NEWS FROM THE LAB - Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Goofing around with laptop locks Posted by Mikko @ 04:59 GMT

So, our marketing department asked us to do some testing on marketing giveaways we could brand with F-Secure logo and hand out during fairs etc.

This was kinda relevant, as the giveaways were security-related:

Unsafe lock

- A gizmo you would strap on you, which would automatically lock the computer when you wander too far away from it. Turned out you could break away from the security screen by plugging in a second monitor; the system only locks the primary screen, allowing you to do whatever you want through the second screen. Alternatively, you could hit Ctrl-Alt-Del, select Shutdown and wait for the screenlock program to close, then kill it's process and finally stop the shutdown with SHUTDOWN -A or a similar command.

Unsafe lock

- A laptop cable lock, which you could use to physically lock down your laptop to a table via the standard kensington-type lock hole every laptop has. Except this lock was made out of plastic, so just by twisting it you could break away the cable, unlocking the whole gizmo. In addition, the cable was so thin that Jusu could break it with pliers he had in his pocket without any great effort.

So, we asked our marketroids to search for better quality giveaways...and started thinking about kensington-type security slots in general. So we decided to take some laptops, a real Kensington high-security cable and just try crabbing the laptop anyway - with some surprising results.

We'll post a separate log entry on that in a day or two.