IBM Unveils First Biometric ThinkPad, Offering Security at Your Fingertips

Oct 04, 2004
IBM Unveils First Biometric ThinkPad, Offering Security at Your Fingertips

IBM Integrates Fingerprint Reader with Embedded Security Subsystem; Tougher ThinkVantage Technology Strengthens IBM Security Architecture

IBM is taking computing security and data protection to the next level today with the introduction of the first ThinkPad with an integrated fingerprint reader. ThinkPad, already the industry's most secure notebook PC, now features a model that delivers simplified access to password-protected personal and financial information, web sites, documents and e-mail while offering an unmatched level of data protection through its new biometric capability and embedded security subsystem.

"Today we raised the bar on security for the entire PC industry," said Fran O'Sullivan, general manager, IBM Personal Computing Division. "What was once considered science fiction is now available to all enterprises, large and small, in the notebook of choice for everyday business. The first biometric ThinkPad combines a fingerprint reader with an Embedded Security Subsystem, providing a layer of security that is built in, not bolted on. We take our customers' security into account in every aspect of our business solutions, from PCs to servers to middleware to wireless networks."

The fingerprint reader is built into select models of the ThinkPad T42. With the new reader, located on the wrist rest below the arrow keys, users swipe their finger across a small horizontally oriented sensor to log-on to their systems, software applications, web sites, or databases. The scanning process takes only seconds, combining convenience with the strongest notebook security available as a standard feature. This type of fingerprint reader captures more data than a traditional "picture" capture window because it scans more of the fingertip's surface area, helping to prevent misidentification.

"We place a huge priority on security and deployed IBM ThinkPad more than a year ago because they were the only notebooks to offer an integrated hardware and software security solution," said Shawn Nunley, director of technology development, NetScaler Inc., a networking systems company headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. "IBM's new ThinkPad with integrated fingerprint reader offers yet another level of security for us that is easy to deploy."

IBM On Demand Security Architecture and ThinkVantage Technologies

IBM also enhanced its hardware- and software-based Embedded Security Subsystem by releasing a new level of Client Security Software, Version 5.4, with a secure Password Manager, simplified ease-of-use and installation, and available by preload for the first time. The new version allows fingerprint identification and complex passphrases to be used interchangeably or in combination. The new software and the embedded security chip are seamlessly integrated with the fingerprint reader, protecting vital security information, such as encryption keys, electronic credentials and passphrases, and guarding against unauthorized user access.

The Embedded Security Subsystem is a key component of IBM ThinkVantage Technologies, a suite of tools that make ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktops easier to deploy, connect, protect and support. The fingerprint reader represents only one level in a concentric set of IBM security solutions. They include servers, operating systems, identity management, middleware, web-based privacy, network access, storage, systems management and consulting solutions. These protect information in the face of external hacker threats, costly viruses and worms, e-mail spam, new wireless technologies, and the demands of government compliance.

Additionally, IBM and Utimaco Safeware today announced that IBM is authorized to resell Utimaco software to give users the ability to fully encrypt their entire hard drive. This protects against unauthorized access, should a notebook get stolen or lost. Utimaco Safeguard Easy is the first full drive-encryption product tested for full compatibility with IBM Rescue and Recovery, a ThinkVantage Technology that can automatically archive and restore an entire hard drive to protect against data loss or operating system failure.

Ultimate Connectivity and Portability

Available in a thin and light platform, the ThinkPad T42 starts at 1 inch thin and has a travel weight as little as 4.5 pounds. It also offers IBM's unique battery configuration, capable of providing all day computing, up to 7.5 hours on select models with the nine-cell extended battery. Mobile business users who take their notebooks with them everywhere will benefit from the power of the Intel Pentium M processor, long battery life and multiple options for wireless connectivity. It is available with an Intel 745 Pentium M 1.8 GHz processor.

IBM provides flexibility so users of the ThinkPad T42 can take advantage of wireless technology with a range of 11b, 11 b/g, and 11 a/b/g solutions and available Bluetooth Wireless Technology. In addition, all T42 models come standard with a modem, Gigabit Ethernet and Infrared port.

Equipped with IBM's patented hard drive protection technology to help protect people's data, the ThinkPad T42 is designed for greater durability among business travelers. The IBM Active Protection System, similar to the technology used in automobiles to deploy airbags, uses a microchip on the system board to detect system acceleration (such as in a fall) and responds by temporarily parking the drive's read/write head. This rapid response can help prevent some hard drive crashes that occur in some falls, helping to prevent total data loss and ultimately reduce downtime and warranty costs.

The ThinkPad T42 notebook will be available on October 19. Prices for ThinkPad T42 models with a fingerprint reader start at $1,699.

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