Intel AT Ultrabook Intel wants its Anti Theft service in every Ivybridge Ultrabook

With millions of laptops out there, tens of thousands of careless people and a handful of dishonest people, things tend to get lost easily. Imagine the moment you realize that you have lost your laptop with precious/confidential/private data in it; it is definitely worrisome that your data might land into the wrong hands. Therefore, Intel wants to address this issue by introducing a service called Anti-Theft and what it does is that it uses a hardware security feature built-in to every Sandy Bridge processors to lock down your laptop in case it got lost. Of course, before you can do that, you need to know and do a few things.

With millions of laptops out there, tens of thousands of careless people and a handful of dishonest people, things tend to get lost easily. Imagine the moment you realize that you have lost your laptop with precious/confidential/private data in it; it is definitely worrisome that your data might land into the wrong hands. Therefore, Intel wants to address this issue by introducing a service called Anti-Theft and what it does is that it uses a hardware security feature built-in to every Sandy Bridge processors to lock down your laptop in case it got lost. Of course, before you can do that, you need to know and do a few things:

  • A laptop which is Intel Anti-Theft (Intel AT) supported. You can check if your current laptop is supported by accessing this PDF - One suggestion to Intel is make a simple search field to allow users to sort by brands and models etc. The good news is that all Ivybridge based laptops – excluding those using the entry level HM70 chipset, but including Ultrabooks – will support Intel Anti-Theft Technology.
  • Buy an activation scratch card from the nearest retailers. For Singapore, you can get it from Challenger stores for S$39 for 1 year support and S$79 for 3 years support. Web purchases will be possible in the future, but right now, do it the old fashion way.
  • Go to Intel's Anti-Theft service website to activate your account
  • Create an account and authorise your laptop. Set some options like auto lock down after one hour, but this could be annoying as you need to enter a pass every hour. It's all about security versus ease of use, the choice is yours.
  • Slap the big yellow sticker on your laptop so the bad guys will leave it alone, as they would essentially be stealing a brick. That said, the would-be thieves need to be educated as to what Intel Anti-Theft technology is so they will be deterred.

Intel AT Ultrabook Intel wants its Anti Theft service in every Ivybridge Ultrabook

So what does Intel's Anti-Theft technology actually in the event of an accidental loss or theft?

  • First of all, you need to realise that your laptop has been lost or stolen. Some people leave their stuff at places like airports or cafes for hours without realising that they have lost something. So if you belong to this category, you better make sure you set the auto lock down timer to a few hours at least.
  • Upon realising that you have lost your laptop, there are two options you can take:

    1. Call the customer service hotline - of course you need to know the number first so store it in your phone.
    2. Find another computer quickly or use your smartphone( with an internet connection), log on to the Intel Anti-Theft service website and lock down your laptop
  • Doing this will prevent the laptop from booting. It's all done on hardware level (CPU/Chipset/BIOS/Drivers) and the data is also encrypted on your HDD/SSD.

What is the worst case scenario that can happen where even Intel's Anti-Theft technology can't help?

  • If your laptop isn't turned on or there is no internet connection, you can't lock down your laptop manually. You have to depend on the auto lockdown timer set when you first configured your account.

This is a great initiative by Intel that makes adding a remote kill switch on a hardware level to your notebook a breeze. The service is also affordable, even though it seems to lack features like tracking etc. that some competing solutions offer. We should also point out that the lockdown prevents the notebook from working even if the BIOS is re-flashed or the hard drive is exchanged for a new unit. The only way to re-active a laptop locked down with Intel's Anti-Theft service is by re-entering the correct password.