on several devices around the house, connected via both ethernet and WiFi and I can't detect any slowdown in download or upload speeds whatsoever. This box really is magic.
Of course, as good as this system is, it's not quite a one-stop-shop. Home Network Security isn't an anti-virus or a VPN, although Trend Micro can certainly provide both those solutions for the devices that require them. I've used these products on various devices and like the Home Network Security system, both anti-virus and VPN options are extremely easy to set up and do a fantastic job of keeping themselves up to date while keeping your devices safe.
None of this comes for free, of course. But the good news is Trend Micro has just slashed the price of their magic box down to $299, which might still seem a bit steep for something you maybe didn't even know you needed. However, that includes a 24 month subscription which means Trend Micro's cyber security samurais will be keeping your system up to date and bulletproof for two years, no matter how many more smart devices you bring into your home.
The truth is, most of us have absolutely no idea how exposed we are to hackers targeting IoT devices in our home. One thing's for sure, the connected world probably isn't getting any safer, so it makes sense to take the proper precautions. If you have an unprotected device with any of your personal details on it, or even if you have an exposed device connected to a device with those details, you should probably consider something like the Trend Micro Home Network Security system. It's just so easy to set up, giving you plug-in peace of mind in minutes.