We have come to a point where the Internet of Things (IoT) is a large part of our lives, yet we hardly notice it. Everything is connected now. Your thermostat, your lights, your vacuum, your locks, are all connected to the internet and a part of the Internet of Things. As it becomes more ingrained in our lives, you will be hard-pressed to find a home that does not have a connected appliance or device.
And while these devices make things easier for us by providing time-saving functionality, they can also do a good amount of damage if the appropriate steps aren’t taken to ensure they are secure devices. Many connected devices bring with them a list of security issues and vulnerabilities that can leave your home and network open to potential threats.
In the blink of an eye, we will be beyond the time when an antivirus on your PC would secure your network. This is mainly due to the sheer number of computers connected to your network on a daily basis. Pause for a moment and think about how many devices are currently connected to your home wifi. It’s imperative that these devices are secure.
These concerns have brought cybersecurity to the forefront for a lot of companies, one of them being Dojo Labs, which has recently released its Dojo Security device. This device, which looks like a pebble and can be placed anywhere in your home, is designed to protect and neutralize any unauthorized access to your network.
Dojo’s smart firewall provides a layer of security between your connected devices and your network. It’s small and unobtrusive and can move throughout your home, glowing when an event occurs that requires your attention.
Let’s take a few minutes to discuss the ways Dojo Security can make your connected home safer and more secure.
Contents (Jump to)
The thinking behind Dojo Security is that it behaves like a gatekeeper for the incoming and outgoing traffic on your home network. It connects to your home router, monitoring messages coming and going from your laptop, lights, locks, printers, along with any other devices or appliances connected to your network.
Dojo Security has a mobile application, which resides on both the Android and iOS marketplaces, which serve as its control center. Once you launch the application, you’ll have the ability to view a profile of your network, including every device connected to it. Additionally, you can see a log of every event that has taken place on your system.
Dojo’s application lets you control and monitor your network from anywhere. Just like many of your connected devices, you don’t have to be in your home to view the network or make changes. Whether you’re just down the street or a thousand miles away, you’ll have access to Dojo Security and your network.
Both the mobile application and the device itself offer colors to represent specific statuses. Green means your network is safe; orange tells you that Dojo Security blocked a threat, and a red color is letting you know that you need to take action through the application.
Dojo Security utilizes its cloud service to ensure that it is updated and aware of the most recent behavior schemes, threat indicators, and IoT specifications. Cloud usage, along with the processing power inherent to the device, work together to provide the security needed for your network.
Smart Home Threats
It’s essential that you protect your home against both visible and invisible threats and incidents. Visible threats are easier to manage of course, because you have tangible evidence that something is not behaving correctly. A good example is your smart thermostat. You know if it’s having issues because you can feel the temperature in your home. If you set it to cool and it’s still 80 degrees two hours later, you know there’s a problem.
While you want to make sure you address visible threats in a timely manner, you also want to protect yourself and your home against invisible threats. These are threats that you aren’t aware of, like security camera attacks by hackers or a botnet successfully gaining access to your network. These and others are the invisible dangers you want to protect against.
To get an idea of how Dojo Security handles security threats, let’s walk through a physical representation of the process. If you’re using your laptop to access dangerous or blacklisted websites, Dojo Security will throw up a page that warns you against continuing to the site. You’ll also see the color change on the device that lets you know what’s going on.
Now while this example is something many current protection software systems employ, keep in mind that this same process is the same for every connected device in your home. This includes the devices that don’t have the ability to protect themselves. You can control what you’re browsing, but most of your smart home devices behave and connect with no input needed from you.
The vast majority of IoT devices are headless, which means there are no inputs or displays available for them. Some may offer a limited amount of control through a mobile application or website, but for the most part, these devices do not have the capability to run their own security tools.
For instance, when a virus or malware attacks your computer, your antivirus should pick it up and block it, or at the very least send you an alert. Many smart devices and appliances don’t have this capability, so they don’t have a way to protect themselves.
Until now. Dojo Security provides a way to intercept outgoing and incoming traffic with all of your connected devices. So when a malicious package comes through, Security Dojo steps in and prevents the device from receiving it, while notifying you of the attempt.
Dojo Security is more than a one trick pony though. Sure, it accesses domain traffic to weed out malicious attempts, but it’s not the only way your devices can access harmful data. As a result, Dojo Security uses a myriad of techniques to protect your home against potential threats.
One of the easiest ways threats and harmful information accesses your network is through an open port on a security camera. This is one of the easiest ways for data to get into your system since cameras with open ports are all too common and quickly found.
Again, Dojo Security does its job when attacks happen on the open port. If it detects the attempt, the device immediately turns red, notifying you that an action needs to be taken, while also severing the connection. You’ll receive an alert on your smartphone that tells you devices are actively under attack. Once you access the application, you’ll be given the location, along with a prompt to either permit the connection or block it.
The prompt gives you the opportunity to allow the access if it’s legitimate and block it if it’s not. This functionality is basically using two-factor authentication to manage devices remotely and helps ensure the protection of your home network and smart devices.
Not only does Dojo Security recognize things your connected devices shouldn’t do, but it also determines danger based on ensuring your devices are behaving as designed. Dojo Security has access to its cloud which offers a behavior profile on a large database of IoT devices, so when you connect a new device to your network, Dojo already knows what type of traffic to expect.
