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Smart Home Tech: How to Protect Your Home Network with Firewalla

For about a year now that we’ve been working virtually, a large part of our daily life and work revolved around our home networks. That is why it is important to keep the beating heart alive. This is how Firewalla can guarantee security.

With more people working from home, students teaching distance learning, and smart home devices connected to your home network, it is important to keep that network secure.

Firewalla is a plug and play cybersecurity device that allows you to monitor your network and protect it from attack. I had the opportunity to interview Firewalla CEO Jerry Chen about the benefits of the product and best practices for keeping your home network secure.

(Note: this interview has been edited for style and length.)

What is Firewalla?

Firewalla is a smart firewall that plugs into every router to improve the security of home networks, including the wide variety of smart home devices connected to them that most households use today.

It monitors all devices on the network and blocks unwanted websites and ads with customizable parental controls and a personal VPN server for home security.

How does it work?

Firewalla monitors network traffic and uses an intrusion detection system and an intrusion prevention system to identify and stop suspicious activity. Users receive a notification from the Firewalla app when devices on their network initiate abnormal or unwanted activity, such as: For example, uploading data to a server in a particular country or when a child’s device connects to a streaming video site.

Users can stop the activity through the app. If they decide the activity is normal, they can mute the alert so that they won’t receive it in the future. Firewalla also automatically blocks hacking attempts.

What are the differences between the different versions you provide?

Firewalla Red and Firewalla Blue have the same security functions. Firewalla Red is designed for smaller networks with fewer devices and supports internet speeds of less than 100MB. Firewalla Blue supports internet speeds greater than 100MB and less than 500MB. It also has other features like blocking at the region or country level and site-to-site VPN.

Firewalla Gold supports internet speeds between 500MB and 1GB. It offers the option for network segmentation and VLAN and is a combination of router and firewall on the cutting edge of technology. It offers a higher performance than the Blue without any functional restrictions. It also has more CPU resources for customization scripts and Docker containers. (Here is a comparison chart.)

How do I know if an intervention has occurred and what can I do to stop it?

Firewalla monitors your network and notifies you when malicious activity and vulnerabilities are detected. Suspicious connections are divided into different levels. For those who are “bad” very sure, Firewalla automatically blocks the connection. Otherwise, an alert will be raised and the user will have a choice of whether to block or not.

If you get a warning in the app, you can either allow or block the activity flagged by Firewalla. For example, it detects whether a phishing or malware link has been clicked on a PC, tablet or phone. Or if strangers observe or hack your surveillance camera, baby camera or a connected device.

It detects whether your phone is infected with malware, which prevents hackers from using your phone for nefarious purposes like cryptocurrency mining, or whether apps are doing malicious activity in the background without your knowledge. By clicking “Block” you will stop the activity and your devices will remain protected.

What parental controls are included?

Parents can set a variety of controls for children’s devices, as well as alerts. You can set specific times of the day for the devices to connect to the network. You can get an alert when a child’s device is being used to play a game or stream videos.

Parents also have the option to block children’s devices from game sites, video streaming sites, social media, adult content, etc. In addition, they can use Social Hour to block all social networks for a period of time.

Other features include Safe Search, which automatically filters out offensive content in search results. It supports popular search engines like Google, YouTube, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Family Protect automatically blocks access to adult and violence content websites, and Ad Block automatically blocks pop-up or embedded ads (as much as possible) in browsers and mobile apps.

How does an ad blocker work?

Unlike many others, the Firewalla ad blocker runs in the Firewalla box. Firewalla’s ad block focuses on ease of use rather than a full block of each individual ad.

The Firewalla ad blocker has been made a little weaker on purpose to ensure that your normal activities are not disturbed when there are ad blocker features.

Does Firewalla work with smart home devices?

Yes, Firewalla monitors activity and provides intrusion detection and intrusion prevention for any smart home device connected to the home’s Wi-Fi network.

What should homeowners look for when setting up and monitoring their home network?

Even with Firewalla, homeowners must use strong passwords for all of their device accounts.

What is a VPN, how does it work, and what’s the benefit?

The Firewalla VPN-Server places the VPN-Server in your house. It runs in the small Firewalla box. This VPN service can only be used when you are outside the home.

You get the same home security protection provided by Firewalla so that you don’t use unsecure Wi-Fi networks while traveling. You can surf the Internet as if you were at home over an encrypted connection even when you are not. You can also easily access all of your network-enabled home devices, e.g. B. IoT devices, NAS file system, etc.

Firewalla also has a VPN client function that allows your devices (even those that don’t support VPN) to connect to third-party VPN servers and tunnel all traffic to them.

Brandon Doyle is a Real Estate Agent with the Doyle Real Estate Team – RE / MAX Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

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