In today’s connected homes, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have an outstanding opportunity to go beyond their regular services and increase their influence. With the large increase of Wi-Fi enabled devices in households, ISPs are aiming to capitalize on this trend.

Keep reading to discover the power of advanced hardware security features.

How did the ISP router shift from modem to powerhouse?

The era where the ISP-provided Wi-Fi modem served as a simple box for broadband access is a thing of the past. Today, the CPE has emerged as the central element in the connected home strategy. In response to this shift, ISPs are now actively seeking ways to enhance their broadband CPE by including intelligent features for an exceptional customer experience. Some of the top features include network analytics, parental controls, intrusion detection systems to Wi-Fi optimization, Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring, IoT device management and home and video security.

With that, securing the next generation of CPE is critical for ISPs. By making it the top priority in procurement choices, it can prevent security attacks, increase customer confidence and establish a foundation for long-term success.

How can you build a strong CPE foundation?

Despite it being a top procurement choice, CPEs still have exploitable weaknesses making it an easy target for hackers. These devices are directly exposed to the public network and easily accessible, allowing attacks to quickly escalate and potentially impact millions of devices in a short period of time.

If hackers gain access to a network, they can compromise it with various malicious activities, such as:

  • Creating a large botnet to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Redirecting users to websites containing malware.
  • Taking sensitive information from a home or business for digital ransom.
  • Using the router to gain access to the ISP’s backend infrastructure for even more personal data.

While all these activities are very rewarding for the attackers, it’s the ISP brand that gets stuck with costly damage reversal and meanwhile making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

What is the role of advanced hardware security in CPE?

Luckily, ISPs now have a formidable defense against these threats thanks to the latest powerful defense mechanism. Advanced hardware-based security features have been integrated deep within the CPE, living within the System on Chip (SoC) that powers the router. This way, they are effectively out of reach for malware.

Unlike older models that relied on outdated CPU architectures, modern router SoCs incorporate state-of-the-art security mechanisms like Secure Boot and Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). These mechanisms have been safeguarding devices for years, ensuring the security of critical applications such as banking apps.

By including powerful hardware security mechanisms, a strong foundation is established for the entire CPE stack and its set of advanced services. These mechanisms greatly increase the difficulty for adversaries (including malware), to maintain a presence, go unnoticed, or compromise system credentials.

How can you harness the full potential of hardware security?

The true benefits of hardware security features can be fully realized through correct configuration and effective use. If not done correctly, ISPs risk wasting their CPE investment and leaving their network and customers vulnerable to threats. When implemented improperly, ISPs miss out on the following advantages:

  • Enhanced protection: A robust defense against cyber threats, offering a higher level of protection for routers and connected devices.
  • Prevention of unauthorized access: Only verified and authorized access to the network, preventing malicious entities from gaining entry.
  • Detection and mitigation of attacks: Real-time detection of malicious activities, triggering appropriate mitigation measures to limit the impact of attacks.
  • Data privacy: Privacy and confidentiality of transmitted data through encryption protocols and secure communication channels.

Are there any software cybersecurity legislations to be aware of?

In addition to the hardware suggestions and changes that can improve a router’s cyber defenses, the European Commission has recently accepted the cyber-resilience act, the world’s first comprehensive artificial intelligence law.

It aims to impose cybersecurity obligations on all digital products with connectivity to devices or networks with the purpose of establishing cybersecurity principles and a duty of care throughout the product lifecycle.

With the expected doubling of connected devices by 2030, the act aims to secure digital products in the supply chain, prevent cybersecurity flaws and safeguard social and economic activities.

How can you safeguard your broadband CPE?

Discover valuable insights and recommendations to enhance the security of your broadband CPE in our e-book: “Broadband CPE: An ISP’s Biggest Asset or Its Weakest Link?

You will learn how ISPs can ensure that their CPEs operate with the intended software, efficiently detect and address malicious tampering and establish an unclonable identity for enhanced security. Start safeguarding your connected home ecosystem today.