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Kensington Laptop Locks Not So Secure

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the neither-is-anything dept.

Security 526

eric434 writes "According to a security alert released by Security.Org, the Kensington laptop lock that many of us use and love isn't secure. In fact, it can be opened in 30 seconds after about a minute of practice with a $1 worth of equipment. (A Bic pen, and a pair of scissors. In the interest of giving people some time to stop using the locks, the actual method of opening the lock is left up to the reader.) To make matters worse, Kensington's 'We'll give you $1500 if someone steals your laptop' guarantee doesn't apply -- because the process of opening the lock doesn't damage the lock or cable." Mind the source, though -- security.org wouldn't mind selling you a book on locks and safes.

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526 comments

First POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917093)

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Re:First POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917134)

/*
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*
* This post is free gayware; you can redistribute it and/or modify
* it under the terms of the GNAA Gay Nigger License as published by
* the Free Gayware Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
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*
* This post is made in the hope that it will be first, but WITHOUT ANY
* WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of UN-FAILABILITY or FRISTY-PSOTINESS.
*
* See the GNAA Gay Nigger License for more details.
* You should have received a copy of the GNAA Gay Nigger License
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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917094)

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Oh noes I failed it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917114)

God damn, I failed that shit so fucking hard that one might think I made a profession out of failing it.
LoL NiGGeRS LoL!

Timmay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917096)

TIMMMMM---AYYY!

moo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917097)

moo

Take the cable if you take my laptop... (5, Funny)

sloshr (608388) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917099)

sooo... if you steal my laptop, please take the cable and lock, so I can still get my $1500...

Re:Take the cable if you take my laptop... (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917130)

sooo... if you steal my laptop, please take the cable and lock

Modern thieves are picky, they only nick good products that have resale value. Kensington locks are, well, kindly left to you...

Re:Take the cable if you take my laptop... (5, Funny)

sloshr (608388) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917141)

...but I said please... :)

Re:Take the cable if you take my laptop... (0)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917300)

Tell you what, bundle a legal copy of DOOM 3 and we have a deal.

Doom 3? (0, Offtopic)

Cryptnotic (154382) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917339)

What would you want that for?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917100)

first post!

base64 failure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917137)

iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAGAAAAAOCAIAAABfBI5FAAAACX BIWXMAAA7EAAAOxAGVKw4b
AAAB3UlEQVR42u1XsbHCMAyVGY IF2IA9lDk8RLJBJsgC7nNHadpQmhK6lKYKE/gX784YOzHh
Xw IN6qTIlvz0JDvCOUc/mZYNEQkhiqJIvxVFIYS43W5Qz+dzVVVC CCFEVVXX6zV0hj3dJG9P
ZTSHNL3QeSpEJhmRlac9nXNaayJS SrlAlFJEpLWG2rZtGq9tW+8Pi0skb08l9DHGeLsxZmrb
qRCZ ZPI4PnlipZSSiPq+h9r3PRFJKUOViLqug6XrOlj8kv8BlD9P0z SoHBE1TbMgQPONNIpI
hBcS9WyCRLxbAyAiYmbnHDNHzp8GyD eR1honD9sHeA3DEG4xDEOI6eIAob9QAJAo7LK1AZJS
4mgUWZ mZmf2x5x9ykRmU9tflcvEED7tsbYDquq7rOgbIzxqk9UWAQE/0 1yiLvwPQlHc6Arzz
Si3mL4FI/C2xNkBKKRB2M+f5AICOx2No PJ1ORLTf76Giwvf7PfSBiuVvyeFweMu+uGy3291u
NxfOOdc8 RkZZlt5irS3LMr2hX5Y9Gv8RkdFlazPo8XWmN+6RzEPRWjvKFG a21r4FENAPNw9z
QJFSgPIjf4Fr/mXexhgwAkyJnraovFIKvQ ZolFKj6OQDIUq60FqL0J8ESPx+VvPyB9dP3Iz3
y2MmAAAAAE lFTkSuQmCC
Get rid of the spaces that Slashcode puts in and run it through your standard base64 decoder. Windows users go here [fourmilab.ch] .

pwnd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917103)

yap

How to make the warranty work for you (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917110)

We'll give you $1500 if someone steals your laptop' guarantee doesn't apply -- because the process of opening the lock doesn't damage the lock or cable.

