McAfee enables Amazon Alexa voice commands to secure your Wi-Fi

Do you have a sneaking suspicion that your neighbors are piggybacking on your Wi-Fi, or that your kid is staying up until 3 am watching Minecraft videos? With the right network router, you can ask Amazon's Alexa to investigate and block unfamiliar devices from your network, all through voice commands. 

At MWC 2018 today, McAfee announced the development of a new Alexa Skill, which lets you check on the security of your network and router without having to open an app. Here are some examples: 

  • “Alexa, ask McAfee to scan my network” 
  • “Alexa, ask McAfee how many devices are online right now”
  • “Alexa, ask McAfee to block/unblock {Device1}”
  • “Alexa, ask McAfee to pause the internet for {kid1}”

So, through Alexa, you’ll be able to set a time limit on your kid’s iPad, or scan for botnet attacks or vulnerable devices. 

All routers with McAfee Secure Home Platform will be automatically updated with Alexa functionality. This platform, which was announced at CES 2018, lets you extend your desktop security scans across all network-connected devices, including smart home devices. 

These voice commands aren’t available yet; once they are, you’ll have to go to Amazon’s Skills page and download them to your Amazon smart speaker of choice. 

If you don’t have an Amazon Echo or other Amazon speaker, don’t worry. Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist at McAfee, told PCMag that if Alexa proves popular with McAfee’s customers, the company will also develop support for other voice assistants like Google Assistant or Apple's Siri. 

Making security convenient

As we saw just recently with Amazon’s smart lock fiasco, smart home devices can be particularly vulnerable to hacking if not properly monitored. 

One of the biggest steps we outlined for securing your Wi-Fi network from hackers is using a monitoring app (like McAfee’s) to check for intruding devices. But logging into an app to check your list of connected smart phones, consoles, computers and so on every week probably seems like too much of a hassle to most people. Complacency can leave our networks exposed.

That’s why McAfee’s executive VP John Giamatteo said in a press release the company's security solutions “must fit seamlessly into the way they already live their lives” via voice commands. With this new tech, we can be lazy and still be secure. 

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2018 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

Michael Hicks

Michael Hicks began his freelance writing career with TechRadar in 2016, covering emerging tech like VR and self-driving cars. Nowadays, he works as a staff editor for Android Central, but still writes occasional TR reviews, how-tos and explainers on phones, tablets, smart home devices, and other tech.