When we talk about the Internet and the devices that make the connection possible, we think of routers, modems and computers, smart phones and TVs, and some more advanced think of NAS and multimedia servers. Security professionals also think about firewalls, and VPNs … well, many devices and programs to create what we know as THE WEB.
The fact is that we have just been presented with a product that can group everything, the Okay HCS.
The name and the responsible company
Ayos stands for “Ay” for the Aiyja company (the responsible company) and “OS” for the operating system. On the other hand, HCS is the acronym for “Home Connectivity Server”, the result of 2 years of development, something that is capable of protecting against identity theft, ransomware and other available threats.
The device has been created by a European company, of less than 20 people, 17 of whom are all technical, mostly professionals who have worked in large companies, from people from the bank to people from mobile ISPs. Some have worked on GDPR and privacy related issues, a topic that is deeply ingrained in the product.
The HCS can be thought of as a functional 9-in-1 box / node. Actually, it has 692 different functions, but from a consumer point of view, 9 main features.
Such a B2B product can cost between 10 and 20,000 euros. In this case we are talking about 1,790 euros in its most basic version.
They have created an easy-to-use device that they can own and control, without depending on anyone else, to protect themselves and their family.
The hardware has been created with “right to repair” in mind so that the HCS can be repaired whenever needed without warranty.
Let’s now see what interests you the most. What Ayos HCS can do for us:
- A Complete enterprise-grade firewall. The HCS sits between the ISP router and your devices, be it landline or WiFI, or any other configuration. The firewall protects the entire home network, not just one device, so we can see what the applications send on our phone. It allows blocking a data flow for devices, services or even users. Not only does it allow one-click blocking and allowing, but it also provides ALL the information about the flow of information, such as who owns the IP, DNS records, etc. Everything visible on the page. The idea is that we know which applications, operating systems and programs are trying to steal what, when and how much.
- Full NAS that enables network storage and synchronization, with up to 20 terrabytes of internal storage, with the ability to manage 60 petabytes and more of external data. It also works with all backup solutions such as time machine and Windows network backup.
- Home Cloud, to put the most used and necessary elements in the HCS, our home server. In this way no one can spy, steal, change or rescue the information without our permission. This Home Cloud allows you to have passwords, email, documents, contacts and even cookies eventually in the HCS. They also have home office applications such as EtherCal in the App Store. They use their own code and applications, in addition to the Nextcloud hub, which supports many external functions.
- Internet Services & Home Anywhere. Two exclusive products from them. Internet Service lets you use your outgoing cloud firewall, sync data with outside parties like Amazon, pre-encrypt it, and much more to come, like sharing the internet with friends and family. It is only necessary to send a link and password to approve access to the portal when they are trying to log in. On the other hand, Home Anywhere allows you to have a VPN at home without opening any ports to the outside world through port forwarding. With a single click we can use wireguard on any device to connect to home, with special security measures and without an open network. With these systems we can always be protected thanks to the rules created, access our home page and all our IOT devices (including security cameras).
- Malware blocking and ransomeware protection. They block spam from India, China, Russia, etc … and have numerous ransomeware protections, including the use of some of the nextcloud features. They also avoid bulk encryption, so if they fail to protect, only a maximum of 10 files will be lost.
- Network and WiFI management. It has the ability to manage the internal x4 gigabit switch, timeless switches, and a new WiFI AP coming out in a few months called WAPi. It will be fully managed through the HCS, allowing automatic blocking of VLANs, VTEP, QoS and Guest Firewall. They also have features that avoid interference, and by integrating with the HCS, there will be many cross functions. Before the end of 2021 they want to have BLE connected so that we can talk on Signal or other programs anywhere in the house without carrying a phone.
- Free App Store. From there we can install apps as they are launched. At the moment they have elements that allow a developer using GitHub to share peer-to-peer torrents, use it directly within the HCS and check for viruses, which makes protection easier. They offer predesigned applications that are located in their own sandbox virtual machine to work and the user can decide what functions and what Internet access each app will need.
- Multimedia server. They have embedded Emby and Plex, as network servers, preconfigured. They also have a music server, madsonic, which allows more control over music and external sources. They use the SSO “single sign on” feature, which allows an administrator to create users for HCS so that each has access to different applications, including access to the NAS. They can also search for audio on the network, being able to play audio anywhere in the house, through the application or the HCS portal.
- Proxy. They have included many web functions like Privacy Proxy. In fact, they have installed a web proxy in the HCS that allows additional functions on parental controls, web browsing controls, DNS security and so on. They have also set cookie functions, to keep social media identification bots under control. An ideal function to prevent our television from continuing to send information about what we see.
- Control parental. It allows our entire network and devices to be placed under parental supervision if we wish. We will prevent our children from using the full bandwidth, being able to view pornography or click on nasty advertisements. We can also configure it so that children can only use social networks 1 hour a day or something like that.
Those are the main ones, but they have other options, such as the HCS file manager, Air-share, data protections and as “email as a proxy”, so that we can use our email client on our Mac, Windows, Linux or BSD gnome client and access the email while remaining in the HCS as an IMAP server.
The Ayos HCS is based on Unix or “Unix type”. In fact it is primarily based on OpenBSD, with much of its own security and code built in to enhance functionality.
They say that it is an operating system used for decades in large companies, to create security solutions for those companies that are not so hacked. It is incredibly fast, secure, private, and well designed.
Distribution and timing is key in the product. They have designed it so that the data is distributed or synchronized with HCS, so that when we buy a new PC or TV, everything is as we left it, no new configuration is needed, or at least it is minimal. Like having the same browser bookmarks in all operating systems, all environments, all ecosystems, without problems. And the data is ours, it is not in a provider’s cloud.
Regarding backups, they indicate that in HCS we can make backup copies and synchronize, even 3 to 4 copies, or encrypted external backups, recorded safely.
They also work with the protocols for the Internet, being able not only to improve the QOS, but also to improve elements such as TCP so that the games are faster, the browsing is faster, etc. They optimize the consumer experience through the TCP / IP stack, improving a few milliseconds, key for gamers. It has its own middleware and API bridge inside it, a first for a consumer product.
On the IoT world, they operate and secure the network, preventing Internet access, and allowing devices to act as one, regardless of their manufacturer.
From the home page we can customize our own browser home page, avoiding the theft of identification data and cookies, and offering the possibility of integrating other applications, such as local shopping widgets to help people support their local businesses , for example.
Price and availability
Starting at 1790 euros, at the moment they only sell in Europe, but people can pre-order for outside of Europe if they are willing to wait.
The promo code is SRGMMTYP, remaining for 1690 euros, and they are providing free home anywhere, that is, incoming VPN at home, with five simultaneous connections, if you buy before June.