Saturday, March 24, 2007

Yoggie: Silly Name, Serious Protection

If you're the family IT guy, I recommend you install a Yoggie Gatekeeper. This credit-card-sized gizmo (designed for mobile protection of road warrior laptops) can be inserted between your router and LAN switch to protect all downstream PCs in your home from just about any kind of attack. You don't have to install security software at each PC, and you can set the security settings for each PC centrally, so your 7-year old can't bypass the filters (don't get me started). By vesting the security functions in a separate processor the way that enterprises do, your network is much safer from exploits (in fact Yoggie won the Innovation Station competition at RSA this year). But more importantly, the out-of-box experience is iPod-like, and the whole installation takes less than 5 minutes unless you gawk for too long.

This is not a plug for a Bessemer portfolio company, but I do happen to know the CEO Shlomo Touboul, because he founded Finjan. In fact, years after Shlomo first left Finjan, I recruited him back as CEO. (Contrary to what some bloggers tell you, not all VC's want to get rid of the founders.)

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  1. I find it hard to imagine such a small device can be adaptive enough to cope with long-term evolving threats. Profile updating is an essential part of security solutions because, like spam, deviousness is constantly changing.

    But then, I haven't had an attack or problem on my home network in years...crossing fingers.

  2. And yet it's true. The Yoggie regularly downloads new attack signatures, behavior signatures, URL filters, even entire modules.

  3. Very cool. Reminds me of an idea I had for an inline little box that would just be a firewall for a server. It would be set to Deny All except http for a web server, and Deny All except smtp for a mail server etc. I suggested my employer (Netrex) patent the idea. They passed. Just as well, the patent would be close to expired by now.

  4. Pretty neat little box. I can't quite figure out how it downloads updates, though, especially since it has a read-only memory system: From How It Works: "The device also includes two separate Flash memory units. One unit stores a secured copy of the Linux OS. During pre boot, Yoggie copies the OS onto the second unit, and uses it during runtime. The original copy of the OS, stored on the first unit, does not include any “Write Access” permissions. This double-step process, guarantees that in the event of a successful attack, upon rebooting the device a clean and safe version of the OS is uploaded, making the OS and security applications completely safe."