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UK firm brings Mission Impossible IV to laptop users

This is a guest post by RLSLOG reader Hemant Sahi.

No, I’m not talking about any movie releases here, but if you got very hyper for a second after reading the headline, well, I’m glad I caught your attention. Because what I am going to tell you is nothing less than a trick from a probable MI movie. A UK firm Virtuity has created data protection software called BackStopp which comes with ‘self-destruct’ technology based on Wi-Fi and RFID tags that starts to run as and when a laptop is moved from its designated space.

So in layman’s terms, if the laptop is moved from its permitted zone (which is set by the user) Backstopp sends out a self-destruct message to block access and ultimately destroy data, locating the laptop using Wi-Fi and radio frequency identification technology. What’s even cooler is that any laptop featuring an in-built webcam will be prompted to start taking photographs to help identify the thief.

There are millions of people out there who keep very secure data on their laptops which, if fallen into the wrong hands can cause damage to a lot of people. This FBI/CIA type security tool brings advanced security to all laptops users at a very affordable price of £10 per laptop per month.


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  1. invoker
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:06

    You gotta be kidding me right?

  2. jackson
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:07

    what could possibly go wrong lol…


  3. February 22nd, 2008 | 05:09

    Interesting article, thanks for posting :D

    Just looking at that freak scientologist Tom Cruise makes me cringe though :S

  4. David Webb
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:12

    yea but what if this thing looses signal and deletes your files anyway??? whats the point of such a tool anyway?? youre going to get your important files deleted so you most likely create a backup somewhere so you can pretty much get rid of the file on your computer as its just a security rick :D just a nice gadget but to me pointless

  5. February 22nd, 2008 | 05:13

    ToM Cruise has to protect his secret CoS diaries !

  6. RoFLCaKeS
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:14

    Whats there to kid about?

    It’s a fact that alot of Laptops are stolen everyday, I think this is a multi-million pound business, its just started and it will grow, I’m sure many people would like to feel that their data is safe and won’t be accessed should thiefs get their dirty hands on it.

    It’s a brilliant idea!

  7. coolisstillgood
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:15

    that’s great. I wish I could come up with this idea sooner. It’s pretty smart.
    a year ago,around 3am, 2 guys broke in to my friend’s place and the only thing that they could steal was his laptop full of projects and the thing was couple of those projects were due to next week and we had to show the police report to the professor so he wouldn’t fail. There were no way that he could do them from the beginning and he had no back up and it was like the drawing and calculation of a multistory building.
    If we just had any software which could be self destructed after leaving the premises, we could have set those bastards on fire on their way out from the building.hahahahah

  8. no_rlz
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:15

    sweet news for secret agent, just like me =)

  9. emzmansion
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:16

    where can i get this

  10. missionfailed
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:19

    this is nuked

  11. David Webb
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:20

    @ roflcakes

    yes but most people would like to prevent their files from getting accessed and deleted. a program that somehow disables the hard drive would be better as the information cant be opened or deleted (unless you actually break physically). but what are they going to steal from me thats that important?? all those isos i have from preretail movies or my pron :D

  12. David Webb
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:23

    besides cutting the power from the laptop before its moved would most like solve the problem

  13. Bubble
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:26

    I don’t understand how the self-destruct mechanism is legal.

    Wouldn’t you need some kind of license to carry an explosive device when buying these laptops?

  14. Beaulieu
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:29


    I hope you are joking…

  15. blip
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:39

    hail xenu

  16. Armando Casas
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:43

    just wait for the iphone self destructer. i freak, weird and riddiculous this technology

    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:47

    I want a laptop that if stolen will start taking pictures, record sound, have a touch pad that takes fingerprints, have GPS location installed with automatic wireless transfer even when the laptop is turned off.

    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:48

    ^^ And one more thing. I’d want the laptop to blow up upon my demand, killing whoever stole it.

  19. Blah
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:50

    …and we should care about this because?

  20. Xenu Warrior Princess
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:52

    Is there a way to block wi-fi signals? Some sort of jammer that wouldn’t allow Backstopp to send the signal to the craptop to know it’s been moved out of its permitted zone and blow self-destruct?

