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Dojo is another oddly shaped solution to securing your home network

Dojo is another oddly shaped solution to securing your home network

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One of my favorite gadgets at CES this January was the Norton Core. Not exactly for what it claims to accomplish — securing a home network filled with vulnerable IoT devices — but because it looks so weird while doing it.

BullGuard, the antivirus company, is now on the scene with Dojo, its own network security hardware, which offers an even stranger form factor. The core idea is the same: Dojo sits in between your modem and Wi-Fi router — or jacks straight into your ISP's router if you use that — and takes over network management and firewall duties. With the accompanying app, you can check on the security status of your network, approve new devices asking to join the Wi-Fi, and adjust other settings.

What makes Dojo weird is the included Dojo Pebble, which takes four AA batteries and communicates wirelessly with the base station. The Pebble lights up green if your network is good, orange if there's a problem with malware or another threat that Dojo's software knows how to deal with, and red if manual intervention is required — like authorizing access. There don’t seem to be any additional smarts in the Pebble, which is confusing because in some of the videos on the Dojo YouTube channel it looks like the Pebble is responsible for scanning and mapping your Wi-Fi, which wouldn’t make any sense.

BullGuard claims Dojo can spot strange network behavior and stop it in its tracks, using machine learning and crowdsourced information in the cloud gleaned from other (anonymous) Dojo users. Specific devices Dojo is meant to safeguard include TVs, baby monitors, connected cameras, thermostats, and, of course, regular old computers and phones.

Dojo costs $199.99 and is available for order today, according to Wired, but Amazon lists an expected ship date of one to two months from now.