Trend Micro's new security service, known as the Home Network Defender, geared toward families and small businesses, aims to provide Internet security management and protection on PCs as well as other IP-enabled devices.
The service, which is housed on select Linksys by Cisco's wireless-N routers, also is equipped to protect other network devices, such as Wi-Fi enabled phones, video game consoles and personal media players.
For small business owners, parents and other users, the integrated security service baked in at the router level aims to reduce hassles users face adjusting security settings and deploying numerous endpoint security products, Trend Micro executives say.
"You don't have to install security software on all these endpoints," said Erik Hutslar, Trend Micro director of consumer product management. "It's really a choke point for all the content flowing in and out of the network."
And because the Home Network Defender service goes out to Trend Micro's Smart Protection Network, all of the security updates and reputation filtering are done in realtime through the cloud, Hutslar said.
Specifically, the multilayered tool is designed to identify dangerous Web sites and malicious content at the router level and subsequently protect small business employees and younger users by eliminating online fraud, scams, phishing schemes, cyber predators and viruses before they reach the network. Altogether, the service protects up to 253 devices, Hutslar said.
In addition, the Home Network Defender touts improved ease of use and simplicity, allowing users to set it up via a graphical Linksys Easy Link Advisor application.
It also features Safe Web Surfing capabilities, parental controls and network activity reporting capabilities, and is coupled with four licenses of Trend Micro's AntiVirus plus AntiSpyware. However, the service is compatible with just about any stand-alone antivirus solution, executives said.
The Safe Web Surfing feature, which users can adjust to one of three security level settings, protects against Web threats by blocking malicious sites and links, while the parental controls feature prevents inappropriate content from being viewed by younger users, and allows administrators to customize rules, determine appropriateness and restrict access to specific sites.
In addition, the network activity reports allow parents or administrators to monitor and log all activities on network devices that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
"We call it the home security blanket," Hutslar said. "I can be assured that [kids] are only going to Web sites that are appropriate for them to go to."
Trend Micro and Cisco executives said that integrating security at the router level represents the next step in the fight against the growing severity and sophistication of Web-related security threats targeting networks. Security threats have increased nearly 2,000 percent since 2005, with 50 percent of the malicious threats downloaded by users surfing unknown or malicious sites, according to a 2009 Trend Micro Threat Research report.