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CUJO Smart Internet Security Firewall Reviewed

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Mr. Easy
Staff member
The CUJO Smart Internet Security Firewall tries to bring enterprise security to your home's network.

Read on SmallNetBuilder
I am one of the people who help fund the campaign for this Cujo and I just wanted to share my thoughts.

I found set up to be straight forward.

However, I have encountered issues. I have an ISP provided modem and a connected router that I run my home network off. I have two main problems depending on the connection mode.

Bridge Mode - This works great but it only detects the directly connected devices so none of the network devices connected to my router are detected.

Connected to router mode - The Cujo auto disables DHCP (DHCP enabled on router), it detects all the devices but for some reason it blocks www access to all wireless devices. However if you mark the device as unprotected via the Cujo app that device will then work.

A side note, the option to disable Cujo eyes does not work.

I run a Synology NAS with Cloud Station and I think Cujo was reporting false positives when Cloud Station enabled devices connect to the NAS aware from home. The app alert and messaging tells you the source IP but it does not tell you the port it was attempting to connect via - this would be useful in a future update, as I was away from home at the time it was difficult to trouble shoot.

Whilst I have these problems and I have been in contact with support for them, I like the product, I have as of writing received a firmware update for Cujo and I hope it fixes these issues. Contact with support has been positive and accept for a new product to market there will be some teething problems.
I also received this from funding the initial project. I had a difficult time getting this to work initially to the point that I just left it off my network for a few months. I do have an unusual network setup. My gateway/router is a pfSense VM on my ESXi server. This seemed to give the Cujo fits (it would start up go to "smiling" then go down. I played around with different ways to connect this to my network in most of those would be "frowns". I did find one method that got me smiles for about 2-4 hours then it would go south (and force me to power cycle everything on my network).

After a few updates it finally started working in Bridge mode. Since then it's been up the whole time (a few months) and it does detect plenty of things that do not seem to be blocked by pfSense/IDS. The problem is that IMHO they released this device with the features/software still in Beta. It doesn't give you enough information to do much about all the scans/attempts/etc... that it detects (nothing much then the IP of the attempt, not the port or any other details). Parental Control options are still not even in there and it can take forever to "identify" new devices (it also doesn't clean up it's list if it detects the same device multiple times which it does on a regular basis). Alerts can't be filtered in anyway or processed in a batch.

Overall I do like the device but at it's current state I can't see myself renewing the sub once my pre-paid time runs out.
So is this thing legit? I was looking at some sort of security solution for my network, the ease of use on this is appealing but wondering if its to good to be true.
It is legit. But needs work. If you're in the market for something like this also check out BitDefender Box. There will be a new model later this year.
It is legit. But needs work. If you're in the market for something like this also check out BitDefender Box. There will be a new model later this year.

I agree - it's legit... and I wish them the very best, as it's a cool product.

Some thoughts here - take it from me - been there twice in the startup game...
  • Hardware is hard, very hard, to make money on...and margin on a one time sale there, it's hard to make money on per-units, esp if not a big name... and if it hits, someone in Shenzen is going to copy it, and sell it at half the price...
  • Software - at a glance, we can make it work - at the moment - margin there - better, but... development is a capex front end intensive thing just to get to a minimum viable product that can ship.
  • Configs/updates as a service - lot's a folks see this as a savior, but most users don't want to play the subscription game...
  • Customers - hard to acquire actually - this is what kickstarter and similar are all about, but they're fickle - expect the world, and we're just people on the back end, doing our best...
With all that - as a startup, there's six other players with the same idea... and most, if not all, will fail...

It's a damn hard business to be in... most startups burn through cash on the taxiway before even getting a chance to take off... and I'm not talking about silly Silicon Valley stuff - the cash burn rate can be pretty high...

Cash burn - put in relative terms - pick up a 55 gallon barrel - put $100 bills in it, soak it with gasoline, and light the fire - challenge is to keep putting some kind of money, either in recurring revenue, or worse, investor money, before the fire burns out.​

Been there - done that - worked the numbers - and found the exit plan...

FWIW - first round was a co-founder - broke even after transitioning to work-for-hire, second startup, was the Founder/GM/CEO/whatever, and there was able to pay the bills, pay off partners, and get enough to get pay off bills/mortgage for a couple of years... and it was twice as much work effort than folks sitting in cubicles at a big company...

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