Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Honey, the Coffee Table Caught a Virus

With potentially billions of devices becoming connected to the Internet, including coffee tables embedded with Microsoft's Surface technologies (if they manage to sell a few), it won't take long before your fridge, alarm clocks, and even coffee tables start catching virus, spams, and other Internet malices. One man's pain, another man's gain. This obviously can represent huge opportunities for virus protection specialists such as Trend Micro, Norton, McAfee, and Microsoft.

Two recent news stories caught my attention. First, Seagate announced that some of the Maxtor hard drives it recently sold were infected with viruses. According to ZDNet, "Kaspersky Lab, an antivirus company identified the virus as Virus.Win32.Ruh.ah — a malware that can disable virus-detection software, although its prime function is to search for online game passwords and send them to a server in China." The second story is that Sony is partnering with Trend Micro to protect PS3 game consoles from virus infections. Initially, the service will be free for PS3 owners but after a certain date, they may need to begin paying for the priviledge.

I'm intrigued and puzzled. My current home have less than 10 devices with IP addresses but in the near future, I'll likely have more, with many new devices including TVs, next-gen DVD players, and coffee tables becoming Internet enabled. How am I going to know that they are safe? How can I be sure they come virus free and won't become the gateway to Internet malices? Who's responsible for protecting my non-PC connected devices and what are the available solutions? Should the residential gateway be the gatekeeper for all my IP devices and if it already is, how would I know? Do I need to start paying $10 or 20 bucks a year for each of these devices? Can someone help me?

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