Friday, April 13, 2012

Intel to offer anti-theft service in Singapore

Are modern laptops, especially slim and lightweight Ultrabooks, more tempting to thieves?
Intel believes so. The chip giant is introducing a new anti-theft service that takes advantage of hardware features on its mobile processors to protect laptops. Known as Intel Anti-Theft technology, it works by sending a lock down signal to the stray laptop, rendering it unusable. Users can also set a hardware timer to trigger a lockdown if the notebook doesn't report to a server after a certain amount of time. If you do recover the laptop, you can only unlock it by through the Web portal, along with entering the correct pass phrase on the machine.

This signal can be sent after logging into Intel's Anti-Theft Service Web portal, or by calling the service hotline. Also bundled with the service is a secure data vault feature--this creates a data partition on your hard drive that cannot be accessed unless you are logged into the service. Data copied to this vault will be automatically encrypted.
Only laptops with selected Core-i (Sandy Bridge) processors support this technology--you can find a list of compatible notebooks here--but the capability will be present on all upcoming Ivy Bridge mobile processors (do note that it doesn't work on existing Apple computers). However, you will have to activate the service with a purchased key and register the laptop on the Web portal before you can enjoy the protection.
Judging from the demo, this technology is solely focused on preventing unauthorized users from accessing the data on the laptop. Unlike other anti-theft services, such as the open-source Prey, it cannot help users locate and recover the notebook. Instead, the best it can do is to display a custom, user-defined message onscreen and hope that a good Samaritan will return the laptop.

While it's probably true that those who would sign up for such a service, consider securing the data to be more important than the loss of a laptop, having a tracking feature would have been a bonus. However, Intel's hardware-based technology does have an advantage over software versions--it cannot be bypassed by swapping the hard drive or replacing the operating system. Even flashing the BIOS will not work.

Intel did tell us that while it is possible to add features such as location-based tracking, it is leaving such additional features to laptop vendors and other service providers. So in the future, in addition to bundling free antivirus subscriptions on your brand-new laptop, you may even get an anti-theft service plan.

Ingram Micro is working with Intel to provide the service in Singapore as an option for consumers who are purchasing laptops that support the technology. The retail package, which consists of the activation key, user guide and the Anti-Theft decal, is available at Challenger stores now. Intel says that more resellers will be offering the service later this year, but unfortunately there are no plans to sell the activation keys online.

Intel's Anti-Theft service costs S$39 (US$31) for a one-year period; S$79 (US$63) will buy you three years of protection.

View the original article here

Source From CNET

No comments:

Post a Comment