Lenovo Encrypts Notebook Hard Drives

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Computer maker Lenovo is upping the ante for notebook security, announcing that it is equipping ThinkPad notebooks with security technology from Utimaco which enables users to fully encrypt the contents of their systems’ hard drive with a swipe of their finger.

The Thinkpads incorporate SafeGuard Easy 4.3 by Utimaco, which encrypts the entire contents of the hard drive can can only be authorized by a fingerprint swipe at startup time, before Windows has booted. According to Lenovo, the drive contents cannot be accessed even if the notebook is disassembled and the drive removed.

SafeGuard Easy has received FIPS 140-2 certification from the U.S. government, which is required to sell encryption products to government agencies. Ironic, since Lenovo notebooks were quarantined by the State Department earlier this year as being unsuitable for classified work, having been manufactured in China and thus possibly subject to tampering. (Because, like, that could never happen in the U.S. of A.)

Lenovo’s move comes as the security of information on notebook computers comes under increasing scrutiny from organizations; recent thefts of notebooks from the Veteran’s administration, the FTC, and General Electric only highlight a growing trend.

"Statistics show few stolen computers are ever recovered, and companies today know the increasing numbers of stolen notebooks bring a high risk for data and identify theft," said Bob Galush, Lenovo’s VP of sotware and peripherals, in a statement. "Every person carrying unencrypted sensitive information on a notebook PC is at risk. Thinkpad and Utimaco’s SafeGuard Easy will help customers better manage this security risk."

Lenovo also announced it’s revving up processors, and wireless networking options in selected T, R, X, and Z-series notebooks, offering Intel Core 2 Duo CPUS so-called "draft N" 802.11n Wi-FI, which theoretically can offer wireless speeds up to 100 Mbps, as well as backwards compatibility with 802.11a/b/g networks. All ThinkPad series notebooks will sport Vista-capable models, as well as many Vista Premium Ready units.