After your lock has been cleanly picked, go to your local Home Depot, get a cable cutter and cut the cable yourself. Make sure you make a real mess of it. Then send back to Kensington and claim the $1500.

Re:How to make the warranty work for you (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917139)

Indeed.

I've always felt that anything that uses anything not easily cut with either a dremel or a pair of cable clippers to be really more show than anything else.

Not to say that doesn't help. It's pretty unquestionable to everybody else in the room that the person currently making lots of noise and the characteristic nasty odor of cutting through metal is not the legitimate owner.

Re:How to make the warranty work for you (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917183)

Except you're required to file a police report. Are you willing to file an incorrect police report to get your laptop replaced?

Re:How to make the warranty work for you (4, Informative)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917235)

A lot of product insurance contracts, notably cell phone replacement plans, require the filing of a police report but one can usually get past this by simply being stubborn and simply demanding your refund/replacement. I find that the long pause on the phone after they remind you of the police report requirement is often effective in getting them to drop the troublesome requirement in the name of "better customer service". After all if they get a reputation for hassling claimants then nobody will buy those warranty replacement plans anymore because "it isn't worth the hassle." With warranty replacement plans everything can be negotiated if you are persistent enough.

Re:How to make the warranty work for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917261)

To get $1500 I rightly deserve, you bet!

Re:How to make the warranty work for you (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917269)

Sure, why not? Cops lie all the time, even under oath. What's wrong with lying to them?

Re:How to make the warranty work for you (2, Interesting)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917351)

Okay lets weigh up the options.
1. File correct police report, don't get $1500, chances of police finding your laptop... none.

2. File a slightly incorrect police report, get $1500, by some random stroke of luck the police do find your laptop. Chances police believe that the thief is lying and just cut the lock with some bolt cutters... good

I know which one I would choose.

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Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917112)

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Re:Just got this spam e-mail (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917129)

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Wow. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917171)

I don't think I've ever got one as bad as that. Haha.

That's a horrible "warranty" .... (4, Insightful)

methangel (191461) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917119)

Just because the cable and the lock were not damaged does not mean that the lock and cable actually did the job correctly! Kensington should pay the warranty claim out since it was obviously ineffective in actually securing the device.

If you use this Kensington lock and your laptop gets jacked, use a pair of bolt cutters and damage your cable before filing your claim.

Re:That's a horrible "warranty" .... (4, Insightful)

weiyuent (257436) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917199)

Just because the cable and the lock were not damaged does not mean that the lock and cable actually did the job correctly! Kensington should pay the warranty claim out since it was obviously ineffective in actually securing the device.

If your laptop, bike, etc ever gets stolen and you try to claim the compensation money from the lock manufacturer, you will find that there are many restrictions on actually getting that money. That is because, as with any other insurance scheme, many unscrupulous people try to get the compensation money by dishonest means. So some genuine theft victims will be deprived of their deserved compensation, whereas other scammers might get away with the money. By and large, though, the majority of consumers are justly rewarded.

Re:That's a horrible "warranty" .... (3, Funny)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917247)

By and large, though, the majority of consumers are justly rewarded

Here on the interweb we like our statistics with links, thanks. And this [my-ass.com] doesn't count.

Re:That's a horrible "warranty" .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917299)

I would hope most judges will see include this method as "breaking the cable or lock by forceful means" ..because of what is _understood_ by the purchaser.

I Am Not A Lawyer.
I Am Not A Judge.

GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917120)

Only the GNAA can provide laptop security.

1500 dollers (4, Interesting)

satanicat (239025) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917124)

well. . I mean I guess it wouldnt matter to me wheather it was a len or a wire cutter. 1500 dollers might cover a good portion of the hardware costs, but usually the information on the drive itself is far more sensitive. What they need is a lock that causes the computer to self distruct.=) it not only protects the programmer, but teaches the thief a good lesson!

Re:1500 dollers (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917177)

Well, yeah.

Until you accidentally trigger it and get nasty third degree burns like only thermite can provide.

Re:1500 dollers (2, Insightful)

PabloJones (456560) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917221)

the information on the drive itself is far more sensitive

Or, far more useful. Let's say you have a lot of work stored on your laptop's hard drive. Maybe it was worth more to you than $1500, or even the laptop itself for that matter. You'd still have to go back and redo all your work, not only losing the price of the laptop, but the cost of your time as well.

