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Wireless security system locks down stolen PCs

Fujitsu plans to turn this into a worthless brick

Government ministers and bungling bureaucrats of all stripes might want to take a look at a new technology from Fujitsu that promises an end to sensitive data leakage when laptops are lost or stolen.

The Japanese company is teaming up with wireless provider Willcom to build a new laptop PC that contains a mobile phone module dedicated to securing data on the machine's hard drive.

Remote lockdown

Using Japan's PHS phone and data network, the module can receive a remote signal from the owner of a stolen PC that effectively locks everyone out of the drive.

It does this by deleting the encryption key that ordinarily allows access to data that the drive routinely scrambles. After that happens, the information on the PC is completely inaccessible.

World's first

Fujitsu says the technology is the first in the world to be able to remotely disable a PC even when it's turned off. It can also send a signal that stops the computer booting up.

The system is Japan-specific for now and will cost the local equivalent of around £5 a month when it rolls out in new laptops this autumn.