Intel working on RFID-based 'kill switch' for laptops

Dubbed the Wireless Credential Exchange, the company's SoC devices would work in tandem with Monza RFID chips to render them inoperable if lost or stolen.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

"Kill switches" — the ability to remotely render a device unusable to combat theft — are already making an impact in the smartphone world. Now Intel might be bringing the technology to other mobile devices using its SoCs.

The chip giant is working on something call the Wireless Credential Exchange (WCE) with a number of partners. Its chips would communicate with Impinj's Monza RFID chips to allow remote monitoring of devices via Burnside Digital's IPTrak software. The result would be that these devices could be controlled to activate only when they reach their approved destination or within a specified location. If they don't reach their destination or leave the approved area, they could be disabled.

Devices can be scanned using a RFID reader and data from the IPTrak software stored in a cloud-based database and accessed via Burnside Digital's Windows, iOS, or Android app. In addition to providing security features, WCE could assist in the maintenance of devices, as error logs can be read remotely to diagnose issues.

There's no timeline on when the WCE technology could be implemented into Intel-based devices. But kill-switch technology is certainly in the news, as major smartphones players are embracing it, even if it cuts into the profits phone carriers get from selling replacement devices. A recent study projected a yearly savings of $2.6 billion for consumers if kill switches were implemented on smartphones, and that figure could be dwarfed by the amount enterprises could save with similar technology embedded into corporate laptops (not to mention potential consumer benefit).   

[Burnside Digital via HotHardware]

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