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Lenovo Group plans to introduce a new feature to its ThinkPad lineup of notebooks that will allow to lock the personal computers if they are stolen or lost in order to protect sensitive information. The new feature is a yet another option of ThinkPad laptops that is likely to appeal to businesses or government organizations.

According to the 2008 CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey, 42% of computer attacks and incidents among U.S. organizations in both private and public sectors occurred as a result of notebook PC theft. Lenovo’s new Constant Secure Remote Disable enhances the security of a lost or stolen ThinkPad notebook PC by speeding up the time it takes to lock the PC, helping to prevent unauthorized access to the computer’s data.

To activate Remote Disable, users create a simple text message command such as “lockdown now PC” or “PC shut off” that can be used if a notebook PC is lost or stolen. A user sends the kill command to the ThinkPad notebook via cell phone to the PC’s onboard mobile broadband service and the computer becomes inoperable (PC must be located in cellular coverage area to utilize this feature). If the PC is turned off when a user sends a kill command, the PC will automatically disable the next time it registers on the network. Users also receive a confirmation text message that validates when the Remote Disable technology has been successfully executed. To reactivate the disabled PC, a user enters his or her pre-set passcode created during notebook startup.

Lenovo worked with Phoenix Technologies, a developer of BIOS, EFI and other embedded technologies, to develop the Remote Disable capability.

“Remote Disable dramatically reduces the anxiety and waiting people often experience when they’ve been the victim of a lost or stolen notebook PC. Through our work with Phoenix, we are able to reduce customers’ security risks and potential exposure of their confidential data when their ThinkPad notebook is lost or stolen. Combined with features like built-in biometric fingerprint readers, full hard drive encryption and embedded security chips, Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks offer the latest industry-leading PC security technologies,” said Bob Galush, vice president of software and peripherals marketing at Lenovo.

Obviously, the Remote Disable is not the absolutely perfect solution: it will not work if a PC is out of reach by cellular networks. Moreover, hard disk drives with sensitive data can still be removed from a PC and, if encrypted, potentially cracked. Nonetheless, the capability may still be valuable.

Lenovo’s Remote Disable feature will be available on select ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband starting in 1Q 2009. Remote Disable will be supported worldwide wherever cellular phone systems support GSM and SMS text message transmission.

Tags: Lenovo, ThinkPad

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