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McAfee Alexa skill brings voice control to network security

You'll be able to use the voice assistant to customize and monitor your home network.

A new Amazon Alexa skill will allow you to monitor and update your home network security.
Ry Crist/CNET

McAfee knows security, and the company will soon let you use Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa to help keep your home network safer. 

Announced on Monday at Mobile World Congress, the McAfee Secure Home Platform "skill" (Amazon's version of an app) will allow you to customize and monitor your network security with voice-activated parental controls and built-in protection for all the devices on your network.

McAfee said its platform is available immediately for router manufacturers to integrate into their networking devices, so consumers will be able to use the skill soon. When available, you can set it up in the Alexa app or download it from the Alexa skills store.

The Alexa skill will let you use voice commands rather than an app to check on and secure your devices. You'll be able to see which new devices joined your network, run a network scan to find vulnerabilities, find out the status of each connected device, block devices and pause the internet.

According to McAfee, here are some of the voice commands you can use:

  • "Alexa, ask McAfee how many devices are online right now."
  • "Alexa, ask McAfee to scan my network."
  • "Alexa, ask McAfee what is the status of my network."
  • "Alexa, ask McAfee to block/unblock {Device1}."
  • "Alexa, ask McAfee to pause the internet for {kid1}."

Earlier this year at CES, D-Link announced that its DIR-2680 security router will have the McAfee Secure Home Platform built in when it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2018. McAfee said its new security software can be integrated into supported routers, gateways and other networking devices. US consumers will be able to use the new Alexa skill in the coming months, and support for other countries will soon follow.

McAfee also announced at MWC that it will be expanding its global security reach. McAfee's antimalware software VirusScan will be preinstalled on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 8, along with Samsung Secure Wi-Fi, a virtual private network (VPN) provided by McAfee to increase internet privacy. McAfee will also be partnering with Spanish phone company Telefónica to have McAfee's security platform built into all of its routers.

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