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Summary:

You’ve just found yourself starring in your own personal horror story.  Your laptop has been stolen while you are in the middle of a business trip and all you can think about is the sensitive data that is now in the hands of a not very […]

ThinkpadYou’ve just found yourself starring in your own personal horror story.  Your laptop has been stolen while you are in the middle of a business trip and all you can think about is the sensitive data that is now in the hands of a not very nice person.  What’s a responsible person to do?  Then you remember your laptop is a ThinkPad and you breathe a sigh of relief, pull out your cell phone and send your stolen ThinkPad a text message which forces it to become unusable.  All is saved due to Lenovo’s Remote Disable technology that uses firmware made by Phoenix to lock down a computer remotely via text message.  Now that’s peace of mind.  Press release after the jump.

(via engadget)

"Lockdown PC Now." Lenovo Locks Out Thieves from ThinkPad Notebook PCs

RESEARCHTRIANGLE PARK, NC – November 25, 2008: Lenovo today announced plans tobring customers a new security defense against unauthorized data accesson Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks. The Lenovo Constant Secure Remote Disablefeature lets users send a simple text message command via a cell phoneto render their PC useless to unauthorized users when the notebook islost or stolen. Lenovo worked with Phoenix Technologies (Nasdaq: PTEC),a leader in embedded technologies that improve the user experience, todevelop this capability. Lenovo’s Remote Disable feature will beavailable on select ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband1starting in 1Q 2009.

According to the 2008 CSI Computer Crimeand Security Survey2, 42 percent of computer attacks and incidentsamong U.S. organizations in both private and public sectors occurred asa result of notebook PC theft. Lenovo’s new Remote Disable dramaticallyenhances the security of a lost or stolen ThinkPad notebook PC byspeeding up the time it takes to lock the PC, helping to preventunauthorized access to the computer’s data.

To activate RemoteDisable, users create a simple text message command such as "lockdownPC now" or "PC shut off" that can be used if a notebook PC is lost orstolen. A user sends the kill command to the ThinkPad notebook via cellphone to the PC’s onboard mobile broadband service and the computerbecomes inoperable3. If the PC is turned off when a user sends a killcommand, the PC will automatically disable the next time someone turnsit on. Users also receive a confirmation text message that validateswhen the Remote Disable technology has been successfully executed. Toreactivate the disabled PC, a user enters his or her pre-set passcodecreated during notebook startup.

"Remote Disable dramaticallyreduces the anxiety and waiting people often experience when they’vebeen the victim of a lost or stolen notebook PC," said Bob Galush, vicepresident, Software and Peripherals Marketing, Lenovo." Through ourwork with Phoenix, we are able to reduce customers’ security risks andpotential exposure of their confidential data when their ThinkPadnotebook is lost or stolen. Combined with features like built-inbiometric fingerprint readers, full hard drive encryption and embeddedsecurity chips, Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks offer the latestindustry-leading PC security technologies."

Pricing and Availability

Lenovo’sRemote Disable is included in the price of the notebook at noadditional charge. It will be available 1Q 2009 on select ThinkPadnotebooks that are enabled for mobile broadband1. Remote Disable willbe supported worldwide wherever cellular phone systems support GSM(Global System for Mobile communications) SMS (Short Message Service)text message transmission.

  1. It’s an interesting sounding gimmick, but I think I would feel more comfortable with whole disk encryption plus two factor authentication.

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  2. Hopefully it’s not just a standard phrase in the text message. Otherwise it would be fairly easy for me to sms someone’s computer with “Lock Down” and make their day very difficult. I also hope it’s an easily reversible process, but not too easy to undo :)

    I agree with Rick full disk encryption is the way to go.

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  3. I found out a few days ago that my Nokia E90 has a similar feature. If I misplace it or some scumbag steals it, I send it a text message and it will lock up the phone. Only problem is: will I remember my password if it ever happens to me?! Actualy, what is the password?

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