Absolute Teams Up With Intel To ‘Brick’ Stolen Laptops

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Absolute Software has added Intel technology to its anti-theft software, which can at the touch of a button turn a stolen laptop into a non-bootable ‘brick’

Absolute Software has given its anti-theft laptop software some real teeth thanks to the inclusion of Intel technology in its offering.

Absolute announced at the CES show that its Computrace LoJack for Laptops now includes Intel AT (anti-theft) remote locking and messaging capabilities. It said it is the first such implementation of Intel’s AT technology, and is now targeted at consumers, not just commercial customers.

What this means in the real world is that if a laptop is stolen, the victim is offered the combined ability to manage and recover the stolen laptop and delete data remotely. In addition, the user can remotely lock down the laptop, as well as use its message display capabilities – presumably to politely ask the thieves to return the machine!

“Once a computer is locked, it cannot boot-up to the operating system and is rendered useless to unauthorised users,” said Absolute Software. “It essentially turns the computer into a brick and eliminates its cash value and appeal to thieves. Once the computer is back in the hands of its rightful owner, it can be unlocked through the customer’s LoJack for Laptops account or by typing a password on the computer.”

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LoJack for Laptops works by using Computrace technology from Absolute. This allows a ‘virtually undetectable’ Computrace Agent to ‘phone home’ to the Absolute Monitoring Centre with location information. The idea is that the police can then track down stolen laptops, in much the same way as that of a stolen car.

Once a user reports that his or her laptop is stolen, the Absolute Theft Recovery Team gathers evidence from the computer to identify the thief’s location, and to get the computer back.

The way it works is that the user sets the frequency with which his or her Intel AT enabled computer must check-in with the Absolute monitoring servers, before Intel AT automatically locks it. If it doesn’t check in within the specified time, Intel AT and LoJack for Laptops team up to automatically lock the notebook.

“With today’s announcement that Intel Anti-Theft Technology is available to consumers, Absolute can now give its LoJack for Laptops customers the same locking capabilities that our commercial customers have been enjoying,” said Mark Grace, VP of consumer business at Absolute Software. “The LoJack for Laptops data delete capabilities combined with the Intel AT give Absolute customers a robust computer and private information protection solution.”

Unfortunately, relatively few laptops are currently Intel AT-enabled, but the list is growing as more and more machines start to include the technology.

Pricing for LoJack for Laptops is $39.99 (£24.76) for a standard one year subscription, and $59.99 (£37.15) for premium one year subscription (which includes the remote delete data option for a stolen laptop).