CUJO Review: Expectations Vs Reality!!

In today’s hyper-connected abodes, security is important, like really important. As more and more appliances get interconnected, the failure points in a network increases, that’s why a firewall is quintessential for protection, and the CUJO firewall claims to do just that, so how does it fare? Let’s find out…

The “CUJO smart firewall’’ is basically a smart firewall that detects any unauthorized activity in your network and tries to block it. Now, what that means is, suppose you’ve security inside your home for surveillance and stuff, which is also connected to your home network, in which all your other smart devices are connected, now if someone breaks into, suppose your smart fridge, then they can easily get access to all your other devices on your network, which is like unless you like getting spied on, is pretty bad. 

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So, CUJO basically acts as an immune system for your network. Detecting and protecting all your devices from threats and acting as a home security device.

CUJO with a dual-core 1GHz CPU, 1GB RAM, and 4GB flash storage, and that’s exactly why the website says “in the cloud is where we do the heavy lifting.” And the rest is pretty simple. There are the Ethernet ports and a power connector, and a reset button. 



CUJO is available for $99 with a monthly subscription of $9. Also, shelling $158 gets you the device with one year of service and it doesn’t stop there, shelling $249 at once covers you FOREVER, with no further payment required. 

Pros

Unlike all your other network devices that possibly look ugly AF, CUJO is different and it’s designed to be seen. With its rounded cream-colored looks it almost kinda looks cute or creepy (if you don’t like a thing just looking at you, yeah then it’ll probably freak you out!). 

CUJO’s got you covered in terms of network connectivity, giving you two Gigabit Ethernet ports to handle incoming and outgoing traffic.

CUJO-firewall-review

There’s also support for “Cryptographic Hardware Acceleration” for CUJO to increase its cloud communication speed, and it claims that CUJO can protect up to 50 devices simultaneously. (Way too ambitious!!)

And another small advantage of using CUJO is it gives you basic parental controls. You can create profiles, and choose which sites to block, but the thing is it only works if the device is connected to your network if it’s disconnected those restrictions will no longer apply.



And that pretty much wraps up the pros now on to the cons, and there is a boatload of ’em.

Cons

So, in theory, it should be this magic device that protects everything right? And well it’s not! Why? well, let me explain…

Once, CUJO detects something, small metadata is carried out to the cloud, where it analyzes the metadata from your network connections, checks for problems and instructs your device to block any threats. This reduces the load on CUJO’s own processor and makes it easier for the system to detect brand-new dangers.

Now, speaking of cloud, the thing which makes it apparently good, is, in my opinion, the worst thing, because let’s be honest how much do you trust CUJO anyway, also by connecting CUJO to your network, you may eliminate multiple points of failure but at the same time, you’ll be creating a new one, which if compromised can put your whole home security at jeopardy.  

And it doesn’t end there, to get this thing up and running, well you’ll need a lot of patience.

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In some cases (which is rare), CUJO can set this up for you. Download the app (on iOS or Android), give it your router credentials and it will try to update your DHCP settings on your network. And IF this works, well walla!! You’re up and running right away.

But unfortunately, CUJO can only configure those router models which it knows about. Then it’ll not be able to do anything, and you have to do everything on your own. The app will give you a list of items to change mainly IP addresses, DHCP leases.



And if you manage to set it up, without driving yourself mad. Great job, now make sure not to lose your phone, because there’s no browser management interface. So, if you lose your phone, you’re screwed, as you’ll no longer be able to check up on your CUJO or manage what it’s doing.

And speaking of what it’s doing, all that background activity could turn into a big issue for some, as it presents a ginormous privacy concern. CUJO works by collecting the IP addresses of the sites you’re accessing and then sending them to the cloud, where they’re checked for danger. Which ensures your protection is always up-to-date but also means any time someone visits any site on your network, the data is sent to CUJO’s cloud for “checking”, and well it’s not appealing to a lot of people, as if all the other companies are not collecting enough data already, so I don’t’ think you need another one to that list. 

Final thoughts…

CUJO is a good concept, not a good product in my opinion. 

A cute-looking box that protects all your smart devices without you having to do anything at all is definitely possible but CUJO isn’t that!! 



It protects you from malware by blocking access to command and control servers, but how it does that and how securely it does that is definitely a big question, and how often is it’s the database updated for these threats is also unknown. Also on top of all this, as it has access to all the data that passes through your network it acts as a big single point of failure, which isn’t very well comforting, to say the least. Also that fact that you’ve to pay a monthly subscription unless you shell out $249 at once isn’t good either.

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