Yoggie Security Systems has squeezed a complete hardware firewall for Windows systems into a USB key sized form-factor. The “Yoggie Pico” runs Linux 2.6 along with 13 security applications on a 520MHz PXA270, a powerful Intel processor popular in smartphones and other high-end consumer devices.
The Yoggie Pico is a spectacularly miniaturized version of the companys original Yoggie Gatekeeper product (pictured at left), which shipped nine months ago and is also based on the Intel PXA270 processor. Both products aim to offload firewall functions to a separate device, in order to increase security and performance of the host PC, and save users from confusing security-related pop-up messages.
CEO Schlomo Touboul explains, “Internet security software running on Windows takes a lot of time to boot, and uses a lot of CPU to scan. It gets fatter and fatter with every update, and as a result, the Windows machine gets slower and slower. The idea of Yoggie is, Lets have a second computer, and screen traffic before it reaches the PC.”
How does it work?
The original Gatekeeper sported a pair of RJ-45 jacks that allowed it to be connected in-line between the network and a PC running any OS, similar to traditional hardware firewalls. Alternatively, it could be connected via its full-speed (12Mbps) USB port, and used in conjunction with low-level Windows drivers that “hi-jack traffic at layers 2-3, below the TCP/IP stack, and route it to USB,” Touboul explained.
The Pico eschews the Gatekeepers bulky RJ-45 ports, while upgrading USB connectivity to a high-speed (480Mbps) interface. “On a 100Mbps Ethernet, you can barely notice its there,” Touboul said.
One nice benefit to the USB-plus-host-driver approach is that it works not only with wired networks, but for any network interface on the host PC, including dial-up, WiFi, or even GPRS add-in cards, Touboul said. Drivers for Linux and MacOS X are planned, he confirmed.