Tag Archives: Amped Wireless

Exploring the boundaries of routers – securing the connected home

At Avast Labs, we started to look at the home router, since our homes today have more Internet of Things (IoT) devices running on our network than we may realize.


We believe routers can and should be at the heart of the connected home yet we know that they are subject to vulnerabilities.

Routers are often overlooked devices, capable of more than we might realize – more than just connecting our homes and devices to the Internet. However, as they are the central connected point, they are susceptible to the same attacks as any IoT device. Using the Avast Wi-Fi Inspector product, we performed 132 million unique scans last month of our global Avast users base to check the security status of their connected products and found:

  • 22% of Avast users have some sort of router software vulnerability (Rom-0, CWE-79, etc.)
  • 73% of Avast users have either router software vulnerability or weak/default password or open network

The concept of what we call ‘Chime’ started from the idea that a router could add an extra layer of security to your smart home and also act as connecting hub between your smart home devices.  Chime is a platform that sits on top of the router and makes it smart so that it can protect itself and all devices connected to it.

We already have a partner in the US using it with their router. Amped Wireless’ new ALLY Smart Wi-Fi System, which recently won a CES Innovation Award, offers users an extra, to offer an extra layer of security to their IoT devices, parental controls and content filters to all their customers through an easy to use mobile app.

Chime can also do more. In our prototype demo shown here at Mobile World Congress 2017, we are exploring how we can make the router also act as a smart home hub, facilitating the interaction between the smart devices in your home. Our scenario is where a Chime-enabled router acts as a liaison between an IP camera and your smart TV.

Here’s how this works. Imagine you are at home sitting and watching TV when someone comes at your front door. Then the motion enabled camera (which might also be a smart doorbell) will start streaming the video of your visitor to your Chime router. The router will take this video and will show it as overlay on top of whatever you are watching on the TV, enabling two previously separate devices to communicate and making it simple for you to control both from a single screen.

This short demo is just a hint of what a Chime enabled router will be able to do for the IoT home of the future. By enabling your smart home devices to communicate with each other, the router will allow you to create any customized scenario you might think of, limited only by the devices you own.

For more information, please visit: http://www.chimewifi.com/

The Trojan horse of smart home security

Every year before the biggest consumer holidays: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, technology blogs rush to create lists with the hottest gadgets and the best deals to watch for. The end of 2016 was no exception, only this year, everything on those lists seemed to have “Smart” attached to it – thermostats, vacuum cleaners, security cameras, voice control virtual assistants, lights, doorbells, TVs – all “Smart”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as the market for smart home devices is estimated to be $83 billion by the end of this year, rising to $195 billion by 2021. Gartner predicts the average family house will contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022. I think it’s safe to say that the smart home devices are here to stay.

While the advantages of having a connected home are clear: Starting your vacuum from miles away or automatically turning on your lights when you arrive home, many people are not aware of security risks that come from welcoming such connected devices into our homes.

The problem is that many of these devices have serious security flaws. A simple Google search on “IoT hack” or “smart device hacks” reveals an unbelievable amount of vulnerable devices and ways to hack them. Problems range from having no traffic encryption, to hidden back doors into the firmware, to “super secure” default username/password combinations such as admin/admin. All these security flaws make it easy for hackers to take control of these devices.

This could translate into more than just someone turning your lights on in the middle of the night. By compromising one device, hackers could get access to your entire network, and by snooping on your internet activity they could get access to personal info such as your bank account, social media profile, emails, or personal photos. Needless to say that that would be a bit more than a mild inconvenience.

So how can you protect your network?

Meet ALLY, a smart and secure router ready for the growing security needs of the connected home. ALLY is developed by Amped Wireless and secured by AVG.

We believe the best way to protect your family and your smart devices is by securing your connected home right at the internet access point, the router. This is why we worked together with Amped Wireless, the leading manufacturer of high power, long range wireless solutions, to provide a router that is both capable of delivering Wi-Fi in every corner of your home and offering great security for all your IoT devices.

Thanks to AVG’s security solution, ALLY can stop threats in their tracks blocking malware links before they even load on your devices.

Having AVG security embedded on the router, you are adding an extra layer of security for all your connected devices. This is especially important for those vulnerable devices which cannot be protected by an antivirus such as webcams, thermostats, lights, doorbells, …

And there’s even more. Ally also comes with an easy-to-use smartphone app that lets you access useful parental control features such as content blocking, app blocking, scheduled internet curfews, and pausing the internet during family dinners.

Take the first step into protecting your smart home.

Check out ALLY now.

ALLY is a product built on Chime

A generation of connected kids

As many of our kids have returned, or are in the process of returning back to school, we should expect to see different behavior patterns in their usage of devices.


Hopefully one of those changes will be to use them for studying.

As parents we want our kids to have a balanced life of being online while still appreciating the need to have life skills, such as actually speaking. Our concerns are not new, back when the wireless (radio) was invented I am sure parents told their kids to stop listening to that box, in the same way my parents told me I would get square eyes if I watch too much TV.

Controlling the balance can be tricky, especially when our kids only know a life that’s online and the normal way to communicate. It’s important that device time is understood as a privilege and not a right. Some parents have contracts with their kids stating what is expected of them when using a device, while others do nothing and some block or monitor access.

When thinking about screen time one of the first things to do is walk around the house and count the numbers of devices that are connected. Many of us forget that games consoles and some toys are now connected devices, so asking your child to put down their phone just to see them pick up another connected device might not be achieving the goal of having a balance.

In my house we strike the balance through communication and education, this has worked well for us. One of the first things we implemented was ‘the basket’, a place where phones live during meals times and overnight. This drives conversation at the meal table and texting, posting or gaming late at night has never been an issue. The biggest challenge here is can you as an adult commit to putting your phone in the basket!

Understanding what your kids do online is important. Effective monitoring through parental control software or using software on an internet router, such as the Ally System, supported by AVG, from Amped Wireless will give you oversight that will allow you to have conversations about inappropriate use and behavior. The insight of knowing that your child is spending 3 hours a day on social media should encourage you to have a conversation about time well spent.

Many of these technologies also offer the ability to block, while blocking inappropriate content is a good idea limiting your kids access through blocking will push them underground to connect in other locations such as public libraries, coffee shops or their friends house. And remember their smart phone probably has it’s own access. My point here is that you cannot control their access everywhere, so it is better to educate them having the knowledge of what is being accessed so that they behave well wherever they are and they have the principals to stay safe.

Another important element to limiting both screen time and keeping them safe is understanding the functionality of the apps they run. Listen to your kids talking to their friends about what they use, talk to them to find out and then go off and download the same apps.