Software to prevent unauthorised access to a notebook by embedding a key dongle into the BIOS has been released for the first time in Europe.
Data Defender, developed by Esselte Office Products, causes the notebook to check the parallel port for a security key upon boot-up. If the key is not present, the computer halts start-up. Similar keys have been sold in the US for some time.
The software prevents would-be thieves from bypassing the security by booting the computer up through a separate drive or by reformatting the hard disk, the company told PC Week.
If the security key is lost, access is gained by inserting a second disk, which prompts for a 12-digit registration number. If the number entered is correct, the embedded software is deleted, which allows normal boot-up; the security software is later reloaded.
The security key is a little larger than the parallel port (it measures 5.5 x 2.3 x 1.4cm) and weighs just 10g. Data Defender supports Windows 95 and 98; the company plans to add NT support by the end of the year.
Esselte offers 24-hour support and will supply a port splitter for machines with printers attached. Data Defender will cost £100 and will ship in August.
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