Lenovo adds 'Remote Kill' feature to ThinkPads

By on November 25, 2008, 6:00 PM
Stolen and misplaced laptops can leave companies susceptible to costly data breaches, even more so if a notebook goes missing while the operating system is fully loaded, but Lenovo believes it has come up with a solution for that problem. The company, in conjunction with Phoenix Technologies, will begin adding a feature to Lenovo notebooks that allows them to be “remotely killed” via a text message sent from a cell phone.

The new Constant Secure Remote Disable feature will come embedded within certain 3G-enabled ThinkPads’ BIOS and can be activated with a simple text message command such as “Turn off PC” from a specified cell phone number. The lockdown will happen immediately if the notebook is turned on or the next time the system signs on to a cellular network and from there the self-encrypting hard drive should take over to protect the computer’s data.

To reactivate the disabled PC, a user needs to enter a preset pass code after the notebook is restarted. The service will be available in the first quarter of 2009 on select ThinkPad notebooks at no additional charge and will be supported worldwide wherever cellular phone systems support text message transmission. If the computer is out of cellular range, though, you’re out of luck.

User Comments: 4

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captain828 said:
interesting feature, but what are you calling? doesn't the notebook require to have some sort of carrier? or how is it done?also, this might bring up other security concerns: hackers "remote killing" your LenovoIMO, this is a great feature, but they better implement it correctlybtw, I find having included some sort of GPS system in the notebook far more important and useful to this. I mean, ok someone stole your laptop, you brick it with an SMS, but... what about getting it back? he will eventuality crack it open and get your data offI really don't get why nobody has done this before (or am I wrong?)... a GPS can be very accurate at finding thieves... similar to the GPS locating system in a Mercedes, for eg. EDiT: GPS also has (mostly) worldwide coverage, whereas 3G doesn't
phantasm66 said:
whole drive encryption is a better solution in my opinion.if you loose the laptop, its lost, plain and simple. its the data getting into the wrong hands that's the real issue. remotely killing the laptop is not going to get you your data back.additionally, this is just asking to be hacked. how much fun to remotely kill people's laptops whilst they are still using them for a laugh?
ajarni said:
GPS itself cannot send any data by itself. That means it can only receive coordinate data from the GPS satelites and calculate your location. Sending the location data can than be accomplished only by using a communication carrier such as GSM, 3G, Wireless, Bluetooth, Inmarsat etc. The idea on disabling the laptop doesn't seem so wrong at all, you just pop the sim card of your favorite mobile provider, set a secret password. If the thieves get there hands on your device, just send an SMS to the number of the sim in the device.
captain828 said:
wrong, you don't need a carrier or a data plan... do you see this on a standalone GPS device?!my point was simple: someone stoles your laptop, you brick it with an SMS, call IBM/Lenovo tech support and tell them someone stole your laptop, they anounce the local authorities and bam! the thieves are caught (or at least you get your laptop back) with no possible data leakagain, I'm not sure how are they going to implement the whole SMS thing; it could be pretty useless if you'll need a SIM card as the thieves could just take the SIM out before you brick the thing
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