With the continued proliferation of all things connected to our homes, we find that there are additional concerns that need to be addressed. You no longer have to worry about only your laptop and smartphone having the latest security patches. Now you need to be aware of your smart TV, voice assistants, security cameras, doorbells, and any other piece of connected tech in your home.
This is where smart routers and firewalls come into play. As the need for security continues to grow, better protection needs to grow along with it. Thankfully there are a few devices that aim to do just that. The Norton Core and Cujo firewall are two smart devices that seek to prevent cyber attacks before they happen while keeping your smart home safe and secure.
Cujo is a smart firewall that is designed to protect your connected home and network from cyber threats. As mentioned previously, this gadget wants to keep all your smart devices safe. This includes your smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, and any other device that regularly connects to your network.
Your Cujo firewall behaves as a gatekeeper between your smart devices and the dangers of the outside world. It validates your components are you set them up and connect them to your network, analyzing data as it comes and goes. Cujo watches for malware attempts and checks for attacks through a myriad of methods. Threats are neutralized immediately; however, if you want to have some control, you can view more information on the smartphone app.
Don’t be fooled though. Cujo is much more than just a piece of hardware. It performs much of its processing in the cloud, which is where it checks for issues and tells the device to address threats and attacks. This frees up some of the processing power on your Cujo, which means it has an easier time diagnosing dangers when they occur.
As a bonus, Cujo throws in parental controls at the device level, which means you can choose to block access to any type of website. The beauty of the Cujo smart firewall is that you don’t have to worry about installing additional software on your device. Everything is taken care of through Cujo and the apps it utilizes.
The Cujo device won’t replace your antivirus software, so don’t stop using what you already have in place. What it does is add an additional layer of protection for your devices, which is ideal for your smart devices that have no other method of security.
You do need a monthly subscription to use your Cujo smart firewall; however, you can choose to pay that monthly, yearly, or you can pay an additional fee and have coverage for as long as you have your Cujo. No matter which method you select, your device has a thirty-day money back guarantee if you decide it isn’t what you need.
When most people think of network devices, they think of something square, dark, and ugly. That’s definitely not the case with the Cujo smart firewall. It is designed to be placed prominently in your home, like on a mantle or bookshelf. Its round form and cream color may remind you of a Google Home, and no matter where you place it, the device won’t look out of place.
As with most networking devices, cables make life a little more challenging. On the back of the Cujo smart firewall, you’ll find a pair of ethernet ports. You’ll have to use one of these to connect to your router, along with the power cable to power the device.
Once you turn on the Cujo firewall, you’ll notice that it has “eyes.” These oval LEDs light up to help you determine that status of the device. As a result, you can simply give your Cujo a quick glance and know that it is on and whether or not the device is working as it should.
The great thing about the design of the Cujo device is that it’s unobtrusive and not intimidating. You can just look at the smiling eyes on the device and know that it’s actively protecting your network and devices. Visitors might take a look at it and see a little pot with a smile on it – nothing technical to see here.
Some might consider what Cujo is doing as a privacy risk since the device collects the IP addresses of any websites accessed within your home and sends them to the cloud. However, Cujo is checking the sites for danger, as well as ensuring your device protection is always updated. Cujo does state on its website that only metadata is collected based on the IP addresses.
The Cujo smart firewall doesn’t contain a lot of power intended for processing. Its CPU is dual-core and 1GHz, it has 1GB of DDR RAM and includes 4GB of flash storage. There’s no doubt that all the heavy lifting for this device is done in the cloud. That’s why Cujo provides two network connection ports on the device. One to handle outgoing traffic, and one to watch incoming traffic.
From a hardware perspective, the rest of the device is pretty simple. We’ve talked about the network ports and the power adapter, but there’s also a small reset button hidden on the back of the device. It’s easy to see that Cujo wants you to set up your device and forget about it. As long as your Cujo smart firewall is up and running, you’ll rarely need to touch it.
Pros and Cons
Every smart device, no matter how well designed and produced, has its fair share of pros and cons. Here are some of the more prominent ones for the Cujo smart firewall.
- Beautiful design
- Can handle up to fifty devices
- Device level parental controls
- Subscriptions can be pricey
- Only managed via Android and iOS apps
- Potential privacy concerns
The Cujo smart firewall is a great way to protect and secure the devices connected to your network. It provides an additional layer of security against malware and cyber attacks. It’s a solid device that you can place anywhere in your home, and it doesn’t give off the intimidating vibe that so many technology devices do.
It is subscription based, which can get pricey, and you do have to deal with privacy concerns. However, knowing that your smart devices are protected and secured can provide peace of mind that your network isn’t being compromised. If you’re looking for an unobtrusive device that can protect your network and the devices on it, the Cujo smart firewall is just what you’re looking for.
When you look at your Norton Core, you could easily be led to believe that it’s fresh off the set of the latest sci-fi movie you just watched. This combination router and security device have all the technology needed to provide high-speed wifi while protecting your home from security threats.
The Norton Core looks like no other router you’ve ever laid eyes on. It has the shape of a small geodesic dome and is made up of seventy-eight equilateral triangles. Despite its odd shape, the Norton Core is small enough that is can sit on a windowsill or bookshelf and not look out of place.
Some might look at the Norton Core and think of it as an abstract culture, which is ideal since it’s the perfect device for your coffee table. You won’t see a lot of blinking lights, but rather a subtle ring of light beneath the device.
When it’s time to set up your Core, it will emit a white blinking light which will turn steady white when setup is complete. If there’s a problem, the device will blink orange, and if the light is too bright, you can adjust the brightness in the settings.
