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February 27, 2009

Blackberry gets anti-theft asset software message

System helps locate devices, will wipe data

By CBR Staff Writer

Absolute Software Inc, a Canadian firmware vendor with a line that keeps track of lost or stolen PCs, has produced a similar system for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile smart phones.

The company’s Computrace product tracks assets, can remotely delete data and helps identify the location if not help recover lost or stolen endpoint devices. 

An embedded Computrace Agent tracks a Blackberry via GPS, and can be used to keep tabs on a user with an accuracy of about 20 meters.

It can be set up to report on assets every 30 minutes, and updates location information drawn from Google Maps. IT administrators are told of any hardware and software changes made on the smartphone, and if a tracked unit is lost or stolen, can issue a data delete command from a central control panel.

The company said its Computrace Mobile is now available for BlackBerry OS versions 4.2.1 and later, including consumer models and all future models, as well as all Windows Mobile 5 and 6 handheld devices such as the MOTO Q, Palm Treo and Samsung BlackJack.

The software works out a little under $15 per unit.

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Keeping tabs on mobile assets has become a burden on administrators and building anti-theft systems into the asset tracking process will be seen as a sensible approach, providing an additional layer of data protection and increased compliance with breach laws. 

Last year Intel announced that select Lenovo ThinkPad T400 notebooks would be among the first notebooks to ship with Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection and Absolute Computrace technology built in. 

A service worked up by the chip-maker and Ericsson uses built-in GPS technology to determine if a notebook is moved outside a pre-defined area. 

It then sends a message via SMS to the mobile broadband module, which transfers the message to Intel’s anti-theft function to lock the system. When the notebook is recovered, an unlock message makes the data accessible again.

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