Kill Switch - the ability to render devices non-operational to prevent theft - has become a hot topic nowadays. The ability to remotely destroy data of the device lost or stolen has been available for quite some time now, but Kill switch not only remotely destroy the devices' data but also the device itself, making it useless for the thieves.
Just last week, Google and Microsoft signed an agreement with the New York Attorney General to add "kill switches" to the upcoming versions of Android and Windows Phone devices, as a part of the "Secure our Smartphones" initiative.
But now, the largest chip manufacturer, Intel will soon going to provide Kill Switches for your laptops as well. The company has been working on a project called Wireless Credential Exchange (WCE) with several partners in an effort to bring Kill switch to other mobile devices, including laptops.
The project uses RFID technology to provision, track and monitor devices such as laptops, hospital equipment and other devices, including a Kill Switch option for the lost or stolen devices.
You all might have heard about the RFID technology, which has been available for more than fifty years. RFID, stands for Radio-frequency identification, is the wireless non-contact use of Radio-Frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer signals, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects.
The Wireless Credential Exchange (WCE) uses the Monza RFID chips developed by Impinj, industry-standard RFID readers created by Technology Solutions UK and a cloud-based data repository and dashboard created by Burnside Digital called IPTrak software.
The IPTrak software that ties all components together, allows Intel SoC to read and write data such as unique IDs, error logs, permissions, and device configuration to the Monza chip, even if the system is powered off.
Devices can be scanned using a RFID reader and data from the IPTrak software stored in a cloud-based database and accessed via IPTrak mobile device apps for Windows, iOS, or Android applications using Bluetooth technology.
For example, It has ability to disable a device prior to shipping and then only reactivating the device once it reaches its final destination. This would render a device useless if it were lost or stolen during shipment.
In addition to this, devices returned to a factory or repair center could be scanned, error logs read, and the device routed to the appropriate technicians without even opening the box.
Two years back, Intel added 'Kill Switch' to its Sandy Bridge processors naming them Anti-Theft 3.0, using which the processor can be disabled even if the computer has no Internet connection or isn't even turned on, over a 3G network, so that if computer is lost or stolen, it can be shut down remotely.