Cisco, Trend Micro put security in home routers

Cisco and Trend Micro teamed up to build an Internet security service into some home Wi-Fi routers.

Cisco Systems is building a Trend Micro Internet security service into some home Wi-Fi routers to help protect families and small businesses from fraud, phishing and predators.

Through a partnership announced Tuesday, two models of Linksys by Cisco Wireless-N routers will come with software for the Home Network Defender service. The service will also be available for some other Wireless-N routers. Customers will be able to try the service free for 30 days and then sign up for an annual subscription.

Home Network Defender evaluates security risks in real time as users surf the Web. When it detects malicious Web sites, or legitimate sites that contain threats, the service blocks them. There are three levels of protection to choose from, and parents can set rules for their children, even detailing the settings based on the time of day.

The companies claim that locating Web security on the router both saves the trouble of installing software on each PC and prevents children from hacking into policy settings. Cisco's move with Trend Micro continues the company's overall push to build more functions into network infrastructure, a theme it is extending all the way up to power management and multimedia conversion in enterprise and carrier networks.

The announcement came as Symantec's Norton division announced a free beta version of Norton Online Family, a software product for parents to monitor their children's online activities and generate reports that highlight questionable behavior. Online Family can analyze chat and social-networking activity as well as Web surfing, and is expected to ship in the second quarter for Windows and Macintosh.

Operating on a router, Home Network Defender can protect a variety of devices on a home wireless network, including connected game consoles, Wi-Fi-capable phones and personal media players, according to Cisco and Trend Micro. It can detect and prevent a wide variety of attacks, including online fraud, phishing schemes, viruses and online predators, they said. In addition to keeping users from going to dangerous sites, it can prevent them inadvertently giving up valuable information to scammers.

Parents or network administrators can manage the software and set policies through a graphical interface in the Linksys Easy Link Advisor software. The service can also help to detect intruding devices and keep them off the network, as well as provide reports on violations of parental policies, Cisco and Trend Micro said.

Home Network Defender will come in WRT310N and WRT610N routers, sold in North America under the Linksys by Cisco brand. The regular price of Home Network Defender is US$59.99 per year, but for the next 60 days, it will be available for US$49.99.

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