Greener BeeGreen GadgetsA new wave of gadgets is setting out to secure your smart home

Bullguard isn’t the only company getting into the home network security field.

On Tuesday, home-networking startup Eero announced the next generation of its Wi-Fi system, a $299 package that pairs a central router with a “Beacon” that plugs into an outlet to extend good Wi-Fi coverage throughout a dwelling, forming a mesh network. (Those cute beacons also double as nightlights.) Accompanying the product is a new feature called Eero Plus, an optional subscription service that will include security features for home networks for, like the Dojo, a monthly or yearly fee.

Nick Weaver, CEO of Eero, says that ideally, people would install antivirus or antimalware software on all the devices they own. But of course, that’s not possible. After all, your smart lightbulbs probably aren’t going to cooperate if you try to install software on them.

“When you look at the home, and all the devices we have connected,” he says. “The best way to do it is actually to protect everything at the network level.”

Eero Plus promises to keep the network safe in a couple ways. “Any type of known malware or virus that you try to download, it’ll block the download of that content on your device,” he says. “And then, if a device does happen to be infected, it will also block all of the traffic out.” That means that Eero Plus can block what Weaver calls “malicious communication” between a compromised device and an outside server, ensuring that it doesn’t become part of a botnet such as Mirai. It also offers parental controls to keep content kid-friendly.

Like the Dojo, the Eero Plus system considers the larger network that is comprised of all the smaller networks. “You can constantly tune and tweak what types of threats we see,” Weaver says, “and then you can deploy that learning across every single network.”

But it’s unclear whether consumers will want to plunk down cash for their own home network security, says Ghosemajumder, of Shape Security, which offers cybersecurity for companies and other organizations.

“I think that it’s too early to tell how effective these devices are, because they’re just coming to market now,” Ghosemajumder says, adding that the proof will be in how they handle real Mirai-type attacks. “The concept is definitely worthwhile. I think that there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be technically capable of providing a lot of effective protection.”

Your home network, by the way, should ideally incorporate a modern router and a Wi-Fi signal that’s password-protected.

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