The Norton Core does not have a display, so you can’t view network stats when a problem arises, but it does pack plenty of processing punch. The device has a 1.7GHz processor, offers 1 GB of RAM, and has 4GB of internal storage for settings and firmware.
Beneath the dome of the Norton Core resides a WAN port and three network LAN connections. You’ll also find two USB 3.0 ports, a reset button, and the port for your power adapter. One drawback you’ll recognize here is that the ports are all crammed together, so it can be challenging to insert cables into ports.
The first thing you’ll need to do to get the Norton Core online and connected is head to the Android and iOS marketplaces and download the smartphone app. However, there is a caveat. You must use a device that is using mobile data, and not wifi. So if your smartphone is on the wifi network, you’ll have to turn it off first.
Unfortunately, Core cannot be set up anywhere in your home as it has to connect directly to your modem. It can be used through a variety of methods, including with integrated modem-routers or separate broadband modems. It can also provide data to a wired network if needed.
The smartphone app is easy to use, and the setup instructions are simple and straightforward. After everything is connected, the application will search for the Core and ensure Bluetooth is on and ready to go. Once that connection is established, needed software updates will install. At this point, there isn’t much you can do other than watch your smartphone as everything updates.
Once finished, you can start connecting devices to the Core wifi network. Each device you connect will send a notification to your smartphone letting you know a new client has been added.
The smartphone application for the Norton Core has an open interface that is easy to navigate. Both the Android and iOS applications provide security scores for your network that go from 0 to 500 while offering methods on how to best improve your network security. The app will also show you the number of threats that have been blocked, along with how much data your household has used.
You’ll also find a section that shows you what devices are connected, the current speed of your network, and any pertinent information about your guest network. The Norton Core does have a web interface, but it offers limited functionality, so you’re better off sticking with the smartphone app unless you just want a high-level view of your network.
If you want to make router changes, you’ll have to go into the smartphone app and select the “hamburger” menu in the top right corner. This menu gives you options like Devices, Home, People, Network, Security, and Settings.
In the Settings menu, you’ll have the ability to prioritize specific devices on your network. You can also change your SSID, create your guest network, and set up port forwarding. That’s about it from the Settings menu, though. The Norton Core cannot utilize static IPs, but if you need to, you can reserve an IP address through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.
One pretty neat feature the Norton Core device offers is the ability to pause the internet at any time. So, for instance, if you want to have a peaceful family dinner without everyone staring at their screens, just pause the internet and make everyone interact with one another. You also have the power to set specific parental controls, limit how much time is spent online for each device, and filter content based on age groups and topics.
The Norton Core combines three defensive layers to provide excellent protection and security for your home network and smart devices. Traditional scanning, cloud monitoring, and behavioral analysis are all used to keep hackers and cyber threats at bay.
Security software used by the Norton Core identifies and eliminates well over 99 percent of threats, which puts it on par with other high-level security systems available on the market today. Over the course of its lifetime, your Norton Core will block tens of thousands of malicious sites, attacks, and hacks, providing excellent protection for you and your home.
Internally, the Core has four dual-band antennas that use advanced technologies to identify and match the exact transmission of the client receiving the information. The antennas cannot be adjusted or changed from their default settings. The Core also boasts a Qualcomm IPQ 8065 wifi chip, along with a MU-MIMO 802.11ac network that provides plenty of throughput for your devices.
The Norton Core doesn’t quite have the range you might need for a large home, but it’s more than adequate for small or moderately sized houses. It doesn’t provide a mesh network option, but you really shouldn’t need it if you find a good place for the device. It does, however, provide a reliable network performance, even if you’re using multiple devices at the same time.
Privacy and Security
Security and privacy are two items which people give importance when considering their network. The Norton Core has the ability to inspect data as it comes in and determine whether or not it’s malicious. Having both software and firewall software on the device means the Core will do an excellent job of monitoring behavior and scanning information for all your smart devices.
Your smart cameras, thermostats, and other connected devices receive robust protection from the Norton Core. With its ability to block port forwarding and determine bad information, you can rest easy knowing your devices are secure.
Pros and Cons
Here are a few of the benefits and drawbacks of the Norton Core smart device:
- Good device for parental controls
- Great for detecting malware and malicious sites
- Connectivity control from a device level
- No USB sharing
- Unable to visit router administration section if the internet is down
- No mesh network option
While the Norton Core may not be the perfect device for your security needs, it does provide an extra layer of protection for your home network and smart devices. It outperforms the competition and provides a reliable home wifi connection for your laptops, smartphones, and other connected components.
Additionally, it offers excellent protection from malware, cyber attacks, and malicious sites. You have the ability to control connectivity at a device level, and even set limits based on age groups and content type. The Norton Core is a solid device that may look a little weird but goes a long way toward providing security for your connected home.
Here is a quick, high-level comparison table of how the Cujo smart firewall and Norton Core stack up against one another.
|Cujo Smart Firewall||Norton Core|
|Deep Packet Inspection||Yes||Yes|
|URL Black List||Yes||Yes|
|Ethernet Ports||2 x 1 Gbps||4 x 1 Gbps|
|Processor||1 GHz Dual-Core||1.7 GHz Dual-Core|
|SD RAM||1 GB DDR||1 GB DDR|
As you can see, these two devices have a lot of similarities; however, if you’re looking for a router with firewall capabilities, then the Norton Core is the clear winner. It holds the advantage over the Cujo with its ability to support wifi, and behave as a standalone router. The Norton Core also wins out in the number of ethernet ports and processing speed.
The primary advantage the Cujo has over the Norton Core is its design. It is a soft, peaceful design, whereas the Core looks a little intimidating and out of place. Otherwise, the Norton Core makes the most sense if you’re looking for a smart device that will protect your connected home.