Anti-Theft programs on smartphones have evolved and today Find my iPhone has helped many iPhone owners get their devices back. The very presence of robust anti-theft application will dissuade thieves from stealing the phones and moreover, it will also help the device owner wipe the data and lock the device. Also, there are instances of Find My iPhone app helping parents locate their kidnapped children and in a nutshell, it has proved its mettle. The Android Device Manager is also equally capable.
That being said, laptops are still left in the lurch and they are often easy targets for thieves. The laptops can be wiped off easily and resold without much of a risk. Yes, Microsoft has earlier introduced the “Find my Device” feature on Windows 10 but that’s not much of a help if the user doesn’t connect to the internet, which unlike smartphones, is a much more likely scenario. Microsoft has now come up with a new solution that will protect your laptop even it doesn’t come with an LTE option or an active cellular connection.
A new patent by Microsoft details how the signals to lock the PC can be transmitted even if the device is not connected to a cellular network. The feature uses a technique similar to the one that allows us to make emergency calls. The patent clearly states that “even if the device is not capable of general use of the cellular network (e.g., due to a physical authentication module, such as a subscriber identity module, being absent and/or due to a software restriction on cellular network access), disablement communications are still permitted across the cellular network.” What this means that any efforts to remove the SIM or turn off the cellular services is thwarted as the device will still be able to communicate with the owner.
That being said, we are not sure how Microsoft will be designing the feature in a way that it’s not misused. Considering that the feature is always on, it will be relatively easy to turn the laptop into a tracking device that’s used with malicious intent. Let’s hope that the cellular service providers will join hands with OEMs and curb the laptop thefts. However, this is something that may hinder the sale of used laptop since the new buyers have to register themselves as the owners.