Avira Home Guard: Home Network Security Scanner

avira

Source: Dark Reading

Recently, I was doing some reading on home network security tools and I found an interesting story on Dark Reading that prompted me to do some research of my own into the product they were mentioning.  Avira Home Guard is a free home network security tool which allows for easy network vulnerability assessment for home networks. I realize that the more geeky among us might already be familiar with the myriad of open source tools that can be brought to bear for this type of solution, but I am highly interested in sharing with some of our readers who might be less tech savvy how this product works and the benefits it can provide.  Not every geek is lurking the open source community daily for more advanced projects. Some folks just need an easier way to manage their own private home networks.

First Step

The first thing I will say about Avira is that I used to be a user of their products.  I was always a fan of Symantec antivirus tools, but I used to be very broke and I was unable to afford software as easily as I can now. During that time of my life, I was constantly searching for alternatives to the big names in home network security and antivirus solutions. Avira was not my favorite at the time, but I did use it for a short stint. What I have to say about this free offering is that it is clean and very intuitive for a novice user. Let me walk you through the steps to scan and diagnose your network.

The first step is to download the tool from Avira Home Guard download and install on your Windows machine or Android device.  Once installed, you will have the opportunity to scan your network for devices. This is a critical step for those who are not well versed in the network security world. There are so many Internet-enabled devices in our homes today that it helps to occasionally look and see what we have. Most of us would be surprised to see exactly what devices are lurking on our home networks without our knowledge.

Initial Scan

On the initial scan, the software found my PC on which the scanner was running, my firewall, and numerous other devices. Luckily, I keep a pretty close eye on my network and I was not surprised by the devices that turned up during this scan. However, I was glad to see the tool line up with what I thought I knew about my personal network.

Once the devices on your network have been discovered, you are offered the option of during a security check. This check is basically the vulnerability assessment phase.  The scanner is looking for open ports and other issues that might leave your network exposed to the Internet. For instance, the scanner discovered that I have a few machines with open ports. However, it also discovered that my firewall is not allowing access to those ports externally. It is good to get the full picture of the network security posture and understand that I have host that are internally vulnerable.

Conclusion

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I realize that this is not software that many of my more geeky followers would consider.  I would suggest that you check it out. While it may not be as comprehensive as other home network security solutions, it is very easy to use and might provide some interesting insight. This would be a perfect solution for running at the older parents’ house or for a friend who is not a techy person.

If you know of other solutions that would be worth mentioning here, please comment below for us to review. I would also ask you to share any comments you have on this product so our readers can make use of those as well. We appreciate your comments as always and we know there are a lot of products worth our time and review.

 

Author: Phil

Phil Williams is an engineer with around 20 years of information technology industry experience with past focus areas in security, performance, and compliance monitoring and reporting. Phil is a husband, father of 6 children, and an avid geek who loves building computers, gaming, and gadgets. He has an undergraduate degree in general IT sciences and has worked with the US Government as a contractor for over 20 years. He is now in a security solutions advisory role for a large vendor supporting commercial and enterprise customers.

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