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Could This Single Device Protect Your Smart Home?

The Internet of Things is vast and vulnerable. F-Secure's Sense aims to pull it under the same protected network.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 1:29 p.m. ET

Posted on November 12, 2015, at 12:43 p.m. ET


For several years, cybersecurity experts have been warning of the risks associated with the emerging Internet of Things, the vast network of connected devices people have started to bring into their homes. A smart thermostat, coffee maker, television, and speaker system may make life easier and more customizable, but they also present a new class of entry points for a hacker to infiltrate your home network and steal valuable personal information.

It creates, to use the language of the cybersecurity industry, a huge attack surface.

One of the biggest obstacles to securing these devices is that keeping them all up to date with the latest security patches takes time. Even then, many IoT devices don't have built in security protection. The end result is a mishmash of security standards, heaven for a hacker.

With Sense, a new category of security device, the Finnish security giant F-Secure aims to change that.

Sense is a smart router combined with software that sits on top of and monitors all of the connected devices in your house. It reads all the traffic coming into those devices in real time and analyzes it using F-Secure's cloud security network, "an analytics engine and information repository for malware and a variety of other digital threats."

When Sense detects unwanted or malicious traffic — say, a botnet trying to connect to your smart television — it simply blocks it.

By drawing all of the IoT devices in the home into one protected network, Sense presents a remarkably elegant solution to a problem the cybersecurity world has been worrying about for a long time.

Sense, which F-Secure says will launch in the middle of 2016, costs $199 for the devices and a year of service. After that, it will cost $8 a month. That's probably more than most people would think of paying to secure their devices, but given the emergent risks of the Internet of Things, it may prove to be well worth it.