Avira SafeThings: How to protect the smart home

Avira SafeThings

From the company that created one of the most efficient antiviruses, comes a solution to protect our homes and offices from Internet of Things devices.

If you have asked yourself how to protect your smart home from the risks caused by devices of dubious origin, the answer may be Avira SafeThings, a solution that comes from the company we have known for years for its excellent antivirus.

But why should we ask ourselves the question of how to protect our home when we installed connected products, which have full access to the Internet?

Avira SafeThings

Because often their behavior escapes any control and for this reason you could find strange surprises by checking which data are used and with which servers they connect regularly.

It is not a question of “digital racism”, but the main suspects are the low-cost smart home products coming from China.

Often that low cost is justified by the fact that in reality the ones we buy are real “Trojan horses”, which once inside our house gather information to divert them to unknown destinations.

Nothing illegal, because often we are giving consent by accepting the conditions of purchase during installation.

Which of you has ever read one of those documents?

Avira SafeThings

What is Avira SafeThings?

Avira SafeThings comes in two different forms: it can be a router that contains the software dedicated to traffic control, or a software installed inside the router you buy, or a service offered by your operator when you propose a modem for hire.

What is important to know is that to date (March 2019) Avira SafeThings is not yet available on the market, but it will be in the coming weeks.

How to use Avira SafeThings?

To check what they do and with which servers you connect the devices you have inside the house, you can use the dedicated app: I have seen with my own eyes the information related to a series of devices and the surprises were not few.

I found out that a security camera regularly sends information to netflix in the US, probably to check when the TV is turned on in the living room and for how long.

Avira SafeThings

A second security camera model regularly sends all the recorded information to a server in China and I do not know if it’s nice to know that everything you do in your home is registered in a country that has not signed any kind of agreement for the data management and their possible cancellation on request.

Another bizarre thing to discover was that a smart socket connected to electricity opens communication doors to the outside to make video content pass. Whose? For what reason? To which destination?

In short, surprises are not few and often the topics they raise are not indifferent.

When you detect abnormal traffic you can close unwanted communications, provided that Avira has not already thought of it by itself, because the software is programmed to monitor those data passages and to react by closing the communications in case of anomalous behavior.

Obviously, if you prefer to be seen naked in a remote location in China where the servers of your security webcam reside, you can always reopen the flows.

Avira SafeThings

How to install Avira SafeThings?

If you opt for the purchase of the router, the configuration is very simple: at the exit of the modem hooked the router SafeThings and you’re done. Turn off the WiFi of your “main” modem and everything that passes on the network will be controlled by SafeThings.

How to protect the smart home: Costs

The modem with the built-in solution will soon reach the market at 179 dollars and will include a “lifetime” subscription to the service, while we do not yet know how the use of the software will be regulated by modem manufacturers and operators.

It could be a gift for those who take the subscription modem instead of using the free modem.

I know that for many it is better to ignore a problem, rather than deepen, but I assure you that looking at those data maps is disturbing. I prefer to know and eventually stop those channels of communication.

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