Computer Accessories

Yoggie Pico: Security on a stick

This is NOT a USB key! It's a tiny PC that can keep your main computer free from viruses, worms, spyware identity and data theft, phishing, spam, IP spoofing and DoS attacks

Come back, come back, this is NOT a USB key! It's a tiny PC -- seriously -- that can keep your main computer free from viruses, worms, spyware identity and data theft, phishing, spam, IP spoofing and DoS attacks.

The Pico is essentially a USB firewall that intercepts all Web traffic before it's processed by your PC. Its onboard antivirus software scans this traffic, cleans it if necessary, then returns the data to your PC for use as normal. All this is done in the background, so you don't have to put up with intrusive pop-ups asking you to make security decisions.

Inside the Pico is an Intel PXA270 processor, which runs at 520MHz. It also has 128MB of SD RAM and 128MB of flash memory for storage purposes. It runs a stripped-down version of the Linux operating system, has anti-virus and anti-spyware from Kasperski Labs, and Web filtering and parental controls by SurfControl.

To stop the Pico itself becoming infected, the operating system is contained on two Flash memory units. Flash A contains the operating system. When the device is booted, a clean copy of the operating system is transferred to Flash B, and access to Flash A is disabled. The security apps then run on Flash B, which is wiped when the device is turned off.

All this enables the Pico to provide a very similar level of security as the corporate network you use at the work. The tech folks here at Crave aren't stupid enough to rely on software alone to protect us from malware, and now you don't have to either.

Yoggie reckons the Pico won't slow down your PC, despite it running over a USB 2.0 connection. It actually says it will make your PC faster than if you used traditional anti-virus software -- which can hog CPU resources and become fat and bloated after several months of downloading virus updates.

We've only been using it for a short while now, and despite our best efforts, we're yet to be infected. The system inspires a lot of confidence to surf the Web with reckless abandon -- there aren't any Web sites we consider out of bounds now we have the Pico. Even Pocket-lint.

The Yoggie Pico is available now for £106, with licensing from the second year of service at £21. Get one. -Rory Reid