Obviously, one should be backing up their important information, but that's not always feasible when one is on the go.

Re:1500 dollers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917230)

well. . I mean I guess it wouldnt matter to me wheather it was a len or a wire cutter. 1500 dollers might cover a good portion of the hardware costs, but usually the information on the drive itself is far more sensitive. What they need is a lock that causes the computer to self distruct.=) it not only protects the programmer, but teaches the thief a good lesson!

Australian Defence Force laptops (all thinkpads, that I've seen) have this. Try to break in and various parts of the laptop burst into flame.

See how easy it is getting data off a hard drive that's protected by a lithium/oxygen lock.

Re:1500 dollers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917313)

I still think the best "lock" is Beretta. But then, I'm American.

Wire Cutters (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917125)

Wouldn't a simple pair of wirecutters do the trick to begin with? I don't think you have to be McGuyver to get through those locks.

Re:Wire Cutters (5, Insightful)

jcain (765708) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917150)

Have you seen one of these cables? They are actually quite thick and strong, so wirecutters would not have any effect other than slicing the outer skin.

However, I'm sure there are tools for this job available at your local Home Depot or other hardware emporium. Just remember to make the cut nice and messy.

Re:Wire Cutters (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917219)

I'm sure one of these [vsnl.com] wouldn't have much trouble with the 1/4" steel cables most of those locks use.

Re:Wire Cutters (4, Interesting)

merlin_jim (302773) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917357)

I've worked with steel wire a bit in the past doing chainmail for SCA stuff. Graduated into chainmail jeweler, then just plain jeweler.

The particular wire they use is a strandad high tensile strength steel. The individual strands are probably 12-16 guage, the cable as a whole cladding included might be 4 guage.

To cut 16 guage half-soft steel wire takes a medium sized pair of bolt cutters and a lot of elbow grease. You could PROBABLY worry the cable through with those, but because you can't close the jaws on each individual strand, it's going to be more of a sawing motion.

To get through that cable you'll need a pair of bolt cutters whose jaws are large enough that the entire cable fits between them with no more than a 15-20 degree angle. And the leverage is going to be immense; 2-3 feet at least.

Not exactly a tool you could fit in your pocket :) The tool *is* available, you can probably find it for under $20. Most every hardware store will have one. They're used in construction to do exactly what the name implies; cut bolts :)

Re:Wire Cutters (1)

cmowire (254489) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917155)

Ahh, but if somebody leaves their laptop chained to a desk with other people, they are more likely to interfere if the person is *obviously* picking it instead of carefully unscrewing their pen.

So there really is a difference because, after all, laptop locks are probably for show anyway.

I just follow the "don't let one's laptop out of sight" strategy. Works well.

Re:Wire Cutters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917362)

This from the person who hates his thinkpad! You don't happen to live in the Boston area do you?

No, dumbass (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917170)

A simple pair of wirecutters would not remove the locking cylinder.

The point of the Kensington lock is not so much to secure the laptop to something as to ruin the resale value of it by virtue of the damage likely to occur to the laptop if the lock is forcibly removed.

This hack apparently allows the lock cylinder itself to be cleanly removed, rendering the lock useless and giving the thief a laptop to sell that doesn't scream out "Look at this torn-off case plastic! I was stolen!"

have to email author for details of the exploit (5, Informative)

Engineer Andy (761400) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917126)

For the sake of those who thought to RTFA, the article gets you to email the author regarding the details of the exploit.

Extract from article:
You may contact the author for further details as to the method of entry. All computer owners and administrators should be aware of the potential for theft if you utilize this device. The full details of how to compromise this device are contained in LSS+ Version 5.0 Multimedia edition of Locks, Safes, and Security. Kensington may be contacted for further information at 800-535-4242. The company was notified of the problem by the author on July 13, 2004 and has refused to comment on or acknowledge the problem, or to return any telephone calls or e-mails. The author believes that the manufacturer can remedy the problem and should be required to do so. All purchasers of this device may wish to request a replacement from the manufacturer that prevents this form of bypass.

Looking at picture of lock (-1, Flamebait)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917131)

They probably use the bic pin to set the pins and the scissors to apply the torque.

Re:Looking at picture of lock (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917156)

They probably use the bic pin to set the pins and the scissors to apply the torque.

