Almond Routers to Protect Against Mirai Botnet and More
Securifi, the company behind the Almond 3 (read our review) mesh router, has always had a large focus on keeping home networks secure. Today they’ve announced their first major new security feature for their router products. Given that the Almond 3 is the first mesh Wi-Fi router to incorporate a smart home hub, it only makes sense that the headline feature is designed to protect against threats that are largely directed at smart home devices. This new feature will analyze all of your connected devices to determine if they are vulnerable to attacks like that of the Mirai botnet. You remember that right? It’s the one that took down internet access for most of the eastern US a couple months back. If you have a vulnerable device, the Almond app will notify you and give you the ability to disconnect it from the network with a single tap.
The second feature to be included will monitor outbound traffic on your network. If your Nest thermostat is suddenly connecting to a server in Russia it will notify you of that also. They will support over 20 popular devices, including Amazon Echo, Wink, Smartthings, Hue, and more, when the feature launches. For those with privacy concerns, Securifi states:
Almond 3 will only monitor outbound traffic from these devices and will not decrypt any data packets. Like the post office, we’re reading the addresses on the letters and recording these, without opening or reading the letters.
Similar to the second feature, the Almond will be able to automatically detect if any of your devices have become “zombies” and are participating in a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Again, if it’s discovered that they are, you’ll be notified via the app.
This update also brings enhanced parental controls. All websites accessed from the network will be logged. Then parents can review the types of sites visited by their children. Securifi points to research that states having a discussion with children about their browsing habits is more effective than simply blocking sites. This feature is completely optional, and it is turned off by default.
Unfortunately, all of this comes with a price. Securifi is offering a 30-day free trial. After that the price will be $3.99/month for a limited time. Eventually the price will rise to $9.99/month. While it will only support the Almond 3 when the service launches January 23, eventually it will be available for the Almond+, Almond 2015 and Almond (A1A).
All of these features sound incredibly powerful, and increasingly useful, as the internet continues to become an even more dangerous place. The price is tough to justify though, especially the final price of $9.99/month. At the very least, it seems as though the parental controls should be available for free. Regardless of the price, it is nice to see a company taking home network security so seriously.