ThinkPads with fingerprint readers now widely available

ThinkPads with fingerprint readers now widely available

LAS VEGAS'Instead of relying on long passwords that can be guessed or forgotten, selected models of IBM Corp.'s ThinkPad T42s notebooks, aimed at the government market, are starting to ship with biometric fingerprint readers, company officials told GCN Labs this week at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show.

The notebooks also ship with an embedded security subsystem to drive even more powerful security protection.

'We raised the bar on security for the entire PC industry,' said Fran O'Sullivan, general manager of IBM's personal computing division, soon to become part of China-based Lenovo Group Ltd.

'What was once considered sci-fi technology is now available to all enterprises, large and small,' O'Sullivan said. '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.'

The fingerprint reader is included on select models of the ThinkPad T42s series. With the new reader, located on the wrist rest below the arrow keys, users swipe their finger across a small, horizontal sensor to log on to their systems, software applications, Web sites or databases. This type of fingerprint reader captures more data than a traditional reader because it scans more of the fingertip's surface area, helping to prevent misidentification.

The security subsystem runs IBM's Client Security Software Version 5.4, which allows fingerprint identification and complex pass phrases to be used interchangeably or in combination. The new software and the embedded security chip are integrated with the fingerprint reader, protecting vital security information, such as encryption keys, electronic credentials and pass phrases, and guarding against unauthorized user access.

The T42s notebooks are available now on most government schedules. Models start at $1,699.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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