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Yoggie Pico Puts World-class Security on a USB Key

yoggie pico usb key

The Yoggie Pico runs on a 520 MHz PXA270 processor, an Intel model widely used in smartphones and various big-ticket consumer electronic components. It also runs Linux 2.6 along with hardened suite of security applications. These include a number of anti-malware programs, including anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and anti-spam. It also comes equipped with an intrusion detection and prevention system (IDS/IPS), a firewall that supports stateful inspection, Web content filtering and parental controls, and adaptive security policy settings. The Pico even includes a patent pending multi-layer security agent, a so-called Layer 8 security engine (provides application security atop the 7-layer ISO model), as well as transparent e-mail and Web proxies for POP3, SMTP, HTTP, and FTP.

As a plug-in device with its own CPU, memory, and independent processing capability, the Pico not only helps to boost security, it also offloads security processing, inspection, filtering, and screening functions from the host PC, thereby improving performance and capability. Yoggie calls the Pico’s auto-update capabilities "plug and forget" functionality, in that users need not attend to updates themselves: the device checks for updates each time it accesses the Internet, and manages update and maintenance on its own recognizance. The Pico’s USB attachment means it works with equal facility to protect wireless and wired network connections (and can even handle multiple network interfaces for those PCs that use them). It currently works with Windows XP and Windows Vista, with Mac OS and Linux drivers in the works.

Under the hood, the PICO reads its operating system from read-only flash memory onto a read/write flash device to keep its inner workings in a pristine state. Updates are stored in the read/write flash and applied during each boot-up, which apparently supports some kind of fast boot-up format to load itself and all 13 apps in under 40 seconds. Once the Pico is operational, it contacts Yoggie servers to check for software, security policy, and rule set updates, which are automatically applied (and checked at five minute intervals while the device remains active). A Web interface lets users tune and tweak the Pico to their heart’s content, if they’re technically minded.

The Yoggie comes in two versions, the Personal version lists for $180 and includes a full-suite of security applications; an enterprise Pro version that adds VPN support and the ability to grab updates from a local firewall server rather than Yoggie’s own servers lists for $200 (we found discounts of up to $70 on the Personal model, and $60 on the Pro version online). Owners of either version must also pay $30 a year for a subscription update services to keep their Picos up-to-date. Visit the vendor’s Web site for more information.