Lenovo ThinkPads to freeze when texted, deter thieves from getting the goods

Darren Murph
D. Murph|11.25.08

Sponsored Links

Lenovo ThinkPads to freeze when texted, deter thieves from getting the goods

We've seen some pretty sophisticated laptop security measures out here in the volatile civilian world, but Lenovo's taking things all top secret with its new Constant Secure Remote Disable feature. Slated to hit select ThinkPads in Q1 2009, the Phoenix Technologies, um, technology enables specially equipped notebooks to become utterly worthless if stolen -- so long as the owner remembers to text in the emergency code, that is. You see, with the Remote Disable function, proper owners can send an SMS to their missing WWAN-enabled machine in order to make it inoperable; the lappie then sends a message back to confirm that it's currently irritating the daylights out of a wannabe data thief. 'Course, said thief can track you down and implement all manners of torture to get you to reactivate it, but we suppose that's the risk you take with that sort of lifestyle. Full release after the break.

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

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – November 25, 2008: Lenovo today announced plans to bring customers a new security defense against unauthorized data access on Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks. The Lenovo Constant Secure Remote Disable feature lets users send a simple text message command via a cell phone to render their PC useless to unauthorized users when the notebook is lost or stolen. Lenovo worked with Phoenix Technologies (Nasdaq: PTEC), a leader in embedded technologies that improve the user experience, to develop this capability. Lenovo's Remote Disable feature will be available on select ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband1 starting in 1Q 2009.

According to the 2008 CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey2, 42 percent 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 Remote Disable dramatically 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 PC now" 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 inoperable3. If the PC is turned off when a user sends a kill command, the PC will automatically disable the next time someone turns it on. 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.

"Remote Disable dramatically reduces the anxiety and waiting people often experience when they've been the victim of a lost or stolen notebook PC," said Bob Galush, vice president, Software and Peripherals Marketing, Lenovo." 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."

Pricing and Availability

Lenovo's Remote Disable is included in the price of the notebook at no additional charge. It will be available 1Q 2009 on select ThinkPad notebooks that are enabled for mobile broadband1. Remote Disable will be supported worldwide wherever cellular phone systems support GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) SMS (Short Message Service) text message transmission.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.