Yoggie Firestick Pico

  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Easy to use and manage
  • Frees up system resources
  • More effective than a software solution

Cons

  • Entry-level features

Notebooks don’t generally enjoy the same protection levels as systems residing behind the company firewall, where computers are shielded from outside threats by hardware-based security complete with the latest updates and security policies. As soon as a notebook leaves the network, it's a security risk, the level of which depends on whether the mobile user downloads the latest updates and security policies. As a result, infected notebooks could infiltrate security threats into the network on their return from the field.

Traditionally, mobile firewall protection involves some type of software solution, but a dedicated hardware firewall can save software management headaches and CPU cycles. The problem revolves around the size of the hardware solution — few of the current offerings are designed for life on the road.

Yoggie’s Firestick Pico offers firewall protection on-the-go — but in a compact USB stick form factor. In fact, it’s a Linux appliance driven by a 312MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor. It also sports a dual flash memory mechanism that creates an 'untouchable' operating system: the OS is stored in ROM and copied to flash memory when it's installed, meaning that no permanent damage can be done to the device.

The Firestick Pico is a £50 Linux-based hardware firewall appliance on a USB stick, designed to protect notebooks when they're outside the company network.

The Firestick Pico places a physical barrier between your computer and the internet, helping to ensure that threats never reach your system. It will protect your computer from denial of service (DoS/DDos) attacks, buffer overflows and a broad range of malicious attacks. In addition, each Firestick Pico comes with a complimentary version of Kaspersky’s Personal Security Suite.

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Yoggie’s similar Pico and Pico Pro products offload all security applications from the system, but the Firestick Pico is an entry-level product that offloads just the firewall functionality. To this end, hardware and software functionality is cut down to the minimum. For instance, the Firestick Pico is powered by a 312MHz processor compared to a 520MHz part on Yoggie’s other products. It also includes 32MB of SDRAM and 32MB of NAND Flash compared to 128MB on the more advanced products, and has 4MB NOR Flash rather than 8MB. It terms of core features it lacks IDS, IPS, antivirus, anti-spam and anti-spyware protection. You can also forget about content filtering, a VPN client, remote centralised management, adaptive security policy and a multi-layer security agent — options found on most of Yoggie’s other Pico products.

Operating the Firestick Pico is simple. What's so great about the device is that little management is needed. Before any data is accepted for processing by your notebook's operating system, a low-level driver redirects it to Firestick Pico, where a full security check is performed. Security breach attempts are identified and thwarted, and only secure data is passed back to your notebook. In other words, security management is all done transparently, leaving you to get on with your work.

Security updates are even silently downloaded from the manufacturer. For those who like to get their hands dirty, a web-based management console provides status information, security logs and reports (nice graphics included), and is also used to configure settings. A couple of LEDs on the unit itself provide visual feedback when a security event occurs and when updates are being downloaded, as well as when the device is powered and operating.

The Firestick Pico comes with a web-based management console that provides status information, security logs and reports.

Yoggie’s Firestick Pico is an entry-level hardware solution that's an excellent replacement for a software-based firewall. With the Firestick Pico, mobile professionals can connect to any unsecured hotspot, secure in the knowledge that they're relatively well protected. Having said that, its features aren’t as comprehensive as Yoggie’s other USB devices.

 

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