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Yoggie Gatekeeper Pro: Hardware security at its best

By Steve Ragan Apr 16, 2007, 14:07 GMT

Over the weekend, Monsters and Critics was given the unique chance to look at what is bound to be a major tool in combating cyber criminals. The tool is hardware based; there is no software to load and only a few simple settings to configure if you wanted too. It is about the size of a credit card and it is powered over USB or an optional power adaptor.

Yoggie Gatekeeper Pro is a Linux based, external security device, which is designed to protect mobile computers and workers from attack when outside the office. According to a press release, the Gatekeeper Pro is a “miniature and robust computer that uses a fully hardened and secure embedded OS with the sole purpose of protecting all operating systems. Connectable via USB, this laptop security solution offers 13 layers of protection and eliminates the need for multiple security applications on an OS that may conflict with each other and reduce computer performance.”

The separation between hardware and software based security is important. Often software based security solutions will fall under attack by many of the malicious exploits in the wild. The attacks differ, attempting to circumvent the software protection, or disable it altogether. Hardware forms of protection are immune for that level of attack, because there is no software to get around or disable. Most corporate environments use hardware over software for the bulk of their security because of this reason.  The problem is that once the mobile workers and their computers leave the safety of the corporate network, they are open to potential attack.

The solution offered by Yoggie Security Systems extends the hardware-based security, by offering it to corporate users in a small and robust package.  Monsters and Critics spoke to David Matthews over the weekend and through him, to some of the people involved with Gatekeeper in their corporate headquarters in Israel.

One of the first questions asked was related to the trend for better hardware based protection for mobile computers. We all know about the Seagate encrypted drives, and other token based protections, but how will Gatekeeper stand out in a Medium level or global based Enterprise IT department.

“Very well indeed! The fact that the Yoggie is a NEW concept by which we protect the laptop from OUTSIDE, through the use of dedicated security hardware, is the key to its advantage. As soon as employees leave the parameter of the organization, they are left with nothing to protect them except for the installed software on their laptops. This is the first time that users leaving the corporate office still have that hardware-based corporate level security they enjoy when inside the corporate office. So users get the absolute best in security and the IT department can easily and remotely mange and control the security.”

The level of protection offered, thirteen layers to be exact, mirrors what you would expect to see when you enter a server room at your company. Yoggie explains it as a two-layer defense. The first is the hardware and software integrated setup that includes URL filtering, Anti-Spam and Phishing protection, Malicious content filtering, Spyware and Virus protections, IPS and IDS (Intrusion Prevention and Intrusion Detection systems) as well as VPN, and Firewall. There is the second layer that is located on the mobile computer, mostly software based these are almost the same as the combination protection in layer one. They include Virus protection (Symantec for most companies) as well as a Personal Firewall.

Gatekeeper combines them both. Including some features not listed. There is the L-8 Security Engine, and MLA Security agent, both developed by Yoggie for the Gatekeeper. Virus, Spam, Phishing, Spyware, and URL filtering cover the standards needed for Malware protection. There is HTTP, FTP, POP3, and SMTP proxy, IPS, and IDS protection. Finally, you have Firewall, VPN, and NAT abilities.

According to Yoggie Security Systems, the initial testing was a huge success, “During Yoggie Gatekeeper Pro beta testing we experienced overwhelming demand from prospects around the world seeking robust security solutions for their mobile workforces. We had 60 beta sites testing the product from airports and hotel rooms to coffee shops and home environments. During this period the Yoggie Gatekeeper Pro stopped: 125,077 security threats; 16,827 attempts to break its firewall rules; 100,898 intrusion attempts; and thousands of Viruses and Spyware attacks including hundreds of new attacks not listed in current Anti-Virus signatures. These attacks were rejected by the Yoggie Gatekeeper Pro before they reached the Windows operating system, so providing the highest possible security.”

The full interview as well as a detailed report on the Gatekeeper will appear as a feature later this week. Recently the Gatekeeper won the RSA 2007 “Most Innovative Company” award. This little box is one of the hidden gems for the IT security world, but with recent attention at RSA, and a growing corporate base, it is bound to become one of the mainstream components in any administrator’s toolkit.

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