The anti-virus component is handled by AntiVir from German company Avira. Contrary to the product manual, we were advised that scanning is carried out locally on the appliance only for the POP3 protocol so only inbound emails will be checked. Any infected attachments will be removed and an advisory email sent to both the sender and recipient. Signature updates are handled automatically back at Eli’s HQ with a minimum of four updates per day being applied. Worry not about virus outbreaks as Eli reckons it can have a signature update from Avira out to your box within the hour. Anti-spam comes courtesy of Mail-Filters.com and is also implemented locally with updates being automatically applied. At present the appliance will only add a tag to the mail subject line so you’ll need to set up rules in your email client that determine how these messages are handled.
Phishing messages will initially be dealt with by the anti-spam component. However, if one does get through and is inadvertently opened the web content filtering will block access to the phishing site. Spyware also gets a tough time as attempts to modify your browser settings or send personal information to sites known to associate with this activity will be blocked.
There’s plenty to play with in the SPI firewall as different types of outbound traffic such as email, FTP and online games can be blocked or allowed with a single mouse click. You can also set up custom policies for specific services by entering a port range and service type. Web content filtering is handled by Blue Coat’s Cerberian hosted service and is particularly good as you have 55 categories to choose from. All web site requests are sent to a remote database to see if the requested URL is listed and if so it will be blocked.
Only VPN pass-through is currently supported, but Eli is working on a feature called ‘VPN-on-the-fly’ for which it has applied for a patent. IPsec VPNs are notoriously complex and this feature aims to allow secure tunnels between Eli appliances to be set up in a matter of minutes without any prior knowledge. Eli also advised us it is working on a VPN client for mobile workers that will have the same philosophy.
The Eli solution is the first of its kind that’s available to home users and it sets a mighty high standard in the process. If you want all your security services in one box and don’t want to worry about updates and general configuration then this is to be recommended as it all comes at an affordable price