This week’s column in the Journal (subscription only, I’m afraid) is about something called the Yoggie:
This small computer is called the Yoggie Pico, launched May 29 by an Israeli company called Yoggie Security Systems. The idea is that you should protect your computer not by installing firewall, antispyware, antivirus and antispam software on it, but by installing all that stuff outside it. In other words, network traffic gets diverted and screened first by the Yoggie Pico, where it kills off all the bad stuff before passing the clean traffic onto your computer. The thinking, says Yoggie’s marketing director Avi Dardik, is that instead of your computer being the battlefield, “the war is being waged outside the laptop.”
The review is largely positive, although I did find what I believe were false alarms of weird activity — not too important since they don’t pop up and tell you. But since the review was finished I have noticed some weird behavior that Yoggie is now investigating, and which you may want to consider if you’re thinking of buying.
One is that my laptop started failing to reboot — it would stick on the startup screen and stay there until I removed the battery and let the memory drain. I am not certain the Yoggie was to blame, but it seems the likely culprit. The other thing I noticed is that the password-system is not perfect: I suspect that if you change a password (there are two — one for the console, one for the enabling) the software may not always remember it. Certainly if you upgrade the drivers the password will reset to the default one. Yoggie say they haven’t come across these quirks but have promised to investigate.
Other quibbles I didn’t have time to mention: The Yoggie can get warm. And at least on one occasion dangerously hot. I would not want to use it with kids around — ironically one group of people the product is targeting, with its parental filters. Yoggie said they are aware of this, as they are of the fact that Yoggie does not communicate with Windows’ own security controls; so expect Windows to keep telling you you don’t have protection even when Yoggie is running.
All that aside, I still think Yoggie is a great product. I think the idea of outsourcing security to a device sitting outside the computer is a natural one, and will, as Yoggie claim, create a new category of security device for ordinary users. Yes, it’s absurd that this kind of thing has to be farmed out, but it makes a lot of sense.