Hewlett-Packard will this month ship a security card and software solution for notebooks that will encrypt entire directories in a single stroke, helping to protect corporations from theft and loss.
The Mobile ProtectTools Smart Card Kit 2.0 includes a Type II PC Card-based smart card reader, two security cards, the software that creates a unique personal identification number (PIN), a floppy drive backup program to re-create the PIN if lost, and an on-screen control panel for selecting directories for 128-bit encryption.
With the smart card in place, a system will not boot until the correct PIN is entered. If a user removes the card, the system will shut down, an HP representative said.
But a system that renders a notebook non-bootable can be a double-edged sword, according to one security analyst.
"If the system won't boot, you are locked out of your own PC. The more tight and secure these [secu- rity] mechanisms become, the more danger there is associated with losing the access card," said Greg Blatnik, a vice president at Zona Research in California.
Hewlett-Packard will market the mobile security card as a solution for a company sales force for which a lost notebook might compromise a competitive bidding situation, or to deliver human resources benefits and performance evaluation information to mobile employees.