Trend Micro AI Protection In ASUS Routers…. Should I Use It?

I got a question from a client who asked me about Trend Micro’s AI Protection which comes with most if not all routers made by ASUS. She wanted to know if it was safe to use from a privacy standpoint because of this article and this To answer that question, let’s first talk about what AI Protection does. In short, it does four things:

  • Router Security Assessment: This checks the router against the best security practices that I and others generally recommend to see where you might be vulnerable.
  • Malicious Site Blocking:  This feature checks the websites that you’re visiting and see if it matches any record in terms of being a threat to you via Trend Micro’s database. And if it does, then the website is blocked. More on this database in a bit.
  • Two-Way IPS: This prevents connected devices from receiving spam and DDoS attacks by blocking incoming malicious packets. I seriously doubt that every packet is checked as consumer routers don’t have that sort of horsepower. My guess is that it’s checking the source and destination, or it’s looking for patterns of some sort.
  • Infected Device Prevention and Blocking: This is similar to the previous feature and it blocks attacks coming from compromised devices from your network.

Now let’s talk about how it does this. AI Protection collects a ton of information about you and checks that against a database hosted by Trend Micro. What information it collects is clearly laid out here. There’s also a simplified version of this here. But let me boil it down for you. The relevant things that Trend Micro collects starts on page 10 of the English version of the first link. That’s a fair bit and I can see why that might bother some people. But consider this, Trend Micro is subject to the GDPR, which means that they have to clearly lay out what data they collect about you and why they do it. And if the EU who are behind the GDPR thinks that anything is fishy, they will not hesitate to smack Trend Micro pretty hard. That alone is an incentive for them to make sure that they are on the right side of this issue. Thus I feel that you should have nothing to worry about as it seems to me that this data is being used for security purposes.

Having said that, if you’re still uncomfortable with using AI Protection, then either don’t use it or do the following to turn it off:

  • Log into your ASUS router
  • Click on “AI Protection” on the left
  • Change “Enabled AI Protection” to off
  • Then go to “Administration”
  • Click on the “Privacy” tab
  • Click “Withdraw” under the Trend Micro section.

In my case, I run AI Protection on my ASUS router as I like the security that it provides me. And I do recommend it to my clients. I don’t think there’s any real privacy risks here. But only you can decide if that’s true for you. Hopefully this article can help guide you to the decision that is right for you.

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