back to article Intel slips anti-theft tech into hardware to deter thieves

Intel is building anti-theft technology into hardware in a bid to make life harder for laptop thieves. The chip giant is incorporating anti-theft technology into laptops and network chip sets, and partnering with developers and hardware OEMs to deliver enhanced anti-theft technology. By placing crypto keys in hardware the …

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  1. Peter Jones 2

    Cheaper alternative...

    ...anti-theft stickers?

  2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Thanks but no, thanks.

    I'd rather have a laptop stolen from me than allow a third party to disable it remotely when they feel like it.

    Anti-theft? Sounds more like anti-user. Do something with your machine that Intel does not approve of - get it bricked.

    The only useful application I see is for the MOD and HMRC - as they like to have their laptops left on trains/airplanes etc.

    1. James O'Brien
      Thumb Down

      Apparently you didnt read the article

      It was mentioned (more then once) that it would be handled by admins, so to say, at an office of said company/home-owner who owns the laptop. Im sure it could be done the way you are suggesting but I did not get that impression from reading this.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Sod it!

    I'll just print a copy of the sticker, paste it on my cheap laptop and save myself a few quid!

    Will that wash with insurance firms though? They ask if your car is off-road and fitted with an immobiliser.

  4. Steve Evans

    All well and good only if...

    ... the technology is turned on by default!

    Many laptops (including those lost by HM Govt) have supported various hardware security features for years, but they are never turned on!

    So what about the hard drive data? Is it encrypted? Whilst the loss of a laptop is annoying, it's nowhere near as bad as the data that is lost on the drive when it can just be removed and read in another machine!

  5. hplasm
    Thumb Down

    Cheaper and less likely to go wrong-

    Handcuff the bloody thing to the user so they can't wander off and leave it.

    Still, it should triple the number of 'desktop support' bods needed to sort the can of worms out when it goes wrong. As it undoubtedly will.

  6. dotdavid
    Thumb Up

    Sell the stickers

    Now all someone has to do is sell the stickers so you can protect your normal laptop. If it's really that successful at detering casual theft, it'll probably be worth it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Fail!

    "The chip giant has developed a logo for its Anti-Theft technology,"

    Great! Another one of those awful stickers that are hard to remove from your laptop and leave a horrible residue.

  8. Colin Critch
    FAIL

    This is just a gimmick for Admins with a god complex Or

    This is just a gimmick for Admins with a god complex Or

    So this is more about data protection and revenge. The laptops are likely not to be recovered just broken up into spare parts and sold or trashed. Or is it more about hardware vendors wanting to sell more hardware that will be less likely to be reused when OS bloat makes them too slow/obsolete?

  9. Tom Chiverton 1

    Oh my

    Wont this be fun when a 12 year old kid posts the code that does the disabling to Twitter...

  10. Richard Harris
    Happy

    Great Sales Opportunity Here

    Surely, just selling the stickers and slapping them onto a laptop would provide the same deterent, without the chance of accidentally bricking your own laptop when you have the microwave turned on and your mobile rings.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theft deterrence

    The technology I can live without, but I definitely want that Anti-Theft sticker on my laptop.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Where do I sign up?

    Nothing like a virus infested (McAfee actually deleted svchost.exe on me one time), self-destructive (PointSec disk encryption blew up and wiped my hard drives somehow), pre-crippled (see the article yesterday) hardware.

    You can still buy AMD laptops right?

    Disk encryption, IMO, is a necessary evil, but for some reason the whole self-bricking deal sounds like a bad idea.

    Why not just hand out stickers?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This line troubles me:

    "Machines that fail to log in for a specified period of time also get disabled" particularly given the length of time my netbook spends in a drawer, not going online (and the number of times i've taken it abroad expecting free wifi in hotel, but having to pay for it :/ )

  14. Ralph B
    Unhappy

    Uh oh

    > Machines that fail to log in for a specified period of time also get disabled.

    Yes, I'm sure this technology won't get used to sting genuine owners for a reactivation code when they return from holiday, or pass on a temporarily unused computer to a relative or new owner.

  15. Chris Hatfield
    FAIL

    Can be abused by totalitarian regimes?

    IN THEORY, could this possibly prevent people from being anonymous?. e.g. a Word document or text file could have the chip's anti-theft ID embedded in the metadata (or something)

    This could potentially identify the computer that was used to make the document. Whilst this might help to identify people stealing company data, it would also hamper whistle-blowing.

    Part of the problem is that I just don't trust Intel. They have been doing something fairly cunty - selling Gateway computers & asking people to buy scratchcards if they want 'extra features' (already in the chip) 'unlocked' : http://www.crunchgear.com/2010/09/19/intel-selling-scratch-off-upgrade-cars-to-unlock-processor-power/

  16. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Caution: Brain-dead Intel mouthpiece prattling

    Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Intel's prowess just get flushed down the toilet recently when Intel confirmed the wonderfully high-tech HDCP copy-protection had been cracked?

    Why would this latest bit of Intel magic not fail, as well?

  17. multipharious

    Phone Home

    For the same reasons that some of the folks have stated, a lot of organizations I have come in contact with bristle at the idea of any sort of phone home. They simply do not like control or even reporting to be external. Can you blame them? (See the recent McAfee DAT screwup) If the code is comprimised, like this ever happens, then an organization could be seriously inconvenienced if the attacker could ennumerate enough machines...or the right ones.

    Just a random speculation, but I wonder if this is a first step before they think about reducing prices and start licensing their processors? Don't pay yearly maintenance? Brick.

  18. Martin Usher
    FAIL

    A new twist in software licensing?

    This is, I suspect, more about enforcing software licenses. The theft angle is just decoration -- nobody in their right minds would carry a laptop full of sensitive data around (and increasingly its pointless to carry a laptop around -- you pull it in as you need it).

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