An era of pandemics and social distancing sent more people than ever into the work-from-home world. Bedrooms became offices. Living rooms transformed into social media conference halls. And reliable home WiFi networks became business essentials.
Those new realities mean average consumers at home found themselves faced with a new problem. Many of their household internet setups lacked the privacy and protection of larger workplace setups that include enhanced cybersecurity and firewalls. Now, a new and amazingly simple device is on hand to plug those privacy holes at the source.
Retailing for $179.99 and no bigger than that bite-size box of Milk Duds you snagged for Trick or Treat, the Firewalla cybersecurity unit hit the market before anybody knew what a coronavirus was. No one could’ve imagined how timely its features would be. It was originally intended to stop the creep next door from siphoning off your Wi-Fi signal or tapping into your home security cameras. It does all of that, of course, but now it has to protect business records and communications in a household environment.
Basically, it’s the perfect guardian for WFH warriors.
After a simple, plug-and-play setup, the device will protect all devices on the network from cyberattacks and alert you when anything worrying is so much as attempted. Once you buy the unit and assign it guard duty, there’s no monthly fee.
In addition to keeping your private emails, files and other online behavior behind your home’s own readymade firewall, this little blue box enables monitoring of any minor’s Wi-Fi use. Parents can also employ Firewalla to lock out unwelcome websites and social media invaders.
What We Liked About the Firewalla Blue
It’s dead-on simple.
There’s only one worry the vast majority of would-be users would express if offered the safety and reassurance of a Firewalla: Is it too complicated for me to set-up and use, or will it create as many headaches as it offers to fix?
We have good news on that score:
The Firewalla Blue is plug-and-go with only a quick setup on a laptop or other device to get it registered and running.
Most Unique Feature: Social Media Goes *Poof* for One Hour
It feels like a throw-in feature for a device intended to build a personal online firewall, but the “Family Time Social Hour” capability can completely block all social media platforms for one hour at a time. Whether the user wants to force everyone to get some work done or ground kids in some face-to-face interaction, a world without Twitter or Facebook for an hour is a wonderful place.
What We Didn’t Like About the Firewalla Blue
“With great power comes great responsibility.” Remember that old adage from Spider-Man? Since the Firewalla gives the master user greater control and insight into any home or small business’s network security and usage, there is some potential for abuse. Let the buyer and the user beware: Features such as the Activity and Parental Controls could offer tempting oversight of another household member’s private time online. Use that power wisely.
Easy to set up and able to enhance personal and home-based online security in multiple ways, the Firewalla is a reasonably priced and effective option for guaranteeing online privacy even if your house hasn’t become a base for pandemic-era homebound work.