Lenovo Lets Users Disable Notebooks via SMS

Portable computing can be a wonderful, empowering thing…but is also means data, documents, and information in a portable computer is more vulnerable to loss and theft—and it hardly seems a week goes by without news of a major company or agency losing sensitive information on a stolen notebook computer. So, computer maker Lenovo wants to come to the rescue, announcing a new Lenovo Constant Secure Remote Disable feature that will let users render their notebooks completely useless if they’re ever lost or stolen…simply by sending a text message.

“Remote Disable dramatically reduces the anxiety and waiting people often experience when they’ve been the victim of a lost or stolen notebook PC,” said Lenovo’s VP for software and peripherals marketing Bob Galush, in a statement. “Combined with features like built-in biometric fingerprint readers, full hard drive encryption, and embedded security chips, Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks offer the latest industry-leading PC security technologies.”

Lenovo worked with Phoenix Technologies to develop the embedded capability, which is set to debut on ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband capability beginning in the first quarter of 2009. To use the service, users create a simple text message command (such as “lock out PC now”); if the notebook is lost or stolen, users just send the “kill” command to the notebook via any SMS-capable cell phone. When the PC receives the command, it becomes inoperable; if the PC is turned off when the command is sent, it will automatically disable the next time it registers with the cell network. Users will receive a confirmation message when the remote disable command has been executed. If a PC is recovered, users can re-activate the disabled PC with a preset passcode.

Lenovo plans to roll out the technology worldwide wherever GSM SMS messaging is available, and will be included in mobile broadband-enabled ThinkPad notebooks at no additional charge.