  21. IC
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:54

    20 bux says this is easily bypassed and avoided, or completely negated almost right away..

  22. G
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:55

    it doesn’t mean the laptop will blow up it means it will “self destruct” the data.

    its still a silly idea. why have a laptop if you cant take it out of a specified area?

  23. rufio
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:55

    that sounds really cool

  24. Law
    February 22nd, 2008 | 05:56

    I would steal one of these laptops from someone, and then stick it in a movie theater, and point it towards the screen. Then when it powers itself up and turns on the video camera, the owner will get five years in jail for camming a movie.


  25. KINGQ
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:01

    I bring my laptop on vacation, therefore not using my house Wi-Fi. I also use it in airports. Therefore, would it “self destruct” then??

  26. clever
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:01

    lol @ 24

  27. The Pro
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:02

    What if this takes off and you go into an office filled with these laptops and you have a wifi jammer in your pocket and all of them destroy themselves.Would you be interested in that?

  28. synonymous
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:04

    Interesting, though I’d rather not have my laptop destroyed just because it was stolen. I’d rather just have it email pictures of the thief to the police/fbi so that they can track down the thief. Either that or just install a lo jack service in the laptop (if I remember right, those are available).

  29. clever
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:04

    If you have important data to protect – buy an Acer. Nobody would want to steal your crappy laptop!

  30. blah
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:10

    I came up with a similar idea involving thermite in 8th grade (2000)…

    The fact that it relies on WiFi seems like it should be pretty easy to spoof. Also, wouldn’t it destroy your data if the access point goes down ??

  31. BackStopp is useless
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:16

    A good encryption is better, as HD can be taken to another computer for easy reading. BackStopp don’t have the opportinity to even start, so it’s bypassed completely. Because it’s bypassed, no web cam pictures, location or other info about thief available. After wiping the HD the thief can use or sell the laptop anyways. BackStopp is nearly as useless as BAT/CMD file run at startup, but sold by M.I. hype.

  32. CptnSlapAHoe
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:29

    @ Law 24

    ROFL. I’d pay you if you did it :P

  33. Atomic
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:30

    First of all this depends how the system is designed to send/receive these self destruct messages. If the messages are sent from a base station to the laptop, then once the laptop is out of wifi range of the base station it cannot receive the self destruct messages to begin with. Heaven forbid you turn off or put the laptop to sleep before you move it too, or turn off wifi using the hardware switch.

    There are a lot of short comings and flaws in the system no matter which way the whole thing is designed/implemented because of the nature of wireless communication, mobility and hardware failures.

    On the other hand if the thief had no idea that the laptop had the backstopp system at all, the system would most probably work a lot of the time despite all the flaws, assuming the laptop was on or turned on at some point before the hard drives were physically removed (if at all) from the laptop.

    It would be a good system for your average laptop user if it can be made simple enough, but depending how the thing is designed/implemented, there is a high possibility that the system can accidently self destruct because of the high number of things that can “go wrong” out of the blue or not even self destruct at all when it is supposed too.

  34. essequemodeia
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:35

    Martin, do you speak English natively?

  35. tommy
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:36

    that pic of tom cruise should be enuf to scare off any theifs…just set it as ur desktop wallpaper :P

  36. mropinion
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:36

    So what if you just take out the battery and power supply of the laptop before you move it.

    then remove the HDD and access it through another computer.

  37. Grosg
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:40

    May Xenu kill all Scientologists!

  38. Atomic
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:41

    The actual idea/concept of the whole thing is good, but like everyone else is saying the actual practical and final product won’t be all that crash hot, because of the high number of different situations that need to be taken into account of when not to delete data and when you should. Unless the person buying the system fits perfectly into the situation that the system was designed for, it’ll most probably only be sold to people without very much knowledge on the topic and who think it’s a really cool thing, until one day they walk out to their backyard and everything gets destroyed. Marketing will always make the most stupidest things look good, and they will always look good until you sit down and actually look at what they don’t tell you, which is everything it/you can’t do

  39. Cookie Monster
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:42

    I don’t think that’s very safe….

