This $1,699 "secure PC" will self-destruct if tampered with

The hardened PC also comes with Windows, Ubuntu, or the security-focused Qubes OS.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

(Image: Orwl)

Orwl is a new kind of PC that takes a "die trying" approach to physical device and data security.

The palm-sized computer is security-focused from the ground up. It comes with several layers to put a stop to even the most ardent of hackers gaining access to a user's precious data. Not only do you need a password and a corresponding wireless keyfob just to turn on the puck-like PC, the processor goes to sleep and the USB and HDMI ports shut off whenever the keyfob moves out of range, stopping anyone from snooping in.

And if that's not enough, the tamper-proof device will wipe any data on the encrypted solid-state hard disk as a last-ditch effort to save your data.


(Image: Orwl)

Where some security or privacy-focused devices seem initially bunk, Orwl has has some promising features.

Orwl comes with an in-built mesh to protect the secure controller, and a motion sensor and pressure-switch to add to the device's physical security. It comes with secure boot technology and firmware updating, and a motion-sensor to prevent shock-based data loss. And, the device uses open-source hardware and software, so you know what's happening on the inside.

And thought the PC boasts temperature monitoring and side-channel attack protection, it doesn't specify exactly how.

Here are the specs:

  • Operating system: Qubes OS/Ubuntu/Windows
  • Intel HD Graphics 515 300/1000MHz
  • Up to 8GB RAM (1,600MHz)
  • Up to 480GB self-encrypted Intel solid-state drive
  • 802.11 n/ac wireless (up to 800 Mbps)
  • Dual mode Bluetooth 2.1, BTLE4.2
  • One HDMI 4k video output
  • Two USB-C outputs

Though, clearly the makers of Orwl have thought through as many conceivable methods of attack possible, they make no promise that it's "hack-proof" or impervious to all "known ransomware."

In the end, that's all you can really ask for.

At $1,699 and up, it's a heavy price to pay for physical data security. Orwl is expecting to start shipping in mid-to-late August.

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