Remote Kill Switch Added to New Intel Processor

By Ed Silverstein December 16, 2010

A remote switch can disable the Intel Sandy Bridge processor if it is ever lost or stolen, according to a recent report from Infowars.

Even when the operating system is not running, Anti-Theft 3.0 can disable systems over 3G networks. Systems can be disabled even if the hard drive is replaced. It can work even without Internet access.

This means missing laptops can be disabled remotely by the owner or an IT department to make sure any classified data on the computer does not fall into the wrong hands. The PC basically becomes inoperable by the AT system blocking the boot process, according to Intel.

Intel anti-theft technology is built into many Core and Core vPro processors. It protects data and can give quick “reinstatement” of the laptop computer, if it is recovered. Information is not damaged.

Laptop theft is a huge problem for U.S. businesses. Intel points out that laptop theft costs $5.4 billion each year for U.S, businesses. This equals some 12,000 laptops disappearing every week from U.S. airports and a laptop being stolen every 53 seconds, Intel says on its website.

As employees are increasingly mobile and work more from remote locations, there are increased risks for data security. Confidentiality of data becomes even more serious given such recent trends as toughened healthcare privacy laws.

Intel Anti-Theft technology is built into the laptop’s processor. It is activated when the computer is turned on before startup occurs. It is hardware-resistant, so it cannot be tampered with, Intel says. Intel Anti Theft may need to be activated after getting a subscription from a service.

However, while the product sounds great, Infowars remains concerned users are surrendering their control over computers and giving it to someone else.

“With the Patriot Act in place and legislation like the ‘kill switch’ bill, many of the rights we took for granted are threatened,” Infowars says. “It is well within reason to fear this type of technology as it could be used as a means of control and censorship.”

In related news, TechZone360 reported recently that Nokia phones will have the F-Secure Anti-Theft application pre-installed. The app is part of the F-Secure Mobile Security 6 product. It is available for Windows Mobile and Android platforms, says TechZone360.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

TechZone360 Contributor

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