December 17, 2019 by Greg Owens

Keep Your Subscribers Safe with Home Network Security


In a story reported by CNN, the FBI issued a warning that smart TVs may be used by television manufacturers and app developers to snoop on consumers. In addition, the warning suggested that malicious actors can take control of, and potentially wreak havoc on, unsecured smart TVs.

It is clear that consumer Wi-Fi networks are a growing target for cyber attackers. In response, consumers are looking to their communications service provider (CSP) to protect their home network. This means deploying gateways capable of utilizing the most effective security protections and providing subscribers with easy-to-use tools and capabilities for protecting consumers from the growing list of cyber threats.

Consumer Wi-Fi networks are under attack

Cyber attackers continue to probe and take advantage of security vulnerabilities in consumer home networks. Many home Wi-Fi gateways, especially low-end models, have been found to be vulnerable to a variety of malicious attacks.

For example, in mid-2018, a sophisticated form of malware called ‘VPNFilter’ infected more than 500,000 routers and network-attached storage devices in 54 countries. Targeting gateways with known security holes, the VPNFilter malware can steal user credentials, alter network traffic, decrypt data, and launch attacks on targeted organizations.

Consumer smart home devices — such as security cameras, printers, and thermostats — offer hackers another avenue for breaching the security of home networks. Many of these devices offer little to no security protection, which makes them easy targets for hackers. By embedding malware in these devices, hackers can control them remotely and use them in botnets to launch large-scale attacks, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Adopting a proactive approach to home network security

Not surprisingly, broadband subscribers are worried about their online security. In a recent study sponsored by Calix, 76 percent of broadband households in North America expressed high levels of concern about security and privacy when using their connected devices.

For CSPs, this represents an opportunity to provide subscribers with a set of easy-to-use tools that protect subscribers and improves their overall experience, while also reducing the number of costly support calls, decreasing churn, and generating additional revenue. One method of offering these capabilities is through a mobile app that enables subscribers to enable security controls and receive notifications and alerts related to network threats.

ProtectIQ™: Home network protection to prevent malicious activity

ProtectIQ™ is a network-level security application — part of the EDGE Suites within the Calix Revenue EDGE solution — that provides malicious website protection, anti-virus and anti-ransomware packet inspection, and intrusion detection.

ProtectIQ proactivity monitors network traffic coming into your subscribers’ homes, using a proprietary classification engine that automatically blocks anything that looks suspicious. A container within EXOS, the platform that runs on top of the Calix GigaSpire, provides the ideal location for network security functionality. The GigaSpire is the nexus through which all traffic to the home passes, providing a natural point at which to establish and enforce a home perimeter layer of security and privacy.

Subscribers use the CommandIQ™ mobile app to enable their security controls, receive security-related notifications and alerts, and add trusted devices to a ‘white list’.

Deliver home network protection that provides peace of mind

As cyber attackers continue to target residential gateways, routers and poorly secured IoT devices in subscriber home networks, it’s more important than ever for CSPs to expand the level of security protection they are providing to their subscribers. By implementing a proactive approach to securing subscriber home networks, CSPs can not only protect their own networks from potentially devastating attacks, but also their subscribers.

Want more information?

There is a great video, summarizing ProtectIQ, available on the EDGE Suites web page. We’ve also created a wide range of materials that you can use with your subscribers as you look to provide more information about the CommandIQ app, including a Consumer Product Guide and Quick Start Guide, with more to come.