The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free to share the 5 reasons you need to purchase the CUJO Smart Firewall today.
When I hear Cujo, I immediately think of the fierce dog from the movie that scared me to death as a teen. The CUJO Smart Firewall, however, is friendly as can be to me (with its adorable smiling eyes) but is just as fierce as the dog in protecting my home and internet.
Generally, business-level internet security can be expensive and/or hard to install. I don’t have the time or energy for that. CUJO, on the other hand, was a breeze.
I plugged it into my router and the wall, then downloaded the CUJO app (available on iTunes and Google Play stores). The setup was simple, and even better, I got a phone call from CUJO – who had noticed I’d recently set up a CUJO device – before I finished the setup.
Many easy to use services don’t, however, provide the protection we need. My daughter this weekend told me about all the quizzes her friends at school ask her to take online. Of course my eyebrows went up because I know so many of those sites have malicious code in them. I can’t afford for my daughter (or my son) to accidentally infect my network – let alone the school issued tablet.
CUJO guards all devices in my house from my smart thermostat to my printer and more. CUJO detects and protects everything connected to the internet in my house. If and when a new device connects to my internet, I see it and can assign it a profile – or remove it from the Internet if I don’t recognize the device!
Five Reasons To Install CUJO Smart Firewall
I can easily control my kids’ devices
If I have to tell my daughter or son one more time over the weekend to get out of the office and off their devices, I may scream. Figuratively, but still.
My kids are at the age where all they want to do is watch YouTube videos (so often accidentally not appropriate) or look up memes (really?) or check email (my daughter). While I encourage them to utilize technology, I also need them to use it in a healthy manner.
I don’t want them exposed to something that shouldn’t see at their ages (12 and almost 14), nor do I want them on their devices when they should be doing homework, chores, or sleeping.
CUJO offers an easy way to set up multiple profiles to control what each device can access and when. For my kids, I can block social media sites, anything 18+, gaming sites, shopping, and more. I can do the same for any device and any profile.
Additionally, I can whitelist specific websites that may be in a filtered category without needing to be. That means I don’t lose the overall filtering if my kids need to access a specific website for school, for example.
My favorite, however? I can instantly pause the internet by device or by profile. If you don’t listen or violated rules, the consequence can be quick.
I can see what my kids try to get away with
CUJO Smart Firewall keeps me in the know. If it detects a threat, I receive notifications (thankfully, I haven’t yet). I can review the last 7 or 30 days’ activity to determine a pattern. This also gives me a chance to identify where the threat originated so I can talk to my kids about the identified issue and help them understand how to avoid it in the future.
On a related note, under activity by profile, I can see how many times they’ve attempted to access a restricted feature or site. They can’t simply close out a window or hide a program. I don’t have an issue with this yet, but if I do, I will separate my kids’ profile to have individual profiles for each of them to better monitor behavior.
CUJO also plans to launch time limits for profiles, with an app update coming sometime this year. This will let me set bedtimes, no device times, and other restrictions. Until then, I simply pause internet by the profile when they need to be off devices.
Setting up profiles is simple and easy
I can create as many profiles as I need for my devices. Each one can be color coded for me to more easily see it when reviewing activity and include a photo, if I choose, for the avatar. If I find I don’t need a profile, it’s quick and easy to swipe and delete it.
All this gets controlled from the app that lives on my phone. It’s intuitive to use, and the help button lives on the home screen. If I ever have a question or issue, I can search help, read tutorials, email, call, or start a video chat.
The fantastic customer service
I mentioned that I had a phone call from their customer service before I even finished my setup. My router didn’t want to automatically change its DHCP settings, so I was going to have to do it manually. That’s when the call came in.
The operator clearly identified himself and quickly let me know he could fix it remotely for me, meaning I didn’t have to take the time to think through the steps. He provided me with a couple quick hints and encouraged me to call back anytime.
I called back after I set up my profiles (for me and for my kids for now) and couldn’t connect to the internet with my devices. The CS rep answered quickly and, after checking to see if I had rebooted my devices after getting CUJO set up, identified my problem. I’d created my filters backwards. Everything I checked was a filter rather than an allowance – what can I say? I did this pre-caffeine! Once I switched those, everything worked like a charm.
I received emails welcoming me to CUJO with help options, as well, within minutes of connecting.
CUJO Smart Firewall is fast!
Oftentimes, when you control your wireless devices with a firewall, you find that speeds decrease. While this may not matter when it comes to checking email, I care when I try to stream something and it buffers. The CUJO Smart Firewall is built with 1GB Ethernet so doesn’t impact the speeds at my house. Trust me, I tested it!
What I wish CUJO Smart Firewall offered
- I need the time limits. Fortunately, this is a feature that CUJO is currently developing. They don’t have an exact timetable but anticipate it coming this year
- Many devices can set up wirelessly while CUJO Smart Firewall needs to plug into my router. This limits where I can keep CUJO on a daily basis. I’d prefer flexibility, but CUJO needs to live by my router during setup and permanently.
- Once I assign a device to CUJO, I wish it could track the device wherever it is used or however it connects. If I pause internet, my kids could turn their phones to 4G. If I have controls set up at home, they can get around them at the library or friends’ houses. I’d pay more to have this capability
That said, I love my CUJO. For $249 at Best Buy, you get an unlimited subscription to the services, and I find this a bargain. Malicious software gets smarter and smarter all the time. CUJO has the firewall we need to prevent a disaster in our house. I appreciate the peace of mind CUJO Smart Firewall provides – especially since he’s so cute!
Have you tried the CUJO Smart Firewall? How do you secure your home network?