RATTRAP: A SOLID INTERNET SECURITY DEVICE FOR THE MASSESBy - 06/20/2017
Internet security is often overlooked, but it’s an important aspect of home security. Without it, the smart home devices you trust to provide physical security might be exposing you to threats. For example, do you know how easy it is to hack security cameras? According to information security experts from E&T Magazine, it’s horrifyingly simple.
But aren’t internet security solutions expensive? Yes, most of them are. However, with the rapid increase of internet-connected devices, less expensive solutions are now available. One such device is RATtrap, an internet security device designed for home use.
The RAT in RATtrap stands for Remote Access Trojan; a malware used by hackers to remotely control your internet-connected devices. RATtrap’s job is to detect and eliminate RAT and other cyber threats.
RATtrap works by combining hardware with a cloud solution. The device includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two LEDs, a socket for the power adapter, and a reset button. It also contains a circuit board with a powerful ARM processor (1.0 GHz), 512RAM, and 4GB local storage. Even with all that power, the real thinking falls to the cloud. All traffic coming from and going to your network is analyzed in RATtrap’s cloud to find and eliminate threats. We’ll tackle more details shortly.
Setting Up RATtrap
RATtrap prides itself on its plug-and-play setup. There’s no need for any configuration. It just works.
RATtrap is designed to sit outside your router, like a guard dog sitting outside your door. It monitors outgoing and incoming traffic while keeping your internal network data private. Setting it up is relatively easy.
The steps above work with conventional setups where you have a modem and a standalone router. But RATtrap can also work in other configurations. For example, if you are using an integrated router modem (router and modem in one device), you can use RATtrap by adding a standalone router. In this setup, the integrated router modem will only function as a modem, so you will have to connect all of your devices to the standalone router.
For other configurations, you can visit RATtrap’s tutorial page.
Keep in mind that RATtrap is only designed to protect your internet-connected devices; it won’t improve your internet speed. However, it also won’t interfere with it thanks to its Gigabit Ethernet ports.
What Does RATtrap Protect You From?
RATtrap can protect your devices from four types of cyber threats: identity theft, privacy compromise, data hostage or ransomware, and physical danger.
Identity thieves commonly attack devices that store personal information, like computers, tablets, or smartphones. They steal passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive files for personal gain.
Identity theft is commonly achieved using malware or phishing scams as well as computer viruses that scan your devices for stored personal information.
Hackers might compromise your privacy by accessing devices that record audio or video, such as your smartphone, security cameras, or baby monitors. Some hackers even post live streams from compromised cameras to websites (e.g.,. Shodan.io), where billions of strangers can spy on you.
Data Hostage or Ransomware
Data hostage is another form of information theft. Instead of stealing information, ransomware holds your PC or files hostage while demanding that you pay for access. Ransomware usually infects your devices while you’re browsing or downloading from the web.
Hackers can use your smart devices to cause physical danger as well, as they transcend the online and physical worlds. For example, they might attack your network to unlock your door and gain entry to your home.
How RATtrap Protects You
Most internet security products prevent attacks by cross-referencing all data traffic with a massive database of known cyber threats. This method works IF the database is kept updated. The problem is that hundreds of thousands of threats are released online every day and most internet security products have trouble keeping up.
What RATtrap does differently is that it doesn’t rely on data analysis to detect threats. Instead, it reads where traffic is coming from and where it’s going to. The thing with most cyber threats is that they need you to access their host website to incur damage. RATtrap keeps track of known malicious sites and prevents them from sending traffic to or receiving traffic from your local network. RATtrap also blacklists websites that target vulnerable cameras such as Shodan.io and Censys.io.
Although RATtrap’s method is unconventional, they still use the conventional method of analyzing data to protect you from threats. Only, they do it in real-time and on the device itself, so that your data (not even packet metadata) remains onsite versus being sent off to cloud land. Like conventional internet security products, the device cross-references your internet traffic packet metadata with historical data of previously known threats. If there’s a match, then the traffic is blocked.
The historical data that RATtrap uses is stored locally on the device, but it’s always being updated. The update process involves a global threat sensor network, the RATtrap cloud, and the RATtrap device. First, the threat sensor network looks for recurring previously-known cyber threats and emerging new ones. All threats detected by the threat sensor network are sent to the cloud, where they are aggregated, digested, and normalized. Once normalized, the data is packaged and pushed down to the device. Aside from the global threat network, RATtrap collects threat data from RATtrap devices, and open-source and commercial threat intelligence feeds.
RATtrap also offers DNS protection, shielding your DNS requests from the prying eyes of your ISP and phishing scammers who use DNS lookup. RATtrap processes all your network’s DNS requests, encrypts them, and forwards them to RATtrap cloud’s global DNS infrastructure.
Finally, RATtrap can help you improve your online experience. It has ad-blocking and parental control features in place. Both features, however, require that you use the RATtrap smartphone app. Parental control allows you to set schedules or manually pause internet access.
Monitoring Your RATtrap
RATtrap doesn’t require user-interaction; it works on its own. But you can monitor your network and the protection being offered by RATtrap using the smartphone apps for Android and iOS or the web dashboard. The apps offer an in-depth look at your internet’s upload and download speed, monthly bandwidth use, and number of domains you visit. It also shows a summary of detected and blocked threats.
The app is also used in activating ad-blocking and parental control features.
The Dreaded Monthly Fee
Security is an ever-evolving battle. Keeping up takes manpower, manpower costs money, and the cost is passed along to you. Your initial device purchase includes a 12 month subscription to RATtrap’s service. After the first 12 months, you can continue using RATtrap for $9 per month. While a subscription is optional and contract-free, it’s highly recommended. Without a subscription, RATtrap won’t be able to protect you.
RATtrap isn’t the first internet security device we reviewed. There’s also Keezel, Cujo, Dojo, AKITA, and Bitdefender BOX 2. Of them all, Cujo is most similar to RATtrap. They are both intended for home use (Keezel is designed to be used on-the-go, and it’s a VPN), they both sit at your network’s gateway, and they both offer protection for IoT devices. Compared to Cujo, RATtrap seems more promising. For one, a Cujo user has claimed that it is not as simple to use as advertised and steals your network ID. Also, Cujo only uses a firewall to protect your IoT devices. RATtrap’s behavioral anomaly detection is far better.
RATtrap is available for $199.00.