You do realize that the DHS protects its laptops with Kensington locks, right? That means you just won free holidays in Cuba.

-- Signed: John A. <ashybaby@dhs.gov>

Re:Looking at picture of lock (4, Insightful)

itwerx (165526) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917200)

They probably use the bic pin to set the pins and the scissors to apply the torque.

Correct.
That method actually works for any/all barrel-type locks, though the better quality ones (e.g. vending machines) will have tighter tolerances and stronger springs making them much more difficult.
Kensington just needs to spend a few more bucks on a higher quality mechanism (preferably with more than 5 pins!! Geez...)

Re:Looking at picture of lock (1)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917273)

I dunno how you'd use a bic pen as a pick. I'm thinking this is a mechanical defect. Sure, the scissors could be used for torque, but there are better things for that, like a bent screwdriver. I think this is at a different point on the lock. Perhaps, and I'm speculating here, where the lock hits the cable?

Re:Looking at picture of lock (4, Informative)

DiscoBobby (196458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917275)

Parent's "Doom Tweak Guide" link is nasty-fake. Don't click. :)

Parents Sig is a string of nasty popups, KILL KILL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917377)

... do you trolls not realize that sometimes people read these things at work? Is your life really so horrible that you only derive pleasure from others misfortunes? =(... if so, you're welcome... I just lost my job. Fucker.

Hits me right where I live... (5, Funny)

Commander Spock (796626) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917132)

I just arrived home from an out-of-state family reunion, where I had my ThinkPad locked to a picnic table with a Kensington lock, to find out that my computer was not nearly as secure as I would have thought. My wife points out that there were pens and scissors there, too! They could have taken my preciousssss!

Re:Hits me right where I live... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917335)

Some family reunion...

What if my laptop isn't worth the 1500 ... (4, Funny)

methangel (191461) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917138)

Does this mean I can get a Powerbook to replace the Tandy 286 laptop I have sitting in my closet?

Re:What if my laptop isn't worth the 1500 ... (2, Funny)

Dmala (752610) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917187)

You might have some difficulty making the 286 laptop enticing enough to steal. Ford Escort owners often have the same problem.

Re:What if my laptop isn't worth the 1500 ... (1)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917198)

Install a case window and some cathode lights?

Re:What if my laptop isn't worth the 1500 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917302)

Just put one of those "Pentium IV inside" stickers on it. Most theives wouldn't figure it out until they turned it on.

Re:What if my laptop isn't worth the 1500 ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917359)

Even if it were a Tandy, just have it load up a Windows XP .jpg with a mouse cursor overlaying it and it'll go so slow the thief will think it's a Pentium IV running windows properly anyway.

HAHAHA I MADE TEH FUNNAY. LUNIX IS TEH BEST AND WINDOZE BY MICRO$$$OFT IS SLOW!@!@!@!@ LOLOLOLO UUUUUUUUUUU

Re:What if my laptop isn't worth the 1500 ... (1)

weiyuent (257436) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917224)

Does this mean I can get a Powerbook to replace the Tandy 286 laptop I have sitting in my closet?

Insurance underwriters weren't born yesterday. Invariably you have to supply adequate documentation to prove ownership of the stolen item in order to claim compensation.

Re:What if my laptop isn't worth the 1500 ... (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917374)

Well the laptop is sitting in his closet. I don't think the validity of his ownership of it is in question.

This is old news... (4, Funny)

anactofgod (68756) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917148)

I saw MacGyver do this years ago.

And *he* didn't need the scissors.

---anactofgod---

Re:This is old news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917208)

...or the bic pen!

just some bubble gum and an old shoe.

To Take Advantage Of This Flaw... (3, Funny)

Snagle (644973) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917162)

Kensington should start selling a lock for their laptop lock! Money in the bank if you ask me...

Hmm..... (3, Interesting)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917165)

I've seen those computer "locks" on the back of computers that need those special round keys. They replace screws to try to prevent someone from opening the case. What I found over time when working with them, is that you can just use a set of small pliers to twist them off. Not very secure at all.

Re:Hmm..... (1)

windex (92715) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917188)

I never got that either -- the lock itself, and the laptop insert for it, are both very well secured. The little chunk of metal that binds the two together is not. Yank, snap, pull. How hard is that?

