CUJO makes home cybersecurity affordable – and is tearing up Indiegogo
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Photo Credit: CUJO

CUJO offers a new, affordable solution to protect entire home networks from hackers and viruses, anticipating huge demand as the Internet of Things security market grows

You just unwrapped your new baby monitors. You’ve set them up just outside your kid’s crib and beside your bed. Shutting down for the night, the monitor can send you alerts and record your child’s night sleep.

Unfortunately, you are unaware that someone has access to that monitor and knows when your kid is screaming and when he is asleep. Since your son is asleep, he knows you are not wandering around getting bottles in the middle of the night. It is the perfect time to break in.

The Internet of Things is producing wondrous new devices linked into your home internet, creating a housebound network that requires new levels of cloud-based security protection. Here’s where affordable CUJO comes in handy – and has managed to raise more than $115,000 on Indiegogo.
CUJO’s machine learning-based system, whose device is selling for $49 and annual system will cost $89, is supposedly adaptable to new malware and hacking threats. What is unique about their set up is there is no need to, well, set it up. Plugging it right into the oft-empty jacks in your router activates it immediately. Its advanced and efficient solution has gotten it to quadruple its Indiegogo goal in just two weeks, raising more than $115,000 as of this writing to manufacture their first line of product.
“My home was very vulnerable to security threats and my two kids were already using tablets before they started talking,” co-founder and CEO Einaras Gravrock tells Geektime. “We were becoming a smart home, so the next step was wow, ‘What about security?'”
CUJO, in all its glory, can be accessed via app as well

CUJO, in all its glory, can be accessed via app as well

Solutions were too limited in their reach, Gravrock explains to Geektime, confined to PCs and unable to stretch out and protect the slew of new devices that were using the home WiFi. And even with what was available, he was concerned about ease and accessibility. The services were too technical for the average homeowner, for regular consumers. In Gravrock’s mind, a huge part of their success is that they have simply made it “approachable.”
“I started talking to my partner (co-founder and Chairman Yuri Frayman) who said there were broader trends like this, so he suggested working on CUJO.”
His sense of surprise is muted because they were extremely confident demand would pick up quickly at some point: All they had to do was take a solution suited for businesses and truly bring it home. According to the company, their solution combines aspects of malware protection, firewalls, and antivirus software to protect the entire home network.
“If you look at software solutions you can only focus on the PC, but then if it is in the whole network, that [solution] won’t be able to fend it off. Researching, I found out that there was nothing out there. Baby monitors and security cameras were being hacked left and right,” Gravrock notes.
The device uses machine learning to adapt to your home behavior patterns and detect anything out of the ordinary, alerting homeowners to suspicious activity.
“Being at the gateway makes that challenge somewhat easier,” Gravrock says. “We developed an algorithm to watch the behavior of the device. If it suddenly starts doing things out of character, CUJO will pick up on it. It’s kind of cool.”

A rising market

The IoT security market is expected to quadruple in value in the next five years, from $6.89 billion to $28.9 billion by 2020 according to a new report released this month.
Several use cloud-based solutions to secure networks, such as FireLayers and Seculert, while firms like CyberX are focused on managing industrial-sized networks. Israel-based COLU (yeah, don’t get confused) is using software associated with Bitcoin security to protect IoT networks.
YL Ventures partner Ofer Schreiber told Geektime earlier this year that authentication (and hence recognition) will be critical for IoT security going forward. “Being able to perform authentication with connected devices in a private, secure manner will be a challenge.”
Gravrock says their main competitors are all the “usual suspects” – the big tech firms like IBM, Symantec, and Intel – but that they have been tackling things from an “embedded” security perspective, dependent on installing solutions device by device on a home network.

Going forward

Before the crowdfunding effort, the company was entirely privately funded. Gravrock holds his cards close to his chest on a potentially wider fundraising campaign, but is confident that the product itself will be able to drive strong revenue. While Gravrock says they aren’t planning on breaking into the IoT automotive industry, they would like to begin to protect cell phone networks.
“We ask for patience and we’ve got so much attention on us right now because we came out of left field and sidestepped all the major companies who are trying to do the same thing,” he cautions.
CUJO was co-founded by Gravrock and Chairman Yuri Frayman earlier this year and counts 11 additional staff, including VP of Technology Robert Beatty. Service is provided on a subscription basis, with varied plans being offered in its Indiegogo campaign.
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