New in the X4 to X6 range is SiteCom Cloud security. SiteCom teamed up with a Netherlands based anti-virus firm (Hitman Pro) to design a new layer of protection against Malware and viruses on all your network connected components. Added software in the router will function as active packet inspection on port 80, according to SiteCom without any noticeable increased lag. Port 80 data packets are inspected based on signatures (HASH) and then verified on a cloud based solution located in an EU datafarm.
So pretty much in-between the router and cloud farm there is an active proxy, scanning all content and webpages and downloadable content for malware, viruses and phishing. The interesting idea here is that all devices within the network (PC, NAS even your Android phone) get an extra security layer, once something fishy is detected the request will not pass onwards to your PC, instead your browser will get a warning screen.
Should by any chance a zero-day vulnerability still get through you will need Anti-virus software on your PC to remove it as your router won't help you out there whatsoever, but look at the solution as an extra firewall surrounding all devices connected in your network.
As stated this form of security has limitations as only port 80 is checked and the stuff that does pass the CloudSecurity firewall can't be removed. There's is no protection on other ports, thus no security checks on email, ftp and yeah software like your Torrents downloads. Also peer-to-peer applications which are transmitted in random order would (we think) have an issue as well.
So as lovely as the idea is, please bare in mind that currently cloud security is somewhat limited, it does however add another protection layer over your network which is always much welcomed of course.
We quickly put Cloud Security to the test.
Incoming port 80 HTTP traffic is immediately limited towards 50 Mbit/sec, but that's fast enough for the consumer. The limitation is required as otherwise the router processor would get into problems. As stated, we fell 50 Mbit is decent enough and browsing the web you'll hardly experience slowdowns. Here in the Netherlands however we are already at 120 Mbit consumer connections through our ISP so it would be wise for the next generation series to at least see that limitation bumped towards 100 MBit/s.
Once the cloud servers get overloaded, that number might even change. Similar to packet-loss and server downtime on the Sitecom end it all can result in slowdowns in the end, but that remains hypothetical at this point.
Cloud Security is activated by logging into a website and with the help of an included code you then flag what functions you do and do not want enabled.
We visited some websites that are know for phishing with the help of phishtank.com. All websites were indeed detected and blocked by Cloud Security, the second we tried to load it in, the security feature takes over and warns us about the malicious page. I do have to mention that IE 9 anti-phishing feature also already tagged the sites as negative and FireFox 4 as well warns us.
If you like to use Cloud Security, you will need to apply for a paid subscription, the SiteCom Cloud Security feature will be free for the first 6 months, after which a subscription is required at the cost of 14.95 EUR per year.
We feel it is a fair amount of money considering all the traffic that is being checked for you, especially for families with kids and for the more web-illiterate that do not understand internet threats, this feature might be handy. For the more mainstream and advanced end-users we doubt a little whether or not they might find the feature interesting enough, but it is good to have choices right ?