Re: [ISN] Exploding chips could foil laptop thieves.

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 11:17:25 PST

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    Forwarded from: kamat_private
    > |A new way of making silicon explode could mean anyone trying to use a
    > |stolen laptop or mobile will be confronted by this message: "This machine
    > |is stolen and will self-destruct in ten seconds ... ". 
    > I don't want one.  It's bad enough when your friends make fun of
    > you in a chat room/email list/irc whatever when you leave a
    > teminal open.  I know guys that would initiate this destruction
    > for fun.
    > Then again, what about the next "deadly" virus?  Unless Bill is
    > serious about this security 'thing' we'll soon be dealing with a
    > virus that spreads around and melts computers with this Mission
    > Impossible upgrade.
    > Now, something that provides an electrical shock to the user could
    > come in handy.  We've already got apps like PC Anywhere, VNC,
    > Timbuktu, etc that allow a tech support person to watch what a
    > user does on his PC in real time. You can tell them over and over,
    > but thick users will still make mistakes.
    > Perhaps a jolt of encouragement will prevent some of the ignorant
    > mistakes made in the enterprise these days.  It would sure make
    > the gaming industry boom.  Oh, and I suppose it could be used to
    > deter thieves and console hackers as well.
    I would have to completly agree with nhoJ on this one.
    Granted, it would be nice to know that no one will have access to your
    data and files if they nabbed your notebook.
    On the other hand... As nhoJ mentioned, I'd really hate to see the
    newest development in attacks be. Imagine sitting at home one weekend,
    not conencted to anything but your A/C adapter, only to realize the
    logic bomb somone wrapped into a spam greeting card.
    Not to mention the fact that I, as I'm sure there are plenty of other
    folks out there, swear I took my laptop with me somewhere, only to
    find it sitting in my office the next week, right where I MEANT to
    pick it up from. Only now, it's fried.
    What a waste of $1k-however much you got suckered into paying.
    What I would LIKE to see, and some manufacturers are starting (Dell)
    is a biometric implementation which locks physical access to the
    machine as well. You've got locks on the back of your tower case,
    which isn't to say no one can break it easily, but a more secure frame
    with a biometric lock on it (which is also tied into your login for
    your system) would keep people from disassembling your laptop,
    grabbing your hard drive and putting your RAM to use in their own. If
    constructed securely enough, nothing short of using a hammer would let
    someone in. Which would pretty much destroy anything in a laptop,
    seeing the space issues.
    What if someone sticks a boot disk in and gets around your GINA
    biometric login? How about a power-buton with a builtin thumb scanner
    + smart card reader. It's very easy to implement, and I'm sure the
    costs would be pretty similar to an exploding chip in your laptop.
    </2 cents>
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