Nowadays, most of our cell phones come with a protection method that disables the stolen device from being wiped out. This method has reduced phone related thefts, as the thieves are no longer able to resell the locked devices. However, there is now such feature in laptops, which makes it unsecured.
Microsoft recently announced always-connected PCs, which will bring cellular connectivity to laptops. Now according to new Microsoft patent, users will not even need a cellular subscription to protect their device.
The device will use the same “emergency call” technology which allows the users to make emergency phone calls to specific numbers even without a SIM. Using that as a protection measure means allowing the transmission of a signal to disable the device even with its cellular connectivity turned off or SIM removed. A brief summary of the patent is given below:
Microsoft patent description:
At least some embodiments described herein relate to the restricted use of a cellular network to facilitate disablement of a device that is suspected lost or stolen. Accordingly, 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.
Accordingly, the device may receive a disable command from the disablement service over the cellular network, and acknowledge processing of the disable command to the disablement service also over the cellular network. Thus, efforts by an unauthorized possessor of the device to prevent disablement by removing the physical authentication module are thwarted. Likewise, turning the cellular service off using software settings at the device also does not prevent the device from being disabled via cellular network communication.