One of the nice things about connected devices is that they aren’t generic devices like smartphones or laptops. IoT devices have a specific set of functions, which means their behavior can is predictable, and when something falls outside the boundaries, Dojo Security is there to catch it.
Should such an event occur, Dojo Security protects you and warns you. When an IoT device is compromised, for example, if your connected lights start searching for an open network port on your other smart devices, Dojo Security suspends the connection and alerts you to its behavior.
Another way Dojo Security detects when connected devices are misbehaving is through machine learning. After initial setup of your Dojo device, it begins to adjust and learn your habits. It does this by watching the traffic on your network, along with how your connected devices interact with one another and with outside servers.
Doing so allows Dojo to set a baseline for your home network at which point it begins to watch for anomalies. So if you have a smart device that starts to attempt to talk to an unknown server continually, or sees a sudden surge in activity when there usually isn’t any, your Dojo Security will notify you.
Lastly, Dojo Security gathers data points from a variety of devices to establish a database. This crowdsourced information is then used to protect customers from new and evolving threats as they emerge onto the IoT landscape.
One nice thing about Dojo Security is its flexibility with users with varying technical understanding. The mobile application interface provides a design that a user with little technical knowledge understands while offering hidden functionality that allows advanced users the ability to tinker and customize it.
For instances, in the My Devices menu, you have the ability to configure port forwarding information for devices that have access to external servers. In this section, you can view and monitor all of the connected devices on your home network. You can also unblock or block traffic to a specific device. This means if you want to cut off your child’s access to the network, you can do so.
While the event log looks too much like a chat feed, it’s understandable since doing so is the simplest way to prevent a lot of clutter in the logs. It’s clear the goal of Dojo Security is to avoid confusing its users. However, it would be nice if there were additional options for advanced users. A menu that could be enabled which would allow users to view more granular details about specific events like device type, IP addresses, and so forth.
Granting access to your home network and every device connected to it, especially a device which is continuously in communication with its own cloud server, can give anyone a reason to be concerned about privacy. This section won’t be a deep dive into the service Dojo Security uses to gather information, but rather a high-level view of how the device handles the data it accesses.
For starters, Dojo Security isn’t interested in the content of your data. It’s interested in the traffic and the metadata generated from your communications. It wants to see IP addresses, ports, domains, sequences, and frequency of transactions in order to determine if whether traffic is safe or malicious.
One thing to bear in mind with your Dojo Security is that if you’re using a VPN, Dojo is unable to protect it or monitor it. Ideally, you would want to install the VPN on the router behind Dojo Security, which will allow the device to perform the way it is intended.
Dojo employs two separate data stores in its cloud. One uses the crowdsourced information discussed earlier to create a threat database. Any information sent to this store is stripped of all customer information, rendering it anonymous.
The second store is set aside specifically for your home network. This data is used by Dojo Security to create the rules which apply to your local network, which is where the machine learning comes into play. Of course, any data retrieved from your network can be very valuable, which is why Dojo encrypts it and stores as little information as needed to protect your network.
One more item for concern is the amount of time Dojo Security dedicates to communicating with its cloud server, along with whether or not it continues to monitor and protect your network if it cannot access the cloud.
In reality, you need not worry since the device is small but powerful. It boasts a dual-core processor, 4 GB of device storage, and 2 GB of RAM. The device itself performs all of the network protection and monitoring in real-time.
If through some unforeseeable event the Dojo Security is disconnected from the cloud, it will continue to do its job. Dojo Security primarily uses its connection to the cloud to update network protection rules and threat signatures. Once the connection becomes available again, Dojo will resync itself with the cloud.
Dojo Security has no shortage of features, some of which we’ve already touched on. Here is a quick rundown of what Dojo brings to the table:
- Firewall management
- Local and Cloud based security engine
- Web filtering
- Auto onboarding and device detection
- Detect and prevent intrusion
- Smart home network with multi-layer security
- Network assessment
- Remote access through multi-factor authentication
- Regular behavioral analysis performed
- Protects against botnets, ransomware, malware, and viruses
- Double verification for safe browsing sessions
- Unlimited connected device support
Not only does Dojo Security offer a multitude of features, it doesn’t go light on the specs either. Here is a table showing just how much you get when you decide to go with Dojo Security:
|Mobile Application Platform||Android and iOS|
|Power||External Power Supply|
|Processor||Dual Core 1.2GHz|
|SDRAM Memory||2GB DDR SRAM|
|Flash Memory||4GB Flash|
|Ports||2 x 1 Gbps Ethernet Ports|
Even though the Dojo Security is not going to be an end-all replacement for the antivirus software you use on your laptop or PC, it does offer significant benefits and is a must-have for your connected devices and smart gadgets. The beauty of Dojo Security is that it provides an application that caters to both novice and advanced users who want to protect the devices on their network.
The two-factor authorization is one way Dojo Security offers protection remotely, which is a huge feature for those that need to manage their network while they are away for work or on vacation. Dojo Security is a great way to maintain the security and control over all the connected devices and computers in your home, all with the peace of mind that they are safe from harmful viruses, malware, and attacks.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!