Yellow Tuna un-cans DSL security device

A pair of ex-Xtra staffers have created a combined router-firewall for users of Telecom's DSL-based fast internet services, saying people usually defend themselves against viruses but often leave their internet connection open to attack.

A pair of ex-Xtra staffers have created a combined router-firewall for users of Telecom's DSL-based fast internet services, saying people usually defend themselves against viruses but often leave their internet connection open to attack.

Yellow Tuna Networks' Simon Gamble and Chris Massam developed the Linux-based device for people connecting through the internet using ADSL services such as JetStream, but say versions for other types of internet connection will follow. A prototype device has been made and trials involving 40 such products will begin within a few weeks.

Gamble says while firms often employ antivirus products, they tend to leave their internet connection vulnerable to intruders.

“In reality, most hacking attempts are people just wanting to wreck stuff rather than obtain information. Our product is designed to give them a high level of protection,” he says.

The solid-state chip-based device, which has no moving parts and uses a customised version of Linux, can be managed remotely by Yellow Tuna and has the option of having a proxy server, says Gamble.

“A firewall protects from external attacks. The proxy server protects from entry-point viruses, web-based viruses like Javascript viruses. Most people neglect things downloaded from web pages. If staff are forced to go through a proxy server line, the proxy server can prescan the traffic,” he says.

“We [previously] would put in a Linux-based firewall and there was a wasted network sitting between the router and firewall. We wanted to consolidate them," he says.

Companies can now also run services behind the ADSL link, such as a secure VPN network, he says. Linux was used in the product because it gives the same reliability and high security as other operating systems, while ensuring low software costs and the ability to be managed remotely, says Gamble.

Yellow Tuna has been working on the product for six months, helped by a $17,538 Enterprise Award from the Ministry of Economic Development.

The company claims interest in the product from companies in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

Gamble also expects success in New Zealand, saying people aren’t too fussed about the technologies behind a product, just the price and whether it works.

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