Fujitsu Intros Data Kill Switch for Corporate Notebooks

Fujitsu’s rolling out an innovative notebook security solution that allows users to remotely delete data from lost and stolen notebooks. Users will be able to remotely delete data even if the notebook is turned off.

Fujitsu notebooks with this security feature require data on the hard drive to be encrypted. When a user sends a kill-singnal to the notebook the encryption key is deleted from the machine via a wireless network. This makes all of the data on the hard drive impossible to read or recover.

For many companies, data on a hard drive is far more valuable than the notebook itself. Of course it’s inconvenient to lose an expensive business notebook, but losing sensitive data is what causes real problems and financial losses.

Unfortunately, the remote data-deletion system will only be available in Japan. Hopefully we’ll see something like this in the U.S. soon.

Here’s the press release from Fujitsu:

Fujitsu Delivers Security Solution for Lost or Stolen Notebook PCs

– World’s first technology to allow remote deletion of data even during power off –

Tokyo, May 7, 2009 — Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., and Willcom, Inc. today announced their joint development of a new security solution for corporate customers that enables the data on a notebook PC’s hard disk drive (HDD) to be remotely deleted using Willcom’s PHS network. This provides protection against information leaks in the event that a notebook PC is lost or stolen.

The solution is based on a custom communications module jointly developed by the three companies. Built into the notebook PC, the module enables the PC owner to completely erase data from their PC’s HDD(1) by remote operation. Additionally, if the target PC is located within the PHS communications coverage area, the command to delete data can be issued and executed even while the PC is turned off(2).

Fujitsu plans to begin offering this solution as well as notebook PCs equipped with the custom communications module in Japan in the third quarter of fiscal 2009(3). Fujitsu Group employees in Japan will also begin to gradually replace their work-issued notebook PCs to ensure the highest level of security in handling data.

The loss or theft of PCs is one of the most common ways that the security of corporate data is compromised. Security for notebook PCs, because of their portability, is a matter of especially keen interest to companies.

Fujitsu has developed this as a solution to make mobile environments safer and to increase organizational productivity and work efficiency by allowing for notebook PC usage outside the office.

Features

Fujitsu plans to begin offering this solution, along with notebook PCs with the new security feature, in Japan in the third quarter of fiscal 2009. The PCs will be equipped both with the custom communications module and an encrypted HDD. Once a notebook PC is reported as lost or stolen, the owner can issue a data-deletion command to the communications module through a control server.

1. Two security functions combine to provide robust security against data leaks

The PCs will be equipped with a data-deletion function that makes the data stored on the HDD impossible to recover or analyze, as well as a PC lock function that prevents the PC from booting up. The HDD encrypts data when it is saved, and the data-deletion function will instantly delete the encryption key needed to decrypt the HDD, rendering the data on it unreadable and unrecoverable. For further protection, the PC lock function prevents the PC from being used at all by stopping the PC from booting up.

2. Remote operation over the PHS network to issue commands

PC owners send out PC lock or data-deletion function commands over Willcom’s PHS network, which covers 99.4% of Japan’s population(4). This means that if a PC is lost or stolen, the possibility is very high that owners can quickly lock the computer and delete the data by remote operation.

3. Commands executed even when PC is turned off, a world-first technology(5)

The communications module remains in standby mode even when the PC is switched off, allowing for lock and delete commands to be executed regardless of whether the PC is on or off. This is the first such technology in the world. Because the module communicates over the inherently low-power PHS network, battery drain is minimal, so it can remain in standby mode for long periods of time. Customers can view command results in detail on a control server.

This solution will be exhibited at Fujitsu Forum 2009, held May 14-15 at the Tokyo International Forum.

Notes

1 Completely erase data from PC’s HDD:

The encryption key needed to decrypt the contents on the HDD is deleted, making it impossible to recover or analyze the data.

2 Command executed even while the PC is turned off:

The data-deletion function will not work in remote locations that PHS radio signals cannot reach or when the notebook PC’s battery is depleted.

3 Third quarter of fiscal 2009:

October-December 2009. Fujitsu’s fiscal year ends March 31.

4 99.4% of Japan’s population:

Computed as population in municipalities served by Willcom divided by Japan’s total population. Municipalities served assumes coverage of public and commercial buildings, and is calculated as a convenience to the customer (Willcom estimates).

5 World-first technology:

The first technology in the world to enable deletion of HDD data even when the PC is turned off (based on research by Fujitsu).

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