Intel Releases Core vPro Processors

Laptops with the second-generation Core i3, i5, and i7 business chips can be disabled remotely using text messages in the event of theft.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

March 7, 2011

3 Min Read

Intel has released its second-generation Core vPro processors, which include the ability to disable a lost or stolen laptop by sending an encrypted text message.

Intel unveiled the latest chips Monday, saying the new products will be used in business laptops, convertible tablets, desktops, and all-in-one PCs that will be available soon from computer makers, including Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo. Intel's vPro technology, which has been around for about five years, provides PC security and management capabilities for business IT departments.

"Providing the right combination of technologies at the right time, the new Intel Core vPro processor family continues Intel's advancement in performance, security, and management," Rich Echevarria, VP of the Intel Architecture Group, said in a statement.

The latest version of the platform, which is available with Intel's new Core i3, i5, and i7 business chips, includes the third generation of the company's Anti-Theft Technology. Previous versions made it possible for IT staff to send a coded "poison pill" over the Internet to disable a laptop to prevent theft of corporate data. The latest version makes it possible to send an encrypted authenticated text message via SMS, or short message service, over a 3G cellular network to disable the PC. If the system is recovered, it can be reactivated using another message.

A survey of 329 organizations, conducted last year by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Intel, found that businesses lost more than 86,000 laptops over the course of a year. A 2009 Ponemon survey put the average cost of lost laptop data at $49,246, which means the price tag for losing so many laptops is $2.1 billion, or $6.4 million per organization.

Other security features include requiring an encryption login when a PC is awakened from a standby state. The procedure is more secure than the usual username and password, Intel says.

The vPro platform also includes Intel's Identity Protection Technology, which makes it possible for a security firm to embed in the chipset a credential that supporting Web sites would used to identify visiting PC users. The purpose of the technology is to prevent a hacker from entering a Web site without a laptop with the IPT. Companies offering products that take advantage of the new technology include Symantec and VASCO.

New management features include "host-based configuration," which automates the process of setting up vPro functions on new PCs, Intel says. As a result, IT staff can configure large numbers of computers simultaneously.

The platform's keyboard-video-mouse remote control enables a technician in another location to see the screen of a user's PC in higher resolutions in order to accommodate HD video and screen sizes. In the past, technicians would only see the screen in low resolution, which makes it more difficult to diagnose the problem, if the PC is used in computer-aided design or professional video editing.

Intel also announced that it was bringing its vPro platform to the upcoming Xeon server processor E3-1200 product family, which is found in entry-level workstations.

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