Why you should care

Because your smart refrigerator is out to get you.

Your smart toaster combusts into flames, your Apple TV starts spying on you, and your Bluetooth lights flicker menacingly. It may sound like the opening scenes of a sci-fi–horror film, but it’s actually the future of home burglaries. Cybersecurity savants divine that it won’t be long before the Internet of Things launches a full-throttle attack on your humble abode. Like your French toast with a side of spyware?

Before you retreat to your basement bunker, though, CUJO is here to help shore up your front lines. It’s a cloud-connected IoT security device for your home, which in geek-speak means a virtual pitbull to thwart hackers. The $49 CUJO looks more like table decór than a slobbering canine, complete with fancy frosted glass and blinking LED eyes that alert you to intruders. Eyes down? That means nothing is happening. Eyes up? Stay alert — your computer, baby monitor, smart refrigerator and other Web-connected gadgets are being probed for anything awry. Eyes wide open? That’s a red alarm, because a phisher, keylogger or hacker is trying to attack your network. At this point, CUJO will leap to the rescue and halt the attack by blocking the data breach. No need for you to lift a finger.

Goodbye, bank statements, racy emails and Social Security numbers. You’ve thrown them to the wolves.

This kind of all-in-one protection is long overdue, says Einaras Gravrock, founder and CEO of CUJO. Even with more than six billion connected devices out there today, few people fully understand the ins and outs of cybersecurity. According to a 2015 report from Hewlett-Packard, 70 percent of Web-connected devices that people use access unencrypted network services and could easily be compromised within seconds. So, goodbye, bank statements, racy emails and Social Security numbers. You’ve thrown them to the wolves, the malicious hackers who prey on the tech-illiterate. “This is a brand-new wave of connectivity. We’re waking up to a new problem,” says Gravrock, who gets at least four CUJO red alerts every day across his 40 connected devices. But CUJO aims to demystify cybersecurity for the average masses, not just the corporate bigwigs. Lesson be learned: This isn’t your mother’s firewall.

But as many Internet security experts will say, you can’t patch stupid. We know you’ve done it: clicked on a phishy email, entered a risqué site, made your password “12345.” Marcus Carey, a proud cybersecurity snob based in Austin, Texas, doesn’t believe in the “silver bullet” claims of CUJO, which will ship 6,000 orders starting in March with a $9 monthly subscription to activate the device. A cute machine-learning device that shields against every single piece of malware possible? It’s better, Carey believes, to have multiple layers of defense when it comes to home Internet security. “People are going to be more reckless on the Internet, thinking they’re going to be protected by this magical device,” he says, “and [they] are going to get burned.”

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