Cisco has signed a deal with Trend Micro to embed internet security software into Linksys wireless routers. The deal represents a different way to market security software to families rather than a recognition that routers need anti-virus, which they don't.
The Home Network Defender software will include parental control (censorware software), virus protection, and network activity reporting technology. The two firms are marketing the technology as a way of providing network protection for family PCs and other home-network devices, including online game consoles, Wi-Fi enabled phones, and personal media players.
The tools are designed to provide a way to identify malicious websites, including sites associated with fraud, and content at the router level. The parental controls can be customised by parents, and adjusted by time of day. Because the controls are embedded in routers, rather than running on PCs, they will be harder to defeat, Cisco and Trend argue.
The bundling of anti-virus technology in the package is to provide protection of connected PCs that to guard against the still largely theoretical threat of malware on routers. The Home Network Defender bundle includes four licenses of Trend Micro AntiVirus plus AntiSpyware.
Home Network Defender is a software service that will come bundled with selected Linksys by Cisco wireless-N routers, with a 30-day complimentary trial. As such it's similar to bundling security software packages with new PCs. Suggested price for the annual service will come in at around £64.95 or $60 (cheap at half the price, no?).
Cisco and Trend have been enterprise security partners for some years. For example, under an agreement signed in 2004, Cisco agreed to integrate Trend Micro’s network worm and virus signatures into Cisco Intrusion Detection System (network security monitor/bouncer) software deployed in Cisco routers, switches and network security appliances. ®