Security on your PC... exciting? Perhaps not. But very necessary and often resulting in poor performance from a clogged-up system and a lot of pop-up confirmation windows, some of which can be fairly perplexing.
Yoggie claim to have solved all that with the Pico, and I have to admit I was impressed by what I was shown. The Pico is the size of an average USB key, with a glossy black finish. Unassuming and inconspicuous, it nonetheless houses the full operating power of a Linux PC. This acts as the go-between filter for your PC, a plug and play USB key that banishes active user involvement, visible updates and popups.
The result is a security system that requires virtually nothing from you bar plugging it in. Given that most of us aren't over excited at playing network admin for a simple home PC or laptop, that's got to be a good thing. If you want to personalise you can, with an intuitive browser-based UI that offers the common, simple options and more advanced configuration. If you don't, the Pico silently hijacks your internet connection and forces all content to go through it. It contains a bundle of security software from spam filters to web and mail proxies. It also contains two Flash drives, one of which contains an original copy of the contents which is copied over every time you plug in the Pico, so it can't get corrupted - you're using a fresh copy of the software every time.
There are both consumer and professional versions - so is the consumer getting a relatively poor range of protection? Nope. The Pico PRO has only two differences - the addition of VPN and a VPN client and central management for the network administrator (and a slight price hike).
At $179 USD (with a $30 yearly subscription after the end of the first year), the Pico is slightly more expensive than equivalent software. But given that few software bundles are this comprehensive and mean clogging up your hardware with the initial install and swathes of updates, I think that's fair. There's also the additional bonus for parents that when you remove the Pico, you're no longer connected to the Internet, so if you want to ensure that your x-hours-a-day rule is actually applied, this is handy.
Designed for Windows XP and the terminally pop-up happy Vista, there are Mac and Linux drivers in the pipeline for those who aren't convinced that they're going to remain relatively malware-free options forever. Existing solutions for Mac from Yoggie can be found by checking out their Gatekeeper system.
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