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Yoggie Pico: Security in a USB Key

Yoggie Pico: Security in a USB Key
By , Justin Korelc

Many self-motivated networking professionals experiment with scratch-building or improvising network gateway and perimeter devices to function as routers, firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention devices, and more. If they’re ambitious, they might even include custom-built or site-specific configurations, and equip these devices to filter content, prioritize packets or shape network traffic. Windows servers provide a good basis for converting mild-mannered desktop machines into full-fledged network appliances, but Windows cannot be easily whittled down or reworked like Linux or UNIX. That said, it’s not unusual to see customized, battle-ready routing equipment appear in makeshift security roles, be it to replace costlier products with equivalent functionality, or to fill the gap where no equivalent unit exists in market-ready form.

When building commercial security appliances, most vendors seek to provide unified threat management solutions that are at least somewhat able to provide self-supervision, support automated maintenance strategies and cram as much comprehensive functionality into a compact and practical working environment as they can. In fact, Yoggie Security Systems has turned this quest into a usable, marketable platform that is also something of a technology tour de force. Today, commercial threat management network appliances can handle all kinds of tasks and are often built around small microprocessor designs with small hardware footprints. Many of these designs also center around specially-modified Linux installations, which should come as no big surprise

yoggie pico Yoggie Pico resembles a double-thick USB Flash drive

Typical routing appliances include processors that operate in a range from 200 to 500 MHz for general applications, which is usually sufficient to handle network environments with up to 30 nodes or so. A crafty and clever designer can incorporate all sorts of fanciful features into such a working environment, including anti-virus and anti-malware scanning, but it takes a competent and knowledgeable integrator to make all these parts work together cohesively. Focusing on a standalone Internet appliance also means that effective coverage occurs only within the perimeter of the network that the appliance serves, and can leave roaming employees on mobile platforms exposed to scanning, attack and even possible compromise.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 21, 2008 6:59 PM
    Nice, although running an OS that's actually secure (i.e. not windows) would certainly give you most of the same benefits...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 21, 2008 11:04 PM
    Right... because OSX, all the Linux Distros, and BSD all come out of the box preconfigured with up to date antivirus, anti-spyware, traffic shaping, intrusion detection, and content filtering.

    Or wait... maybe you're just saying that those OSes are all completely secure and don't need anything else... riiiiiight.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2008 12:37 AM
    seems like a neat device, did you do any surfing to nether regions of the internet to see what kind of infections it could actally block?

    That bit published by Google that malware can install just by visting a site is rather disturbing. Downloading and running a malware program is one thing, but just clicking on a link and getting infected should be blocked by a device like this. Does the pico block such attackS?

    Or do I need to maintain my clean and dirty setups. One setup is only for known good sites or offline activity and it is unplugged while the dirty setup is online. Normally the dirty setup is clean, but the anti-virus software has been eaten before.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2008 4:22 PM
    I purchased 2 of the Pico's (from Yoggie.com) which arrived yesterday. I bought it through their website because they have a promo right now where you get a 3 year license included in the purchase price. The setup and install went just like the review states - perfectly. Not a single problem and it went very quickly (I didn't get the certificate error like the reviewer).

    My laptop performance after the install is way beyond what I had expected. Before installing the Pico, opening an Excel spreadsheet from a LAN drive took over 1 minute (with Norton 360 installed). After the Pico install and uninstall of Norton, opening the same Excel document took less than 5 seconds!!! Another performance boost that I noticed was when I wake up my laptop (after about 30 min of inactivity) - it used to take a long time to fully wake up to the point where it was usable again (at lease a min or more - depending on how long it was inactive), where it is virtually instantaneous now.

    I've been raving about this little device all day. So far, it ranks among my top 2 gadget purchases ever (right along side my Harmony Remote).

    I highly recommend it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 24, 2008 6:02 PM
    I would be interested in finding out of two computers on the same switch are effected by the USB device. Sometimes I transfer documents between computers on the same network and I would think USB speeds are a lot slower than the Gigabit network interface cards.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 8, 2008 6:56 AM
    I have been using the SOHO Gatekeeper Pro for about 4 months. As an idea it sounds great. Funtionally it is not a practical enterprise solution. For example : whenever the AV database gets updated it slows any function to a crowl. In several instances it just slows browsing, email without even showing that Yoggie's CPU is busy.

    Support is horrible. They provide fixes that are broken, in other word no fix. Then they fix the second problem and the support replies that we fixed the issue. While the initial issue is still there.

    Additionally, when the automatic update from version 1.3.9 to 1.4.0 they broke the email POP checking and they do not want to fix the issue.

    My final thoughts are that it is an unstrustworthy imature security company with bad business practices. Their moto must be "We can break your Yoggie any time we like and we will not support you or fix the issue".

    My recomendation is do not buy any equipment from them.
  • 0 Hide
    GregsW , January 2, 2009 4:28 PM
    Sorry, but I agree with the previous poster. Access to the internet was very slow after using this devices. Also, the screen snapshots show that the device was NEVER tested against any virus or malware. It's a cumulative graph that can't be refreshed, and they showed ZERO attacks. The device also does not allow any initial secured authentication such as initial logins for things like Yahoo, Gmail,Gdocs, etc with having to be disabled. It must try to block redirected HTTPS authentication. Netflix, wireless printing also do not work. And the "automatic" firmware upgrade to 1.4.0 from 1.3.9 took 50 emails back and forth to tech support to fix. Once it was complete, if fixed none of the above issues.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 29, 2009 3:31 PM
    I bought the Yoggie because it promised to speed up my computer by allowing me to remove Norton which made my pc slow. It actually made surfing the internet slower and receiving emails took for ever.
    updates made it worse.
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