Comcast has announced a new service as part of its Xfinity xFi internet platform at CES 2019: xFi Advanced Security, a new $5.99 per month subscription that offers additional security protection on your network, including automatically blocking suspicious activity and quarantining devices.
According to Comcast, xFi Advanced Security works using machine learning technology, which analyzes users’ internet data and identifies and block threats. The advantage here is that while most traditional internet security software is restricted to a single device — it’s pretty easy to put anti-malware software on a computer — xFi Advanced Security can help protect against things like smart home-based botnet attacks by offering improved safeguards on less secure internet-connected devices.
Crucially, Comcast is promising that it will only be using the information to protect users — there’s no selling of data, no advertising elements, and the company isn’t collecting information on your internet habits.
A big part of xFi Advanced Security is easy of use — just turn it on through your account, and Comcast will do the rest, with the service automatically working to protect any internet-connected device on your network. Any alerts, notifications, or flagged issues go straight to the existing xFi app that customers already use to monitor their network, making it simple to deal with any issues that may come up.
There are a few caveats, of course. Obviously, you’ll need to be a Comcast Xfinity customer to be able to subscribe to xFi Advanced Security. Additionally, you’ll need to be using one of Comcast’s xFi Gateway router / modem hybrids — which can only be rented from Comcast, not purchased outright, according to Comcast’s website. In other words, if you prefer owning your own router or modem instead of paying a monthly fee for Comcast’s own boxes, you won’t be able to take advantage of any of Comcast’s xFi features, including the new xFi Advanced Security program.
Given that Comcast already provides the basic xFi services for free, and that customers are already paying a monthly fee to Comcast for both the hardware and internet service, one might wonder why Comcast isn’t just offering the improved security to all users as a standard option, but according to the company, that monthly cost goes toward the infrastructure requirements that the added layer of monitoring needs.
Comcast isn’t the first router provider to offer this kind of service, either: popular mesh-network system Eero has offered a similar “Eero Plus” subscription since 2017 that offers enhanced parental controls and protection from malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks for $9.99 per month or $99 per year. Eero’s service actually goes a step further, including subscriptions to encrypt.me, Malwarebytes, and 1Password as well.