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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A PC on a USB stick

Could you fit a PC into a USB stick? Israeli startup Yoggie Security Systems has done that, creating a 500MHz Linux computer in your pocket.
The Yoggie Pico uses a 520MHz processor from Marvell (the former StrongArm PA processor line from Intel) and it runs the full Linux6.2 operating system.
This allows Yoggie to provide 13 security applications such as anti-virus, firewall and anti-phishing in a USB2.0 stick to protect notebook PCs. All the network traffic runs from the modem or wireless LAN through the stick controlled by a separate memory engine in the notebook, not the central processor.
“The bottleneck is always the network and not the PCI bus or the USB, and that’s why there is no degradation in performance,” said Shlomo Toubol, founder and chief executive of Yoggie. The signatures and rules are updated automatically by the stick every five minutes.
The operating system is kept secure in a protected 128Mbyte flash memory chip and loaded into another 128Mbyte flash to execute to prevent hacking. It runs with128Mbytes of DRAM memory.
Three of the applications have been bought in, including the anti-virus with regular virus signature updates, while the others have been developed in house or are open source, says Toubol.
The company is about to appoint distributors in the UK for both consumer and enterprise applications. For companies, the USB stick can also be used to prevent access to Websites and to prevent the PC being used without the stick, but there is password protection so the PC could be used in an emergency.
The potential however is for this to be a very compact portable PC that just needs to be plugged into a screen, keyboard and network connection, and Yoggie is looking at new applications.

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