Little bit of history
Apart from operating .CZ top level domain, CZ.NIC does a lot of other interesting things contributing to the common good. Part of it is running Czech national CSIRT team, doing security research and raising awareness about potential security issues. As part of our security research, we started wondering a long time ago how much are the average Joes and Janes attacked, by who and how. People that are just connected to the internet, run no public service and are just consumers. If only there was some kind of probe that would allow us to see what is going on there…
At the end of November last year awesome crew from AT&T organized a hackathon about various aspects of smart technology. They have a long tradition in organizing those and they are really good at it. We spoke at various conferences with them and they asked us whether we would be interested in joining as we have interesting hardware to lend contestants and also developers skilled in various areas that could help the attendees to overcome various issues. We jumped on board right a way!
Once upon a time, in a company far, far away, they build a bike shed. The actual bike shed. Surprisingly without any bike-shedding. But then they were wondering how to give access to all the cyclists to the yard bike shed was build on. It was not a highly secured area, but still, it was behind gates so no stray dogs or stray cars could enter. They already had a remote-controlled gate via special key fob. But those were expensive, required some tracking, it took quite some time to order a new one and in general there was quite some overhead managing them.
IoT or Internet of Things is a real hype nowadays. Everybody is talking about it and everybody is doing it. Especially companies producing various electronic devices like light bulbs, electric switches, thermometers, scales, CCTV and such. Everything can be smart – even your toilet. All you need to do is to measure something or replace the manual switch with electronic one and connect it to Bluetooth, Zigbee, ZWave or even WiFi and you have a smart device that people will pay a hefty price for. But there are some issues (apart from the obvious one that not all those devices make sense).
From the beginning of the development of the Turris MOX router, we have faced a difficult task –how to assemble the modular system so that it does not collapse during handling and, at the same time, make it as user friendly as possible when the user deciders to disassemble and reassemble it. You will be able to find out whether we have accomplished this task or not in the coming weeks when the first MOXes in cases arrive to their users. In the following article, I would like to introduce you to the development and production of the final case of our new product.
One of the less known advantages of the Turris router is the possibility to verify quality of Internet connection, the so-called QoS (Quality of Service), i.e. especially to measure the download and upload speed, IPv6 support, DNSSEC and parameters connected with net neutrality. Such a measuring may serve to analyse the use of the line and to evaluate whether paying a high speed fee is unnecessary. The experience of the Turris router users shows that the majority of their time online is spent in the slowest zone (0-250 kbps). Moreover, even when the majority of data is transferred in higher speed, fast operation may have only a tiny representation from the time´s point of view. Especially those who do not spend a lot of time watching videos pay extra for high speed connection for a relatively short time of use, mainly for the moments it takes to load a page or download and send an e-mail.
Vulnerability of SOHO routers becomes a topic of analyses by various security organizations almost every week. The 2017 Symantec report shows a year-on-year increase in the number of attacks on IoT devices by 600%. The most vulnerable are unsecured routers, which often make it possible to gain easy access to each connected device. The April’s alert from the official US-CERT also tells us of the growing number of these attacks and their severity.
The new product of the Turris router series is called MOX and it is conceived as a modular system. A number of additional modules can be connected to the basic CPU of the MOX A module, allowing the users to use only the features they need, without the peripherals they have no use for yet. And, of course, they will be able to extend the entire router in the future as necessary. Modules marked with letters A through E are now in the prototype stage, i.e. launching, testing of individual functions, but also fine-tuning the production process and preparation for serial production of thousands of devices. In this article, you will find out what prototype production looks like.
There is no doubt that high school students use information and communication technology just as commonly as a toothbrush. Unfortunately, when it comes to security, there is really room for improvement. This was confirmed by the National Final of the second Czech Cyber Security Competition among high schools.
Our second crowdfunding campaign for Turris routers will end in a week. The first one for Turris Omnia ended up being a phenomenal success. That time we set our target amount to USD 100,000. In 60 days, we collected an incredible USD 875,000, which was — and still is — the second highest amount collected in Czech campaigns. That’s why we figured that in the case of MOX we definitely cannot stay too close to the ground in order to maintain our trustworthiness. Eventually, we set the target amount to USD 250,000, which, compared to Omnia, looks like a low figure, but it is actually quite ambitious. This campaign is different in two important respects: