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The new Avira Home Guard, the free security assistant for today’s smarter homes, found that over a quarter of routers had an exposed port, leaving the router and the home network vulnerable to hackers. Even worse, these vulnerable routers were highly exposed, with each having an average of more than 6 open ports.

Open router ports are just one of the security issues in today’s smart homes. While IoT devices have many features, these new devices bring an array of built-in and owner-enabled security and privacy issues.

“Having a smart home is great, as things are faster, better, and cheaper to use. But to ensure that people can take advantage of these new technologies, we also want to make sure that their homes are safe and secure,” said Travis Witteveen, Avira CEO. “This need for a basic security scan that gives people an overview of what’s in their networks is why we developed Avira Home Guard.”

Avira conducted a two-month worldwide scan* of over 845,000 smart devices with a beta variant of Home Guard—a free app from Avira for both Android and Windows devices—mapping out connected devices in home networks, checking for any unpatched vulnerabilities, and recommending ways that users can fix them.

Over a quarter of the 137,000 identified routers (26.2%) had open ports, leaving them vulnerable to hackers. Even worse, there were often multiple open ports per router, indicating that if a home network was insecure, it was likely to be very insecure. The most common issue was with open FTP ports (150,000), the standard network protocol for transferring computer files.

The global project showed an average of 6 connected devices in each household, an indicator that smart home networks are getting bigger. Traditional devices—computers (31%) and smartphones and tablets (20.8%)—are on the verge of becoming a minority among the growth of other smart devices such as TVs and exercise trackers.

“The results show people need to take a closer look at the security of their smart homes and make some changes, especially on their routers, to enhance it. Open external ports allow about anyone to contact and exchange information with the online device,” said Vikas Seth, Avira Connect director. “We’ve designed Avira Home Guard to help detect vulnerabilities and offer suggestions on how a person can improve the security of their smart homes.”

Take a free smart home test with Avira Home Guard

  1. Scan your home network: Avira Home Guard automatically discovers the connected network, then goes to work identifying everything on it. This list includes smart devices, Wi-Fi routers, cameras, smart TVs, Wi-Fi printers, media servers, as well as other computers, tablets, and smartphones in the house.
  2. Uncover vulnerabilities and get recommended solutions: Avira Home Guard scans the router for known vulnerabilities such as open ports. Once identified, Home Guard informs and advises the user to close the unwanted ports on router.
  3. Remember all online devices: Home Guard remembers all the devices that have been connected to the network in the past (from the owner’s devices to visitors’ devices), in addition to automatically looking for new devices. This memory enables it to more accurately chart all devices connected on the network and the security issues that they could raise.

 Availability and price

Avira Home Guard is a completely free solution from Avira for Windows and Android devices. It can be downloaded via https://www.avira.com and at the Google Play Store.

Infographic numbers

Avira global research findings (April 1st – May 31st, 2018)

Average number of connected devices per network:   6 (rounded)

Total number of connected devices scanned:          845,000

o             Computers:                                                      262,000

o             Smartphones & tablets:                                 176,000

o             Routers:                                                             137,000

o             Printer-scanners:                                             7,000

o             Entertainment:                                                 4,800

o             Home automation (i.e. cameras):                  1,500

o             Other:                                                                   256,000

Total number of scanned routers:                                 137,000

Routers with open ports:                                                 36,000

Open ports by type:

  • FTP: 150,000
  • Telnet: 47,000
  • SSH: 43,000

*Home Guard user database scan