Anti-theft solution bolsters mobile computing security

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Anti-theft solution bolsters mobile computing security

Joe O'Halloran

In a bid to offer an IT security solution for mobile computing professionals, Ericsson is collaborating with Intel to ensure that its mobile broadband modules are interoperable with the chip giant’s Anti-Theft PC Protection Technology for notebooks.

The two companies are joining forces with the ultimate aim of taking the profit out of stealing laptops whilst protecting sensitive and important information. This threat has continued to grow with the increased popularity of mobile computing as devices become more affordable and mobile broadband packages become more competitive.

Ericsson and Intel recognise that theft or loss of notebooks can have enormous financial consequences for enterprise users, especially when sensitive data on the notebook is lost or obtained by unauthorised persons.

Thus the two firms have constructed a theft management service residing in the network can send a message via SMS to the mobile broadband module inside the mobile computing device. This will transfer securely the message to Intel's Anti-Theft function inside the processor platform, which takes appropriate actions, such as completely locking the computer by blocking the boot process, making it unusable.

When the notebook is located and recovered, an unlock message can be sent to the notebook that makes the data accessible again. When working in conjunction with third-party encryption hardware or software, the solution can also can protect data by deleting cryptographic keys or similar essential code for decryption.

The anti-theft mechanism also builds on Ericsson's Mobile Broadband Modules which are tightly integrated in and optimised for notebooks. It can also be programmed to respond to repeated login failures and expiration of a timer that requires regularly scheduled connection to a central server.  GPS-based location functionality technology can be utilised to determine a theft situation when the notebook is moved outside a pre-defined area.

Commented Mats Norin, Vice President and head of Mobile Broadband Modules at Ericsson, "[Our vision is to offer] enterprise users a secure mobile broadband experience for their notebooks. We are committed to work with industry leaders to shape a complete, end-to-end solution to drive increased mobile broadband adoption."

"We have entered a new era for security for the on-the-go businessperson in which losing a notebook or having it stolen can have disastrous implications," added George Thangadurai, director of Intel's Strategy and Platform Planning Group, and general manager of the company's Anti-Theft Program. "[Technolgy should take] notebook security to a new level, making notebook theft for profit an exercise in futility and with third-party software help secure data."

The solution will be available in commercial data protection products starting second half of 2009.

 

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