If a laptop is lost, now there's a new way to remotely shut it down: just text it.
Lenovo plans to announce on Tuesday its Constant Secure Remote Disable service, which allows users to remotely disable a PC by sending a text message. Users also receive a confirmation text message that confirms that the PC has been disabled.
"You steal my PC and ... if I can deliver a signal to that PC that turns it off, hey, I'm good now," said Stacy Cannady, product manager of security at Lenovo.
A user can send a text message -- also called a kill command -- from a specified cell phone number to kill a PC. Each ThinkPad can be paired with up to 10 cell phones, and the service works over wireless networks that support the SMS (Short Messaging Service) standard.
A lost or stolen laptop must have a working cellular data card and a paid data plan with a carrier for the remote disable service to work, Cannady said.
The system targets consumers who are worried about their laptops getting stolen. For business users, it helps companies enforce compliance policies, since users get receipts back ensuring that their laptops are safe.
To reactivate a disabled PC, a user needs to enter a preset passcode after the laptop is restarted, Cannady said. The laptop software works with the carrier-based software to disable the computer.
The software will be available free from Lenovo's Web site. It will also be available on certain ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband starting in the first half of 2009.
Lenovo worked with Phoenix Technologies to develop the service.
Hummmm ........That is good news.
So, a hacker can send a kill signal...
To any Lenovo computer and render it inoperable?
Begs a question, now doesn't it?
There's a difference between rendering the laptop inoperable and wiping the drive, though. It's one thing to kill the laptop, but if the thief can crack the case and still get data off the hard drive then what good is the kill feature?
And a DBAN wipe takes hours to run on even a small hard drive.
I can't believe that this kill features wipes the drive to the degree you'd need to in order to sleep well at night just because you got a confirmation that the kill command had worked.
Ok... Let's go in find more good news with bad news.