Your laptop is a personal window into your digital life. These days you do a lot of the same things on the Internet that you do (or did) in real life. Shopping, banking, socialising, plenty of things you would probably like to keep private too.
Maintaining privacy on the Internet is currently a pain and we have dozens of passwords to remember. The way round that for most is to have your browser remember the details and automatically log you into websites, or pre-fill the username and password fields so you just have the one button to press.
Convenience may be restored, but security may just have taken a hit. First, the password you use for your computer is now vital, as anyone with that has access to everything.
Secondly, do you ever leave your computer unattended? Perhaps at the office, or at school, or indeed in your home? Well, you really should be locking it. It might even be mandated by your company.
Remembering to lock your computer every time isn’t easy, and having to log in and out all the time can be quite a pain - but I’ve been testing out a neat little gadget these past few weeks that can solve all that.
The Gatekeeper 2.0 is an unassuming little key-fob that contains a bluetooth radio and some cleverness (well, software). Along with the supplied USB dongle, the Gatekeeper 2 can live in your pocket and detect when you’ve moved out of range of your computer - a small piece of software on your computer will then lock the device, keeping it secure until you return.
You have a choice as to what the computer does when you get back and the GateKeeper is detected. You can either have it do nothing, you can use a PIN code to unlock it, or you can have Gatekeeper unlock the computer for you.
I had a job testing that last one. How do I know it actually locked when I’d gone? It’s a bit like checking the light in the fridge actually goes out when you shut the door. Test it I did though and it works just as advertised.
The GateKeeper 2 is no one trick pony and it can also help out with the classic problem of losing something important, like your keys. Attach it to your keyring and install the Android or IOS apps and you can have your phone alert you when your keys (or whatever) have moved out of range. If you’re quite happy to move out of range, then instead of using the alert, you can have the key chime so that you can find which bit of the sofa your keys disappeared into. It’s really useful, especially if, like me, you’re always putting your keys down in different places without thinking.
Happily, there’s not really much else to it. If you find the Gatekeeper is locking the computer when you’re still close by, you can adjust the sensitivity up and down to get the range just right and after that, you can forget about it and know that no one else can tamper with your computer whilst it’s out of sight. If you forget your key, you can disable Gatekeeper for the day easily enough and companies can manage an entire fleet of Gatekeepers with the enterprise version of the software, although I've only tested the personal version.
Anything to criticise? Well, I’d like to see a rechargeable version of the gatekeeper down the line. This version takes a button battery, which on present course will last about 6 months. It’s not a big deal, because they’re cheap and you’re restored to full charge in seconds, but it would be nice to be able to connect it to a USB socket whilst I’m sat at the computer and charge it up whilst I don’t need it. That aside, it’s a product that just works and keeps your computer security tight without compromising convenience.
For further details, check out the product page here.
Thanks to Untethered Labs for the review sample.