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How secure is your home from cyber threats?

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We asked Plume’s AI SecurityTM Product Head Susmita Nayak to help us better understand how AI Security works and the evolution of whole-home protection.

Susmita Nayak is vivaciously passionate about solving cybersecurity attacks and tackling the evolving threats of hackers, viruses, and spammers. With over 20 years in the science, engineering and technology fields, she has worked for household names such as McAfee, Intel, and now Plume. She gets fired up about working for Plume because they are looking at security more broadly than just anti-virus but rather for every device in your home as a whole, which gives security a more holistic approach.

What makes Plume’s security more reliable and smarter than other security services available?

The landscape for cybersecurity services for consumers is very focused on anti-virus, but technology has evolved so much that it’s not enough. The average home has so many more types of devices now, and each device has many attack surfaces, so securing the home requires new thinking. Antivirus protection is cumbersome to install on so many endpoints and isn’t supported on IoT devices and as such doesn’t scale to the smart home. Additionally, IoT devices need zero-day protection for which behavioral learning and anomaly detection is best suited. On determination of zero-day threat, the device must be quarantined to prevent the attack from spreading to other home devices.

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From the figure above based on data collected across a subset of Plume homes in Q4’19, on average 91% of Plume homes have had a security incident. Attacks span different types across malware, botnets, phishing and more. A staggering 85% attacks are on personal devices shows the lack of endpoint protection on these devices, possibly due to the inconvenience in installing them. Also noteworthy is the 15% attacks on IoT devices across NAS, Cameras, Media Set Top Boxes, Game Consoles, TV and more.

Plume’s approach provides whole-home coverage, meaning it acts as the gateway into your home stopping dangerous connections from or to devices in the home. Would you let a stranger into your home? Most likely no. It’s an invasion of privacy and safety for your family. The gateway acts as a force field that shields devices, making sure your data and privacy are safe. Plume uses artificial intelligence to monitor threats across a growing scale with adaptive WiFi deployments at more than 15 million homes and half a billion devices. It allows us to understand device behavior and spot new threats faster. Our service is designed to adapt to all the different types of devices and all different types of threats making it smarter than other security options.

What is your favorite security feature in the app?

I love that you can see all the devices connected to your network. This is important for security because you can dive into each device and see all the blocked content that it has tried to visit. Plume also has the ability to quarantine an infected device, so you can take action to solve the problem while the rest of your devices stay unaffected. For example, let’s say someone hacks your smart doorbell. Plume’s service will immediately quarantine the device and stop the hacker from impacting that device or penetrating your network further and doing even more damage.
Just like the common cold, viruses get smarter and adapt to their environment. Plume is unique because it is constantly learning your home behaviors to better adapt to threats.

What’s your top tip or trick for customers with Plume to manage their security?

Knowledge is power and having the knowledge about what is happening in your home keeps you and your family much safer. I highly recommend using the Guest Access features to create different access passwords for visitors or guests entering your home. Devices, like people, carry bugs; and if the right type of virus is present, there is a potential risk in it infecting your network. By limiting what they have access to protects not only your household but your guests too. When you give that device a different password with an auto-assigned expiration, you are limiting its access to your network, which makes it easier for you to control them from accessing other devices with your personal data.

What does the future of smart home security look like? And, how is Plume preparing for future threats?

Plume looks at the security of the whole home, we are working on not only cybersecurity but the physical side as well. We believe we are just scratching the surface on how to make your home safer and are looking forward to rolling out some new enhancements.

Predicting the cyber future is tricky because we don’t know what threats will be, while hackers and viruses continue to get smarter. When you do machine learning you can find the patterns of abnormalities and address them easier. We are also developing a better understanding of device behavior. The more comprehensive data we get from device feeds the better we can identify any new threats.