Youre walking the floor at a trade show, too tired to lug around your laptop. You stop at a computing kiosk to check your corporate and personal e-mail and to browse financial Web sites for some information. Thats a problem. Depending on what youve accessed, youve left an electronic trail that might not be difficult for someone to retrace. While SSL VPNs and various security protocols have taken a bite out of privacy problems, a new application from Silicon Valley startup Twingo Systems may introduce an even better approach.
The companys first product, Twingo, starts shipping next week and is designed to provide secure remote access to enterprise data via untrusted computers such as systems at airports, cyber cafes, trade shows, and even in your own home. Twingo has already been successfully beta tested at several firms, and one of the first large public showings of the application will take place at the Demo Mobile conference in the fall, for which Chris Shipley is the executive producer.
"As the number of individuals who use public Internet kiosks in cafes, at conferences, and elsewhere increases, the greater the security risk and the greater the need for the Twingo solutions," says Shipley. "Many kiosk users dont realize how much data they leave behind, nor the potential exposure to malicious code that can infiltrate their enterprise networks from that kiosk data. Twingo provides a safe, unobtrusive environment that protects both users and their employers from these hazards."
According to Reza Malekzadeh, cofounder and president of Twingo Systems, several technologies work to keep Twingo computing sessions secure and what he calls "temporary." "We launch via Active X on a Windows 2000 or Windows XP computer," he says. "The application makes use of Java and other technologies to provide a layer around a session, and everything you do during that session—right down to every hard disk call—goes on within Twingo." A Virtual Secure Desktop creates a cryptographic file system on the fly so that nothing is ever written clearly to disk. Upon leaving Twingo, the cryptographic file system is permanently deleted.
The application will sell for $49 per seat to enterprises. In addition to several corporate beta tests, the product has been beta tested at Kinkos cyber cafes, according to the company.