By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2004-08-30 Print this article Print

RedCannon Securitys Fireball KeyPoint appliance provides a secure computing environment, enabling remote workers to access and transport files, browse Web sites, or check e-mail from Windows-based kiosks or home computers.

With this months release of a free central policy management add-on, KeyPoint provides a useful way to control the experiences of small or large numbers of users at remote machines and would make a fine complement to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) VPN implementations.

The Fireball KeyPoint is a beefed-up USB 2.0-compliant memory stick that comes preloaded with software to detect spyware and keystroke loggers. KeyPoint also has an AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)-encrypted vault for secured file storage and features a self-contained Web browser and POP3 (Post Office Protocol Version 3) e-mail client that leaves no traces of activity on the host computer.

The Fireball KeyPoint, released in June, is priced at $149 for a 256MB edition and $299 for a 512MB edition.

From the console, which we installed on a Windows 2000 Server, we configured several policies that defined access to KeyPoint applications and the level of user control over the KeyPoint device. We then created groups of KeyPoint devices and applied the policies to each group.

The console required us to export these policies to a Windows share, where the configuration policy is stored as an encrypted XML file in a separate folder earmarked for each managed device.

When the KeyPoint device connects to a host with network access to the management server, the device contacts the management server, which redirects the device to the share. The device automatically downloads and applies any new policy information.

The devices spyware scan runs quickly and identifies all manner of spyware, keystroke loggers, dialers and Trojan horse applications. However, KeyPoint does not eradicate spyware or offer any information about the spyware it detects. Wed like to see RedCannon beef up the documentation to provide some relief for unsavvy users on their own machines.

KeyPoints strong browser capabilities were a pleasant surprise—we could load Java applets and ActiveX controls and were able to get full functionality from an Outlook Web Access e-mail application. KeyPoints browser acts as a plug-in to Internet Explorer on the host machine, so the KeyPoint browser performance will depend on how the host machine is configured.

User-defined bookmarks are stored on KeyPoint and persist across sessions, but cookies and temp files are deleted when the session is terminated.

Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at andrew_garcia@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.

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Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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