With almost everything becoming app-enabled, internet connected, we’re basically surrounded by things that can be hacked by anyone with enough time, and skills, making our smart-homes quite the playing field for anyone with unethical intentions. Just last year, a massive botnet attack made through IoT devices took down several major websites. This highlighted the critical security problems in the Internet of Things. So, if you have a lot of smart, connected-devices in your house, you should try and keep them protected from unwanted access. Fortunately, Bitdefender is here to your rescue with the Bitdefender BOX ($129 at Bitdefender Store, $148.95 at Amazon). And, if you’re thinking of purchasing it, here is everything you should know about the Bitdefender BOX:
Bitdefender BOX Specifications: Software and Hardware
The Bitdefender BOX was born out of the need to protect the connected devices in our homes from unwanted, malicious access, and as such, is designed to blend into our household without looking out of place.
|Dimensions (LxBxH)||3.5 x 3.5 x 1.1 inches|
|WiFi Support||802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz|
|Platforms||Windows 7 and later|
|Apps||iOS 7.0 and above; Android 4.0 and above|
Ports, Buttons and Lights
The Bitdefender BOX keeps things very simple when it comes to the wired connectivity it offers. After all, the BOX is meant to act as a middle man between your devices, and the internet, protecting all the traffic that passes through it. The Bitdefender BOX has the following ports, buttons and lights:
- Micro USB Port for power
- LAN Port to connect the Bitdefender BOX to your internet router
- WAN Port to connect the Bitdefender BOX to your modem, if you want to use the BOX as the router.
- A reset button on the back to reboot the BOX, or to enable Recovery function.
- There’s also a multi-colour LED indicator light on the front.
Major Features: How the BOX Protects Your Devices
The Bitdefender BOX employs a variety of security measures to ensure that your devices remain safe, and any oddity noticed by the BOX is immediately brought to your notice, allowing you to take appropriate actions, on time. Some of the major features of the Bitdefender BOX are:
1. Vulnerability Assessment
The Bitdefender BOX continuously scans your network for flaws, and highlights those issues. It looks for hidden backdoors, and ports with insufficient security measures. If the BOX identifies a potential vulnerability, it will notify you of it, and give you specific countermeasures to fix the issue as soon as possible.
2. URL Blacklisting
The Bitdefender BOX also checks every outbound connection against the list of malicious URLs that is kept in the Bitdefender cloud. The BOX makes sure that connections to malicious sites are automatically blocked, keeping you and your devices safe from threats.
3. Mobile Management
Bitdefender BOX will let you control your entire network from your mobile devices. You get device-specific granular control with the Bitdefender BOX app. With the app, you’ll be able to locate lost devices, set data roaming limits, identify vulnerabilities, and even remotely install OS updates.
4. Private Line (VPN)
While your devices are at home, the Bitdefender BOX automatically keeps them protected against malicious websites, and more. However, when you’re out in public, and you connect to insecure hotspots to access the internet, you can count on the BOX’s “Private Line” feature, which is essentially a VPN service you can connect your devices to, and keep them safe from the many security issues of a public hotspot.
5. Activity Report
Another great feature that Bitdefender BOX offers is the Activity Report. The Activity Report provides 24 hour statistics of the activity in your BOX network. It contains information such as the devices active on the network, and the traffic on the network.
Bitdefender BOX Lights
The Bitdefender BOX uses a single multi-colour LED light on the front to inform users about the current status of the BOX. As such, it’s important to understand what these lights mean, so you can easily understand what’s going on, in case you ever need to troubleshoot the Bitdefender BOX.
1. Teal and steady
The first type of light that the BOX displays, is teal in colour, and steady. This means that the BOX is working as expected, and is the default state the BOX should be in.
2. Red and steady
If the front LED light turns red, but remains steady, it means that the BOX is in recovery mode. You’ll have to engage this mode if you encounter issues with the working of the BOX, specifically in cases of a failed firmware update. In recovery mode, the BOX attempts to revert back to a previously functional state.
3. White and blinking
If the LED turns white, and blinks continuously, it means that the Bitdefender BOX is busy installing a firmware update. You should just let it stay like that until it completes installing the update.
4. Red and blinking (1 second bursts)
If the LED turns red, and blinks in 1 second bursts, it usually signifies that the BOX is malfunctioning, and you should try and put it into recovery mode to bring it back to the previously working state.
Bitdefender BOX App Notifications
If you have the BOX app installed on your mobile devices, you’ll get notifications from time to time. The BOX app sends two major types of notifications:
- Informative: notifications that don’t require user intervention, but are just pushed to inform the user of a change in the network, for example, a successful BOX update will result in an informative notification.
- Requires intervention: notifications that require the user to respond to the notifications cover events such as a new device connecting to the protected BOX network, or when a new update for the Bitdefender BOX is available.
Bitdefender BOX Compatibility
The Bitdefender BOX is compatible with most routers, gateways, and modems. If your router supports editing the DHCP settings, the Bitdefender BOX should work with it. However, most networking equipment provided by companies like AT&T, and Comcast does not support editing the DHCP configuration, which is why the BOX doesn’t work with most networking equipment provided by AT&T, or Comcast.
Bitdefender maintains a list of network equipment that the BOX isn’t compatible with, and you can check it out here.
Bitdefender BOX: Protect Your Personal Devices
With the Bitdefender BOX you can easily ensure that all the devices in your home are protected from unwanted access, and malicious websites. You can also rest assured that the BOX is always scanning for hidden backdroors, and flaws in your set up. As soon as it notices something off, it notifies you of the potential seriousness of the issue, and gives you instructions about what you can do to protect your network.
When you purchase the BOX, you get a one year subscription free. However, once the first year ends, you’ll have to purchase the BOX subscription ($99/year) for continued protection. As always, I’d like to know your thoughts on the Bitdefender BOX, its features, and whether or not you think it’s worth it. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.