Text messages to ‘break’ stolen laptops

Lenovo will release new security technology, which allows users to send an SMS message to render lost or stolen PCs useless.

The PC vendor worked with Phoenix Technologies to create the feature called the Lenovo Constant Secure Remote Disable'.

It enables users to send an ordinary text message from a mobile phone to render the notebook useless if it is lost or stolen, although it needs the notebook to have integrated 3G mobile broadband to work.

The feature will be available on ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband in the US, and possibly in Europe starting in Q1 of 2009.

Remote Disable is activated when users send it a simple text message such as "PC shut off" when the laptop is lost or stolen.

The kill command will be sent from the mobile phone to the PC's onboard mobile broadband service and make the computer stop working.

If the laptop is turned off, the it will disable the next time it registers on the network.

Bob Galush of Lenovo said that the new defence will reduce the risk of customer data when the laptops were lost or stolen.

He said: "[It] dramatically reduces the anxiety and waiting people often experience when they've been victim of a lost or stolen notebook PC."