A new security device that allows laptops to literally cry for help if they have been taken without authorisation, has appeared on the market, courtesy of a US company, Front Door Software.
The product called Retriever inserts a new virtual security ownership label that will appear as soon as anyone turns on the stolen laptop but its hidden secret is its ability to utter a spoken message, even a recorded voice clip of the owner.
Users will be able to display messages on the missing laptop's screen and this can only be stopped by logging onto a website and disabling it over there.
There's actually a big yellow and red banner that flashes on the screen stating that the laptop has been lost or stolen.
The voice message is apparently set to appear every 30 seconds with the default text being “Help, this laptop is reported lost or stolen. If you are not my owner, please report me now.”
It is not known whether disabling the sound card is possible. The £21 package is available on trial and allows owners to remotely access the stolen laptop to change their login details.
Furthermore if the criminals try to access the web from the ill gained computer, data will be sent to Retriever's HQ which will help identify the location of the connection.
Retriever is available for Windnows XP and Vista. There's a Mac version coming soon but no Linux version in the pipeline. Techrepublic tried it and found out that while it might be a good solution for individual and SoHo, it would not replace full disk encryption.
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Better prevention than cure. The content of a laptop is often way more critical than the laptop itself. Which is why it is essential to have a Plan B, in case your laptop or your computer gets stolen. Full Disk Encryption is one method, remote security solutions are another.