Kensington reinvents laptop lock with new tether

Easier to attach and detach, says company

Laptop lock maker Kensington claims it has solved the riddle of how to make more people tether their expensive portables to deter theft - make it easier to attach and detach the security cable.

It's a subtle if obvious-sounding advance based on improving the ergonomics of the Kensington lock, possibly the most successful technology in the history of computer security that is still used by almost nobody beyond the odd corporate with a tethering policy.

The average laptop tether is inconvenient to attach and detach, and requires a lock to be twisted in and out of the locking port found on the side of every laptop and netbook before a key is turned and removed.

In everyday use, this can be quite a tricky procedure so almost nobody bothers.

Kensington's new Clicksafe design sets out to improve this by using an 'anchor' that is locked into the Kensington port using an allen key. The lock and cable simply docks with this in one movement, and can be detached or unlocked using the usual key. It certainly looks a lot easier than the old design in Kensington's demo videos.

The next advance might be to improve portability. Most locks come attached to steel cables nearly 2 metres in length, something portability-obsessed road warriors resent.

According to an IDC study quoted by Kensington, laptop theft from companies was now a major cost of business, affecting nine out of 10 companies. IT managers asked believed that 45 per cent of thefts would have been prevented had a lock been deployed.

"There are no more barriers or excuses for users not to comply with their employer's security policy," said Kensington Europe's Stephen Hoare. "Kensington introduced computer locks to the world and with this product, we are raising the bar for physical security standards."

Every laptop bar the Apple MacBook Air has a tethering point, usually called the 'Kensington port' in honour of the company that patented the idea. The Apple iPad also lacks such a security feature, although it is possible that future designs might include one if tablets start replacing laptops for day-to-day use.

The new ClickSafe lock retails at £59.99 ($69.99) or £74.99 ($89.99) for the twin-lock version cabale of securing two devices.

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John E Dunn

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