  40. 1040steman
    February 22nd, 2008 | 06:52

    I have just purchased a Lenovo Laptop and opted for the 3 year extra security option you speak of at a cost of $199 Aus Dollars.
    Not sure about data loss if stolen as the Lenovo has Fingerprint
    Tech to access the drive. But the comps whereabouts can be tracked if reported stolen.

  41. kperovic
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:05

    So what happens if a relative or roommate unknowingly takes your laptop out of your room and brings it downstairs or something because YOUR laptop has all the cool movies on it? What happens if you need to take it somewhere in a hurry – do you have to turn it on, disable the feature, and then log off again?

    I’d much rather just have a chip inside the computer and have a phone number to call or website to go to that would activate this self-destruct feature rather than doing it automatically. Of course, it should upload my data to a remote server before deleting it off of the laptop and how much space I reserve to backup my files should determine the cost of my membership. Also, certain things – like the operating system – should remain intact in case I’m able to recover the laptop.

  42. 1040steman
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:11

    Must add that nothing self-destrucks on the software that I have. Just gets tracked if the comp is reported stolen.

  43. 1040steman
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:12

    Oops..thats “destructs”

  44. paerker
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:27

    yall slow post it up already
    Windows XP Service Pack 3 (32-bit x86) Release Candidate 2

    i got it it rocks

  45. paerker
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:27

    Windows XP Service Pack 3 (32-bit x86) Release Candidate 2

  46. Anonymous Too
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:31

    From their website…

    “As soon as you realise your laptop is stolen, either notify your Backstopp operator or login to the BackStopp Control Panel hosted at http://www.BackStopp.com.

    Upon receiving a secure decommission message all data on the lost or stolen device will be destroyed using US Department of Defence standards.

    A detailed report allows the operator to see what data was destroyed, the device’s last known location and even the possibility of a photo of the culprit.”

    This is what they call secure?

  47. Logic
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:32

    Maybe you could set the program to simply lock down the system through encryption and ask for a special password. That way they can’t just use a linux boot cd and get to the files anyway, plus your sensitive data is protected from the thief.

  48. lala
    February 22nd, 2008 | 07:33

    all you need to do is add a fingerprint reader thats all.

  49. sudo nihm
    February 22nd, 2008 | 08:26

    So – let me get this straight – someone steals your laptop, so the software destroys data on the laptop, but allows images of the person who stole the laptop, presumably close ups of his armpit, to be taken by the still functioning webcam. Thief now has partially formatted laptop and snaps of his escapade. Niiiice.

  50. Matt
    February 22nd, 2008 | 08:31


    I was wondering how the webcam thing would help at all. Unless the webcam is attached to the part of the laptop you close it will show nothing :/

    Most laptops I see are put above the screen so if it was stolen the screen would be closed and it would be taking pictures of the keyboard :?

    I love how some of the first posters though this would actually blow up the laptop. I saw one poster asking if it was legal to put explosives in a laptop, lol learn to read. Even if they did put explosives in a laptop it would cost more then $10 a month to get and would be manslaughter if they killed someone, that seems smart :/

  51. Dorje
    February 22nd, 2008 | 08:37

    Sounds cool, it’d be really nice to track down the thieving [email protected] Might make for some interesting youtubes. They might look a little like this http://www.baitcar.com/

    lol @ 24 & 29 :D

  52. lala
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:14

    forget that sh*t for that just buy a laptop that has a built in fingerprint reader. or if laptop dont have it. can you buy it as a accessories?

  53. DaLoon
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:16

    should come in handy with the UK government :lol: seeing as they like losing things like laptops , shame they cannot do it to dvd disc’s to :lol:

  54. erh
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:17


  55. erh
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:18

    ———>This software to protect stolen laptops is technically stolen when its released on torrent sites<———ROFL

  56. jollywood
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:27

    how about removing the battery, removing the HD, and then removing the data from the HD from an external source….or you could just remove the wi-fi…problem solved.

  57. avenger-red-six
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:35

    so wit dis will I be able to paly hal03 on my lappy?

