Netgear Nighthawk Cybersecurity Router Taps Bitdefender To Shield Your Gadgets From Hackers

Netgear Nighthawk Cybersecurity Router
Netgear on Tuesday announced its new Cybersecurity AC2300 Wi-Fi Router (RS400) with special software baked inside to keep networks safe from online threats. Called Netgear Armor, it is essentially an implementation of Bitdefender Total Security 2019, though there are some key differences between what's integrated in the router versus the off-the-shelf version.

For one, Netgear Armor protects an 'unlimited' number of devices (subject to Netgear's fair use policy), including every PC, smartphone, tablet, IoT, and smart gadget in your home network. It also ups the ante with an entire network scan, rather than running on individual devices, and provides real-time updates remotely with Netgear's Nighthawk app.

There is an knowledgebase article on Netgear's website that breaks down the differences, but the general pitch is that it provides a cybersecurity umbrella over your entire network, at the point at which traffic goes into and out of your network.

It is an interesting pitch, particularly with the growing number of IoT and smart devices. According to Bitdefender, the total install base of IoT devices is projected to reach 75.44 billion worldwide by 2025, representing a five-fold increase in 10 years.

"Bitdefender’s telemetry reveals that 78 percent of households harbor at least one vulnerable device, and the average household has two vulnerable devices connected. While the number might sound trivial, these vulnerabilities can have a devastating impact on privacy," Netgear says.

"Another interesting fact the cybersecurity company has uncovered in its study is that 98 percent of reported incidents are caused by known and unfixed issues that are publicly documented.According to data provided by Bitdefender, 37 percent of the flaws encountered can result in denial of service (DDoS), while 12 percent can be used to exfiltrate information from devices on the network and nearly 8 percent of the vulnerable devices in smart homes can be hijacked via simple code execution," Netgear points out.

Netgear is not necessarily fear mongering. Hackers have been known to target IoT devices to create large botnets, which is partially the result of lax security settings that are sometimes found on these types of gadgets. Even a connected printer can be a port of entry for the bad guys.

Whether a router with Bitdefender baked in is truly needed is another topic. Users can take matters into their own hands by ensuring that all connected devices are relatively secure to begin with, such as by changing the default login credentials. That said, Netgear's approach certainly offers a level of convenience to managing security on home networks.

In this case, users get three years of Netgear Armor at no charge (besides the cost of the router). After that, a subscription runs $69.99 per year.

As for the router itself, it is a dual-band 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) model with speeds of up to 1,625Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It also has four GbE LAN ports for wired connections, beamforming support, and works with Amazon Alexa.

The new router is available now for $299.99.