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I'm looking for hardware-based security solutions for Windows home PCs. I'm thinking about something like an anti-virus program burned into an EPROM or a card. I understand that such a thing would be hard or impossible to update, but I'm interested in these hardware-based solutions because anything that is software based can be corrupted.

Do these things exist?

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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You could look at Yoggie's Gatekeeper products which offload responsibility for anti-virus, firewall etc. to a small USB or ExpressCard device.

I've never used them so can't comment on their effectiveness, but they would seem to offer pretty much what you are after.

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Sadly the company is now defunct. I have two of their Open Firewall USB keys around here. One is basically bricked, unless I figure out how to SSH into it ;) –  0xC0000022L Apr 13 '11 at 0:50
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Yes, put a NAT router in front of each computer. This acts like a firewall and protects it from the other computers in your home network. Remember to turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) in the router, unfortunately this is enabled by default in most routers.

Here is an explanation.

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There has been attempts to make hardware anti-virus but apparently it never took off.

By googling a little bit, I found the Xnet OS Protector and the Saming NetGuard and PCGuard but their descriptions look very dubious.

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They claim to do stuff that are barely possible, especially at the times these cards were created (mid-90, I think):

  • The most powerful feature is that the protected system files can be recovered even when the CMOS setting is corrupted.
  • Simple to install and use, no command, no programming, no script required.
  • Protected data does not occupy any useable Hard Disk space, that means no other storage media and devices are required.
  • Recovers corrupted OS, software and eliminates virus, spyware, hackers with well protected disk image. As an option, the CMOS (that is, BIOS) setting can be protected as well.
  • Recovery of 40GB data can be done in a minimum of 3 seconds but can take upto 8 seconds
  • Can protect up to 2000GB of hard disk data.

If that was really possible, we'd all know about it and they would plenty of such cards on the market.

I couldn't find either reviews of these cards by reputable websites. I think we can definitely say it's snake oil...

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I want one! I wonder if they'll post it with the Tartan paint I ordered? –  Joe Taylor Mar 9 '10 at 19:19
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