The best applications of these locks are on the older cheap compaq's that would literally just fall to pieces if you ganked on the cable a little, case screws snapping out all over.. even if you were the owner of the box. Oops?

Don't Panic. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917168)

This is for ONE lock model, and not the security slot itself. Probably a product defect.

I can attest to this fact. (4, Insightful)

gellenburg (61212) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917176)

Most laptop locks are insecure.

Back in 2000 I had one of those Kensington motion sensing laptop locks which gave off this ear-piercing noise if anyone moved the device.

Thing was so insecure that I was playing with it in the airport on a business trip one day and I realized all I had to do was to push the pin inwards and it immediately came off.

Sure, the alam went off too, but it still wouldn't have stopped someone from jetting away and stealing the bag or laptop.

Now, I secure both my laptops (work and personal) the old fashioned way. I never let them leave my sight or I lock them in a locker or the trunk of my car.

Physical controls can't beat plain common sense sometimes when it comes to the security of your personal belongings.

Neer leave a laptop bag in the front-seat or rear-seat of your car iwhere it's in plain sight. That's just begging for someone to smash your window and steal it.

Also, don't carry your laptop around in one of those $200 leather laptop cases. I use a backpack. Sure, it was designed for a laptop but it doesn't look like it was. Maybe I have gym shoes and a change of clothes in there, or maybe I have an iBook, iPod, spare battery, Tréo 600, Passport, etc.

Then again, maybe I don't.

Re:I can attest to this fact. (4, Funny)

jpatters (883) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917193)

I carry around my gym shoes and a change of clothes in a $200 leather laptop case. That'll show 'em.

Re:I can attest to this fact. (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917216)

Thing was so insecure that I was playing with it in the airport on a business trip one day and I realized all I had to do was to push the pin inwards and it immediately came off.

I had one of these and they're a waste of $70.

Here's another good one: pick the thing up very very slowly, so it doesn't start screaming, lift it about 10" off the table, then slam it flat on the table, battery down, as hard as you can. The motion sensor will be busted right out and the thing won't peep a sound. If, by some misfortune, it does start beeping, press your thumb real hard against the hole underneath, where the piezo is, to silence it.

These things are crap, honestly. Stay away from it...

Re:I can attest to this fact. (2, Informative)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917227)

Also, don't carry your laptop around in one of those $200 leather laptop cases. I use a backpack. Sure, it was designed for a laptop but it doesn't look like it was. Maybe I have gym shoes and a change of clothes in there, or maybe I have an iBook, iPod, spare battery, Tréo 600, Passport, etc


Amen to that. I made the mistake of using a laptop bag to carry around my school books for a while. Left it in my backseat overnight and got my window busted out. Yeah, they didnt get away with a laptop, but I had to replace the window and school books. I'm sure it pissed them off too.

Re:I can attest to this fact. (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917312)

Yeah, they didnt get away with a laptop, but I had to replace the window and school books. I'm sure it pissed them off too.

Not necessarily. School books (University-level) are insanely overpriced, so they could still make a good bit off of that. Say you had 5 books in there, all retailing for $100. They could easily sell those books for $50-70 a piece on the streets of your local campus town, no questions asked, and make off with a good stash of drug money.

Re:I can attest to this fact. (3, Interesting)

DaveJay (133437) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917304)

>or I lock them in a locker or the trunk of my car

Don't try the trunk of your car in Chicago, even in the good neighborhoods. I've had windows broken and trunks entered for a duffel bag with a schoolhouse rock video tape. I've had trunks punched open with a screwdriver for some books. I once caught two kids in my car trying to pry an $18 tape player from under the dash. Hell, I once even left my car -- with nothing in it to steal, AND THE WINDOWS ALL HALFWAY DOWN -- and someone still punched a hold through the door skin to open the *unlocked* door with the *open* window.

rut-roh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917181)

I have one as a deterant (1, Insightful)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917184)

When I'm at Starbucks for a few hours, the caffine gives way eventually. Fortuantely the Starbucks I frequent gives police officers free coffee. I'm nieve enough to hope that one of them would notice if someone was taking pliars or a bic pen to my laptop while I was peeing.

Even so, it prevents someone from just picking it up as they walk by. That's all I ever hoped the cable would do.

