GottaBeSecure: Remote Destruct for Your PC

GBS As an information security engineer, I tend to spend a lot of time planning how to prevent bad things from happening to computers and information. In the real world, however, bad things happen all the time and we have to deal with it. One of the bad things that can happen is to your laptop, tablet PC, or UMPC is theft or loss due to negligence. In either situation, all your sensitive data is potentially at risk (this is the kind of scenario we’re hearing more and more about in the news). Wouldn’t it be great to have some kind of built-in “failsafe” mechanism to protect your data if you knew it had fallen into the wrong hands? self-destruct

Enter the OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian by Alcatel-Lucent. It has the ability to “remotely secure, monitor, manage, and locate mobile computers.” When they say “secure,” they mean it. If your laptop, tablet PC, or UMPC is reported lost or stolen, the Laptop Guardian can automatically destroy all data held on the device–even if the computer is turned off. How is this possible? The Laptop Guardian relies on a “secure, always on” computing system within a 3G broadband data card. This data card, which includes a completely separate secure operating system and battery, operates over either 3G cellular networks or WiFi networks. Of course, destroying all your data remotely isn’t quite so attractive if it means you’re going to lose the one and only copy of your files…you have been backing-up your mobile device, right? 

In addition to the remote destruct feature, Alcatel-imageLucent is also touting the Laptop Guardian’s ability to update your computer’s software with security patches, enforce organizational security policies, and access corporate network resources through a built-in VPN.

One final note; the Laptop Guardian is available in North America only…sorry to our international readers. Which makes me wonder…what if your laptop, tablet PC, or UMPC gets stolen and taken to France? I can picture the plot of an upcoming movie where the bad guys (or good guys) are racing to get a Laptop Guardian-protected device out of North America before the information can be erased. On second thought, they might just want to take the laptop to their Faraday cage-protected laboratory.

Have any GBM readers ever remotely destroyed their tablet PC, UMPC, or PDA cell phone? I’d be interested to know how that went.