Updated on 06-01-2017: The Dojo is now available.
In 2015, an HP study found that all the connected home security systems it tested had critical flaws — from encryption issues to a failure to require strong and complex passwords — that left them vulnerable to spying. In the wild west of the smart-home landscape, the responsibility of policing our devices rests on consumers’ shoulders, and most of us do not know where to begin.
Luckily, there is Dojo from Dojo-Labs (acquired by U.K. security company BullGuard last year), a two-device system that monitors all your connected equipment for cyber attacks. One part connects to your router; the other, which looks like a smooth, black rock, sits out in the open and flashes different colors based on what is happening on your network. Green means good, orange means something is happening but the system is taking care of it, and red means you need to intervene. The display unit is battery powered and connects via Bluetooth. “This pet rock can be located anywhere at home and give you in the blink of an eye the overall situation of your home security without giving you all the details,” CEO and co-founder Yossi Atias told Digital Trends.
But red is not necessarily a danger sign. It could just mean your mom is trying to access your living room camera, so she can see the cute trick your dog is performing. The Dojo knows the difference between “human behavior” and “device behavior,” Atias said. “Only the human behavior scenarios will give users the choice to decide how the day-to-day interactions with the device is going to look.” You will get an alert on your phone asking if you want to keep blocking the camera or if you want to allow access just this once or all the time. You decide how often Mom gets a view of your living room.
There is a certain way your security camera should behave and things it should never do. The cloud-connected Dojo analyzes all your devices’ metadata to build profiles of how they communicate. It can then keep a lookout for deviations from these profiles, without you having to do anything, except occasionally grant permission to people you know who want to access your devices.
As Dojo-Labs’ machine learning, algorithms, and cyber team learn new threats, it can deliver updates through the cloud connection. There is also multiple layers of profiling, Atias said. It analyzes the behavior of your Nest based on the fact that it is a thermostat, it is made by Nest, and it is a specific model. It is normal for the thermostat to connect to Google’s cloud. “If this device suddenly connects to a server in Russia, in China, that’s an additional layer of deviation from its expected behavior,” Atias said.
Atias said the Dojo can even tell if your camera has already been hacked and help fix the problem. “Every device is suspect until proven otherwise.”
After a couple years of finessing and testing, Dojo finally began shipping to customers in the U.S. It will set you back $199, which includes your first year of service. From then on out, you can choose to pay $99 every year for continual service, or pay $10 on a monthly basis. So if you are looking to safeguard your house in the digital arena, this may just be a good shield to have in your arsenal.