Ericsson Offers Kill Switch For Notebooks

The anti-theft technology makes it possible to disable a laptop by sending a message via SMS, a form of text messaging on mobile phones.

Ericsson's Anti-Theft Module For Notebooks

Ericsson's Anti-Theft Module For Notebooks
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Ericsson on Thursday introduced an anti-theft module that taps Intel's on-chip technology for disabling lost and stolen commercial laptops.

In addition, the Mobile Broadband Module includes a global positioning system for locating the laptop, which would have to be connected to a cellular network that supports high-speed packet access, a collection of mobile telephony protocols currently found in 76 countries, including the United States.

The module takes advantage of Intel's anti-theft technology within the chipmaker's Centrino 2 mobile platform. The combined technology makes it possible to disable a laptop by sending a message via short message service, or SMS, which is a form of text messaging on mobile phones. Once the signal is received, the Intel hardware renders the laptop useless by blocking the boot process. The Ericsson technology can also send location data to a central server.

The new product is Ericsson's latest effort to encourage more businesses to use cellular networks for mobile broadband. "We are committed to work with industry leaders to shape a complete, end-to-end solution to drive increased mobile broadband adoption," Mats Norin, VP and head of Mobile Broadband Modules at Ericsson, said in a statement.

Through the use of security software provided by other vendors, Intel's hardware-based technology can be programmed to disable a laptop following activities that indicate unauthorized access attempts, such as repeated login failures. In addition, third-party encryption hardware or software can leverage the technology to delete cryptographic keys or other essential code of decrypting encrypted data.

Ericsson plans to make its security modules available in business laptops in the second half of next year.

Ericsson is not the first vendor to take advantage of Intel's security hardware. Lenovo this month introduced a business notebook that provides a similar anti-theft mechanism using the chipmaker's technology and software from Absolute Software. The Lenovo laptop, however, doesn't offer a GPS service.