  58. dublitze
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:46

    very interesting app – for 007 agents very usefull

  59. shazaaam
    February 22nd, 2008 | 09:52

    Tom Cruise shoul die in scientology hell

  60. Anon
    February 22nd, 2008 | 10:27

    Yup…. none of us here are Anon.

  61. not just wifi
    February 22nd, 2008 | 10:32

    “…locating the laptop using Wi-Fi and radio frequency identification technology.”


    better explanations on how it works.

    Mild file security like this could do well against someone that doesnt even know that its in the system. You may work somewhere that requires you to keep certain files like client information confidential. Lawyers, Private detectives, and other proffessions that require confidentiality would put this system to good use.

    “…the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications. used on cell phones)card intercepts the decommission instruction and securely deletes the specified data on the laptop. All this happens before the machine is logged on and is invisible to the user. BackStopp’s GSM functionality can be utilised on laptops with built-in GSM chips or through 3G USB Modems.”

    “While the computer is in range of a valid RFID reader the machine operates as normal. If the machine is moved out of range of the readers the data is securely deleted from the machine with no intervention required.” Its sort of works like a ankle bracelet on a defendant on probation. As soon as the laptop moves out of range from the readers it suffers the consequences. I believe that this part also deletes specific data also.

    Its not as crappy as you guys make it out to be.

    You are a Private Investigator working on a case with a known fellon as the person you are supposed to be survailing. He finds out somehow. Follows you back to your office and steals your laptop thinking to himself that the laptop could be the key to finding out why you are watching him and who hired you. He grabs it goes out the way he went in and the security system deletes the logs and client information you had on the laptop. Boom. You prevented the suspect from finding out who the client is and who knows what would have happened if he found out. Possible murder.

    You saved a life. O.o

  62. ÆØÅ
    February 22nd, 2008 | 13:55

    I wanna program it to explode.or just make it Do a LOUD warning stating the intention to do so!!!!THIS MACHINE WILL SELFDESTRUCT IN 5 SECONDS!!!ill love to see that face on webcam

  63. hdfghdh
    February 22nd, 2008 | 13:59


    The Russians will break any protection next time they steal your government secrets. So is this laptop for home users?

  64. hdfghdh
    February 22nd, 2008 | 14:00

    I just read this at their site:

    “BackStopp integrates with a secure online backup service”


  65. hrhse
    February 22nd, 2008 | 14:10

    typical english, they are a joke of a people and country. losers

  66. Alexander
    February 22nd, 2008 | 16:35

    So if I buy this laptop, is there a chanse to blow up in my face because I accidently moved to another spot……hummmmmm……because it’s laptop, made with purpose to be moved around???

  67. Ash Ketchum
    February 22nd, 2008 | 16:46

    Already read about it on gizmodo. Their version is a bit funny. :D


  68. J
    February 22nd, 2008 | 20:24

    If some one can write bytes to take photograph and delete datas the other encrypter who studies the software can write bytes to stop the program performing the task not a big deal.In this case the Laptop is the source ….once u switch off the laptop and remove the wifi card what will the software do .will it erase …naaaaaaaaaaa If a man made software software is built another man made software can hack it ….

  69. captainkremmen
    February 22nd, 2008 | 20:38

    Kind of agree with others here. Useful in principal but, for home users at least, could cause problems. Many non techies will sign up for this because it is cheap, they see the news about all that identity theft that the media tells us is all over the place and want to protect their data.

    Problem 1. Most of the data you would want private is held by your bank, employers, benefit agencies, tax office, health service or doctor etc. etc. Doesn’t matter how secure your laptop is if they lose your data. Definately a problem if you live in the UK, our stupid government and their agencies seem to lose data all the time.

    Problem 2. Many people WILL forget the system is running and will take their laptop out of range, to a friends, into the garden or whatever, turn the laptop on and find everything has gone.

    Better option is to download Truecrypt and then encrypt your entire hard drive using one of the most secure algorithms, just dont forget your password.

  70. originalprankster
    February 23rd, 2008 | 23:01

    i wish tom cruise would selfdestruct whenever someone moved him…

    oh, and @66 – BRITAIN (not england) has just declared war on you..

  71. john
    February 25th, 2008 | 06:41

    just get a finger print reader for your laptop.

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