Microsoft Creates Controversial Anti-Theft Tracker Software for Laptops
Most smartphones now have built-in anti-theft tracking devices that allow for remote controlling, so the can owner lock, track, or wipe a missing device app. Google gives employers the power to wipe their employee’s Android phone or Chrome laptop using their G Suite program. Microsoft has now patented a similar system for laptops, allowing a PC with a cellular modem to connect with a server, whether or not it has a SIM card.
So why is this anti-theft system controversial? Because while it can protect your data if your laptop is stolen, it can also be used in a Big Brotherly fashion by companies seeking to track employee activities, or by the governmental requirements put upon the company.
How Does This Anti-Theft Device Work?
The laptop tracker software will be similar to the “emergency call” feature on a cell phone, which allows you to call 911 even if your phone does not have a SIM card. Since the laptop will now be connected to a network, the owner can simply use another device, such as a smart phone or a tablet, to connect to the stolen device and disable it. The tracking software will also improve your chances of finding the thief and beating them up.
Do These Tracking Devices Make Sense?
One in ten laptops are stolen every year, and of these, only 2 percent are ever recovered. Microsoft’s anti-theft system will ensure that even if your laptop is stolen, your sensitive data will remain protected (by encrypting your hard drive). Their solution also helps give you a better chance of recovering your laptop. So yes, tracker software makes a lot of sense.
The anti theft device proposed by Microsoft will work wonders for securing laptops. It will also deter would be thieves, since it will render the stolen laptop useless.
Still, the best solution is to avoid having your laptop stolen in the first place. If you’re using your laptop in a public place, never leave it unattended, even if you’re only going to be away for a minute. Make sure it is password protected, and encrypt your sensitive data.
Microsoft’s anti-theft system is a great idea, but laptop owners must also play their part in securing their property and their personal data.
Is this the best option?
It’s for sure a step in the right direction. There are a few things missing in their solution. What’s missing from this is that once you’re out of range of a WiFi connection, there isn’t going to be a way to reach your stolen laptop. Another point is what if your laptop was turned off and was stolen. If it were up to me to create a solution.
- I would implement a full hard drive encryption solution.
- Use a SIM card to keep the laptop always connected.
- Create a Bios firmware to allow you to turn on the laptop from a remote location.
- The laptop will boot into this Bios (before Windows starts up), which requires less load time, processing, and battery power.