The 3G card that cripples a computer

Alcatel-Lucent is hoping to cash in on the recent spate of corporate data losses with a new 3G card that can remotely cripple a stolen PC.
The company’s Nonstop Laptop Guardian (NLG) is a PC card device that boasts its own processor, memory and Linux operating system. The device is kept always-on with its own internal battery and 3G data connection, that can be used to disable or even wipe the PC if it’s reported lost or stolen.

The company is also working with security vendor McAfee to encrypt the data on laptops fitted with the NLG. Any data stored on the PC becomes useless if the card, which holds the encryption keys, is removed.

Alcatel-Lucent claims the device will ease the burden of responsibility for data loss from employees’ shoulders.  
“Because it’s got the always-on capability, IT help desks and management centres can remotely access the PC, remotely track the PC, remotely patch manage the PC, remotely kill the PC, remotely encrypt the PC,” Peter Tebbutt, business development director at Alcatel-Lucent told PC Pro. “You’re not dependent on the laptop being on. The card has its own life.”

Tebbutt claims the device has a standby battery life of 100 hours, although it can also draw power and recharge itself from the main laptop battery. “You can set the parameters on the card to say ‘if the laptop battery is low, don’t draw from it’,” he said to address fears of a negative impact on laptop battery life.

The NLG essentially replaces the laptop’s existing 3G data card, with Tebbutt claiming it will work with “pretty much any SIM card out there”.

Companies can either control the NLG devices internally with a dedicated management server or opt to have them managed by a service provider.

The device has been on sale in the US since last year, but the recent deluge of data losses has undoubtedly encouraged the company to target the UK.

The NLG will cost around £145, with a monthly charge of around £5-£10.

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