Are Chinese mini pc / motherboard secure?

As from title, are these cheap devices from China safe?

They are cheap, they have a ridiculous power consumption, they works very well (ok I am talking about home use of course) and they sell a lot of boards.

So why main stream brands doesn’t “jump on board” with these kind of devices?
Why there are no Asus/Gigabyte/etc itx board with new celeron J or N and 4x2.5 gb nics?

Are they cheap for a reason?
Or the price to pay is sell your data/privacy (as to use the google services but without the user’s consent)?
Maybe I am “a little bit” paranoid but there is always a down side of the things

To simplify:
If there is some malicious code on bios or some chip can my firewall block it?
Using Linux can add more security (no closed drivers)?

Or can generate ethernet traffic bypassing it? (ex. like the Sky or Sonos devices that create an hidden network to talk each other)

I think it’s a pile them high sell 'em cheap.

They probably don’t conform to some standards that are required in the EU / US, though perhaps that’s a lack of certification rather than a lack of meeting the standard.

I’ve never heard of anyone having a security issue with these devices, however, I don’t think they are that common, the usual home router from Asus, Linksys etc. running with outdated firmware is an easier target for anyone who wants to bother.

The only “alternative” chinese boxes I have seen come protecli, boy look at those prices.

I’d bet pfSense / vm devices are niche for vendors, it’s a hard sell to a home user to spend 100’s on a router that they normally get for free from the ISP.

I ended up choosing a Intel NUC for my pfsense build over these Chinese type boxes (The NUC definitely being more $$). For me in the end it became an all around quality issue. A pfsense box is going to be running 24/7. Which one did I trust to be more reliable? Which one did I trust to come with a power supply that wasn’t going to burn my house down? (<-I’m going to go find some wood to knock on) Make sense? In the end that extra money was worth the peace of mind.

My NUC by the way, gets BIOS updates etc. What do you think the odds are those boxes will?

I don’t trust the ones listed on Ebay and Ali Express. The lack of certification and in some cases the loack of paying the licenses to have HDMI, SD card slots, etc. I know some folks balk at the price of Protectli but when I spoke with them a few years ago they use “certified” boards for the devices they support along with having current BIOS and the option for open source bios.

I don’t know, it seems a “big” (or new) market, so I don’t know how the big brands are not on the boat.

They seems pretty good, they have a lot of sata for nas, nvme, many ethernet 2.5… :drooling_face:
Also there are a lot of positive reviews on youtube.

I have one but I am afraid to use it, I don’t want some one in future once an exploit will found will says “I told you…”

But maybe …sorry, but I am too paranoid and I should not be afraid of that…

Intel NUC are very interesting as well as the mini-pc from dell, lenovo etc that Steve from STH reviews for their project tiny mini micro (or something similar), but all of them have limited expansions (only 1x 1gb ethernet, 1 ssd, etc) and most of them are expensive (like the NUC) or unavailable most of the time

There are several dual NIC options. My Intel NUC that I’m using for my pfsense box, I specifically chose because it was dual 2.5 GbE NIC. I leaned towards the Intel version, but ASRock I believe also had a similar model available when I purchased mine (in stock from the vendors I was looking at).

Probably due to lack of demand. How many of us actually would buy such a thing, 1000, 10000? Remember “In 2014, Apple sold 4 million iPhone 6s in its first 24 hours.” These things are really niche.

Nobody corporate would never ever think of buying these, as there’s zero (real) support and the quality is a complete unknown. Commodity users, like Joe Blow next door, just want a cheap all-in-one “so my WiFi works.” Us niche users (aka “home labbers”) even question them, as evidenced by your post here; you have to be either a mad scientist or pretty comfortable with failure to contemplate using them as your home router.

That said, I’ve got one of the CWWK N5105s with 4x I226 2.5GbE, had it since early December, running OpenWrt bare metal. I have not seen any traffic from it that I didn’t initiate (it’s an experimental subnet router, not my edge device, so I can watch everything that it does). I’ve got it plugged into a power meter, and over six months it’s averaged 8.9 w power consumption with two of the NICs active. It’s pretty fun to play with and the performance is excellent, so for the total investment of about $200 I am quite satisfied with the value.