New ThinkPads Encrypt The Entire Drive

Lenovo is offering a new line of ThinkPad notebooks that will secure the entire contents of the hard drive with the swipe of a finger. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Laptop theft stories dominate tech and security news this year. Some 50,000 former and current General Electric employees face the risk of identity theft after learning a laptop computer containing personal data was stolen earlier this month. In June, the Federal Trade Commission said two FTC attorneys’ laptops containing the personal information of 110 people were stolen from a locked vehicle.

Many of the thefts were government computers.

Lenovo has offered fingerprint readers on its ThinkPads for some time, but those were mostly in lieu of password entry. This is the first to use the fingerprint to encrypt drive contents.

These new ThinkPads use encryption through SafeGuard Easy 4.30 by Utimaco, which encrypts the entire contents of the hard drive and can only be decrypted with a swipe of an authorized fingerprint. User authentication is required at boot time, not after Windows has started.

SafeGuard Easy 4.30 has received FIPS 140-2 certification from the U.S. government, a required certification to sell encryption products to government agencies.

Lenovo claims that the data on the ThinkPad cannot be accessed even if the drive is removed from the laptop and connected to another computer that uses a separate physical drive to boot.

Security aside, Lenovo is beefing up its T, R, X and Z Series ThinkPads with some of the newest technologies. These laptops will come with Core2Duo processors from Intel and integrated 11a/b/g/n wireless networking technology. The 802.11n support is based on draft standard1, since the 802.11n specification is not final.

Lenovo’s Finger Print Scanner
Source: Lenovo

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