Due out in September, Panasonic's Toughbook is no joke -- it's created for work in the most hostile of environments, be it a rocky outcrop or a board meeting. The Toughbook is protected, cushioned and reinforced, all in order to transform the dainty, fragile device into something one can really use. There are various models to choose from, be it the fully rugged one or the still very cool "business rugged".
This outer skin of security means that the Toughbook can be dropped from a height of up to 2.5 feet (presumably while running), as long as it lands on its base. A fall from a height of one foot is not a problem -- as long as the computer is turned off -- from 26 different impact points. All this cushioning and the Toughbook only weighs in at three pounds -- the newest Macbook Air weighs an almost identical 2.96 pounds.
The Toughbooks also comes with the ability to detect fingerprints and has a built-in (presumably tough) cable lock slot. Did I mention you can put heavy stuff on it, as long as it's 220 pounds or less? That means you might be able to use it as a sitting surface if it really comes down to it. It can also handle 6 ounces of liquid all over everywhere; not your standard notebook.
Although the Toughbook comes with its own internal security system, I think the device would be a great match with Notebak's suite of software. A laptop that one can drop, sit on, use to fingerprint users as well as secretly take their pictures and record sounds? Now that sounds pretty surreal. Too bad the Toughbook will start at around $2450.
via PC World
One's laptop battery: now there is one component I never thought could be subjected to hacking or malware. However, the possibility of hacking and tampering with a laptop battery has been proven by researcher and veteran security researcher Charlie Miller, to be presented at the Black Hat Conference on August 4.
Laptop batteries have evolved into smart devices which monitor and report various values like temperature, voltage and other performance data. Safeguarded by two passwords -- with the standard ones being available in public documentation -- the batteries can be hacked into. Apple and some other companies do not bother to change the standard passwords which come with the battery, leaving this pathway open to someone willing to put in the effort.
Once hacked, the battery can be infected with malware which will remain on the device even if it is fully cleaned and re-installed. Knowing that this type of backdoor was left wide open with not even the simple precaution of changing those passwords makes me wonder what other little cracks are just lying in wait for discovery. It seems that if a computer becomes infected in this way, there isn't much of a way to get it fixed -- there are some sources that say Miller showed the battery could even be made to overheat and explode, aside from a simple malfunctioning.
It seems to me that the best solution to such an intricate problem would be to dump all your important files into a new place once the infection is discovered. Alternatively, if you fear something happening to the copies remaining on the laptop, destroying the files would be a pretty handy option, as well; both of these are standard features of Notebak, which keeps making me relieved every time I find out about these new threats.
Featured image: anneh632/Flickr
Here is yet another reason to install a mobile security software on every computer you own: an employee of the Lamberton Independent School District had her personal computer taken out of her car, forcing the district to issue a notice to parents and other employees because there's a chance there was sensitive information on the computer.
Whether there was such sensitive info on the laptop may never be answered now, but the worry and hassle caused by the incident could easily have been avoided. With a mobile security software like Notebak the owner could have retrieved all info -- sensitive or not -- and then destroyed it all so that no one else could get at it. This is another one of those cases where those involved could have saved themselves a headache and questions from concerned individuals.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20; but hopefully, this school district will think a little bit harder about mobile security when it gets its employee a new laptop (if it ever does). And of course, this is a chance for all of us to re-think how our laptop is protected. We may never really stop to wonder if we have any 'sensitive information' on your computer until it's really too late; save yourself the hassle and just install some solid software today, and then forget about it! When the time comes, you'll be ready.
Featured image: xJasonRogersx/Flickr
Some more laptop thefts are hitting the news: one from a law office -- where nothing else was stolen -- and another from a Fairgrounds. Not all laptops may have some super-sensitive information on them -- like the one stolen from the medical clinic -- but it would be pretty unpleasant having yours go missing; all that stuff you work on, save and file away is not something you can forget about. And that's not even mentioning the hardware, itself. That's why Notebak is pretty cool software to have: first of all, you can set up a GeoFence, which locks your computer if it leaves a certain boundary, determined by you. This could be your home office or a large office building, if you're a large company wishing to prevent laptops from leaving the building. Second of all, it makes it pretty simple for someone to return your hardware to you, by giving them all the information they need to contact you -- anonymously (they'll never know your name or any other details).
Laptops go missing; it's a fact of life. Yours may not have super-secret documents on it, but it's still not something you wouldn't ever want to part with, especially unwillingly. Protect yourself with some smart mobile security, and especially the type that pulls all the right moves to reconnect you with your loved machine. I'm constantly seeing news about stolen laptops, but there are also the stories that don't make it to the press: ones about people losing their computers. It happens. Backing up your data regularly is a drag to some people who don't know any better (me, for one), so I prefer to take the easy way out and guarantee myself file recovery, plus some enhanced protection, on a daily basis with some easy software. Mobile security -- it's important.
Featured image: dougbelshaw/Flickr
An anesthesia clinic in Tennessee had a laptop stolen from its offices which contained the information of over 1,500 patients. Medical records along with names, age, addresses, social insurance numbers and everything else important to a clinic is on that laptop. So far, there has been no one apprehended for the theft, and the laptop has not been found. The clinic is currently offering a hotline to address patient concerns, as well as provide identity theft services free of charge.
The manpower going into resolving this incident is pretty big -- investigations, damage control, hotline manning -- and the clinic is no doubt losing some money by having to offer these free services. In addition, it certainly doesn't look good in the press. This is exactly the kind of situation which would benefit from some mobile security.
Outfitting clinic computers with smart mobile security should play a key part in the set-up of organizations which deal with sensitive data -- especially a whole slew of information on each person. Had the clinic had the forethought and opportunity to install some advanced software on its computers (like ours!) it could have remotely retrieved the stolen info from the laptop, and then proceeded to wipe clean the hard drive. The news would have read that the situation was expertly dealt with, and no worried inquiries (well, maybe several) would be made. Being prepared for the worst is the best line of defense: by outfitting all computers of an organization -- especially a medical clinic -- with mobile security, patients' data is safe and information is always in the hands of the right people.
Featured image: blakespot/Flickr