IBM Slips Out New Biometric, Encryption And Traceability Tools

Security, it seems, is the theme of the day as IBM joins the party with four announcements.

IBM has stepped up to the mark with its own security initiatives today and as you would expect from any Big Blue announcement, there is more than one.

On the hardware side of things are two new biometric products: the IBM Preferred Pro USB Fingerprint Keyboard and IBM USB Fingerprint Reader. Both as straightforward as they sound, biometrics offers the convenience of gaining access to confidential files and information at the swipe of a finger. Of course, the chief benefit of biometrics is it does away with the need to remember multiple passwords, and more importantly (without an act of extreme violence) it is clearly much harder to get a hold of a thumb than it is for someone to make an educated guess at a person’s password.

IBM is a big fan of biometrics, having introduced them on its T42 notebooks, a move which we previewed in October and reviewed in February. The widespread introduction of this technology can only be a good development for the industry and besides, it helps those of us who can never remember which password was our pet, wife, brother, birthday, etc!


Available immediately, the Fingerprint Keyboard is priced at £55 and the Fingerprint Reader at £40. Both prices include VAT.

Moving onto software, IBM has a further two pieces of news. Firstly, it has announced an expansion to SafeGuard Easy its full hard drive encryption product. Simply put, SafeGuard PrivateDisk (what is it about IT companies and sticking words together?) encrypts hard disks, network drives and all removable media allowing users to back up sensitive data without then worrying if they are in turn lost or stolen. It will be available in Personal or Enterprise editions, with the former free to IBM customers from tomorrow.

Finally, a new version of Absolute’s Computrace anti-theft traceability tool has been integrated into the BIOS firmware of new ThinkPads. Absolute’s software works remotely (with the manufacturer guaranteeing recovery within 60 days should it be stolen), and – at a user’s request – it can remotely delete sensitive data if there is a privacy concern. Basically, think of a computer equivalent of Tracker. Notebooks with the latest update of Computrace are shipping now.


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