Cujo: Your Home's New Best Friend Against Hackers

By Steve Anderson November 16, 2015

While Stephen King’s original Cujo release seems woefully out of date—one simple cell phone call today would have had Cujo remanded to animal control officials—the concept alone is sufficiently frightening to spark terror. That’s likely what gave the new Cujo device its name, as what it represented in the King tale to a mother and child alone in a dead car, it will be to those who try to hack home devices.

The Cujo device recently completed an Indiegogo round, pulling in over 760 percent of its original funding goal for a combined total of $234,592 in pledges, and it’s still reportedly taking preorders. What drove that kind of Indiegogo success? The basic premise of Cujo seems to have done that much, as Cujo represents a breed of plug-and-play security for home networks that’s more aggressive than most any antivirus or firewall program ever conceived. The Cujo device plugs into the home network, and acts as an intermediary between a user’s devices and the wider Internet. Cujo inspects data packets both coming in and going out through the network, and if threats are found therein, said packets are blocked.

Cujo works for devices currently on the network as well as those which have yet to be installed and thus often don’t come with security in place. It doesn’t rely on libraries of known issues—which prevents much of a response to new threats—but rather analyzes behavioral data and looks for things that look like a problem, rather than waiting until someone else identifies such as a problem. Users also pay a regular subscription fee—the device includes various levels at no additional charge in the beginning—and the device is constantly updated as long as there’s an Internet connection to update it. The Indiegogo campaign quoted $899 for a lifetime of Cujo service, so Cujo’s care and feeding won’t be near so substantial as that of the giant rabid St. Bernard for which it’s named.

Some may be put out over the idea of a defensive system with a subscription plan, but Cujo is a particularly potent breed of security. This is the kind of plug-and-play security for which users have been waiting for a long time, and it’s going to cover some waterfronts not even dreamed of by an antivirus mechanism. Consider the rise of the smart home; with all those connection points available, that’s a lot of ways a hacker could get in. Cujo, meanwhile, monitors all of these by serving as a kind of antivirus point at the physical router level, which is a huge advance.

Cujo represents security for everything from the PC to the Xbox One to the smart door locks, and that’s the kind of security people will want on hand. With more smart devices coming out and demanding a bit of online time, having Cujo on hand to keep these all in line is a powerful statement against potential hacking.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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Contributing Writer

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