Protecting your smart home takes SENSE

If you follow security news, you’ve probably heard about F-Secure SENSE — a totally new kind of security gadget introduced by our Samu Konttinen at Slush in Helsinki. Based on the buzz since the announcement, it seems people were ready for a simple answer to the security questions raised by the transformative promise of smart homes. “A smart thermostat, coffee […]

If you follow security news, you’ve probably heard about F-Secure SENSE — a totally new kind of security gadget introduced by our Samu Konttinen at Slush in Helsinki.

Based on the buzz since the announcement, it seems people were ready for a simple answer to the security questions raised by the transformative promise of smart 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,” BuzzFeed‘s Joseph Bernstein explained.

Protecting these devices, which have often been rushed to market without security in mind, presents a unique and daunting challenge.

“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,” Bernstein wrote.

Nice. We agree.

The combination of a hardware device that plugs into your router along with two different software solutions was conceived by F-Secure Labs conceived to protect the next generation of smart devices from the next generation of threats.

What does the next of threats look like? We already know because they’re being used by nation states that are investing massive sums and PhD-level brainpower into cyber-attacks that target critical infrastructure for both surveillance and warfare purposes.

Decades of defending threats has taught us that it’s impossible to put the cyber-genie into the bottle once an attack has been made public. Advanced techniques trickle down to common criminals soon enough.

An attack designed to take out a nuclear power plant today may be repurposed to infiltrate your smart refrigerator tomorrow.

SENSE is a whole new kind of product in that it provides advanced cyber defense for your IoT gadgets without slowing them down or requiring constant maintenance.

The biggest innovation is that threats are blocked by artificial intelligence based on their reputation and behavior — they are “sensed” instead of “scanned”.

While SENSE analyses network traffic and can prevent attacks from ever reaching the various devices in the home, it is not only about your network.

Protection that’s based only on analyzing network traffic is vulnerable to bypass techniques such as malware waiting for a week before performing any malicious actions.Also, in a post-Snowden world, more and more traffic is encrypted with https or VPN technologies and hence deeper analysis of traffic is not possible on the network.

SENSE has lightweight end-point agent that talks to the SENSE device and adds protection by providing visibility into what’s happening inside the various devices in your smart home.

F-Secure SENSE and the end-point software are just sensors. The real analysis takes place in F-Secure data centers. This, however, doesn’t mean that all traffic or even applications would be sent to our cloud. F-Secure takes privacy very seriously and the system has been designed to reduce data transfer and anonymize all data before it hits F-Secure databases. If deeper analysis is needed, the metadata of an object (URL, file) or even the object itself could be sent to an F-Secure server where it will be analyzed and discarded almost immediately.

Once the data is in the cloud, analysis is performed by cutting-edge machine learning technologies.

Our malware experts at F-Secure Labs are no longer just analysts. They’re teachers — with very unique students.

Our human experts train our systems how to tell malware from clean applications. Then the machine handles the analysis. This is not just a better way of doing malware analysis, it’s also a necessity with daily incoming unique samples to analyze average at around 350,000 per day.

F-Secure SENSE makes next generation protection as easy and satisfying to use as your Smart TV. It’s smart security for a future that’s already near. And we’re very grateful people are noticing.

You can pre-order Sense for its 2016 launch here. The first 5000 customers will receive a 50% discount.

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