Re:I have one as a deterant (1, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917243)

When I'm at Starbucks for a few hours, the caffine gives way eventually. Fortuantely the Starbucks I frequent gives police officers free coffee. I'm nieve enough to hope that one of them would notice if someone was taking pliars or a bic pen to my laptop while I was peeing.

Let's see, you stay at Starbucks for hours, you write english like my left foot, and you know police officers get free coffee: you wouldn't happen to be the guy behind the counter would you?

Re:I have one as a deterant (1)

jbltk (801038) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917301)

He shoots!

He scores!

Bravo.

Re:I have one as a deterant (2, Informative)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917278)

Also consider that each lock model has the same key throughout the line, so if someone really wanted a laptop he/she'd just need to buy the same model lock you're using and use that key.

I also use the cable lock as the "Laptop Club" when I leave my laptop unattended in the lab. If someone really wanted the machine, all is needed is a cable cutter or hacksaw to cut the thing the cable was wound around. Or I'm sure one could rip the lock connecter off the socket if tried hard enough. Cable lock is good for stopping the lazy-stealers.

Who could be doing this?? (4, Funny)

MagicDude (727944) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917191)

A Bic pen, and a pair of scissors...

Damn you MacGyver!!

Picking locks. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917205)

Hell, I can pop most locks in under a couple of minutes.
The cost is not the materials used, it's the expertise and practice. Be aware, most policemen are well aware what a set of picks looks like, even if you disguise them. :)

There are no secure laptop locks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917222)

Having met someone who is a self-confessed expert in "reappropriating" other people's property, I have been told any laptop lock can be twisted off easily with a pair of needlenose pliers with no damage to the laptop.

..or you can do it the easy way (0, Redundant)

the pickle (261584) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917237)

A cordless Dremel.

The Kensington locks are flimsy as heck. We had better cables than that on the computers in the labs in college, and I got a couple old Macs from them with the security tabs/cables still in place. A Dremel took it out in 30 seconds.

p

I'm curious... (2, Interesting)

weiyuent (257436) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917249)

...about the durability of the slot where one inserts the standard laptop locks. Though I'm not about to try it myself, I imagine that one could easily shear the lock off with the right amount of leverage and separate it from the laptop. Now it might take a bit of work to repair the chassis to re-saleable condition, but it's still possible, no?

Re:I'm curious... (1)

DiscoOnTheSide (544139) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917270)

I believe the goal of the slot is if you rip out the lock, it'll permanently damage the chasis and shell, thus making it unsellable, thus making it less a target, not making it "unstealable"

lock? you need real security (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917255)

Change your wallpaper to goatse.

p.s. Hello Mods. IANAtroll...

Funny lock story from Australia (5, Interesting)

HonkyLips (654494) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917262)

This reminds me of one of my favourite pieces of Australian TV.
I'm sure you are all familiar with steering wheel locks, the most well known in Australia is called a Club Lock.
A magazine called "Choice", which reviews and tests products, reviewed all available steering wheel locks and claimed that the Club Lock could be defeated in less than 30 seconds by someone with no experience at car theft.
The manufacturer responded by modifying and improving the lock mechanism, but the magazine repeated their claim that it could be defeated easily.
This went on for about 4 generations of Club Lock and saw the introduction of a "star shaped" key to making picking the locks "impossible", as well as other developments. But Choice maintained that the Club Lock had not been fixed and anyone could defeat it in under a minute.
A local TV current affairs show filmed a carpark showdown between the manufacturer of the Club Lock and a reporter from the magazine, as the manufacturer prepared to release their latest model and the magazine claimed it would be able to defeat it in less than 30 seconds.
They were screaming at each other in a car park and honestly looked like they were going to hit each other. The manufacturer claimed (in near hysteria) that it was impossible for someone to pick their locks, and that the magazines claims were wrong. The magazine denied this, and so were challenged to demonstrate their claim on TV.
A brand new model Club Lock was placed on a car steering wheel.
The magazine reporter got in the car, grabbed it, and gave it a good hard yank, and it came off easily.
The manufacturer went very very quiet.

The funny thing about this - and the reason I remember it - was that the people who made Club Locks never asked the magazine HOW they'd been defeating their product. They all assumed that the locks had been picked. Practically all the improvements they made to the product over 4 years were in improving the lock mechanism. They never expected that the piece of metal which hooks around the steering wheel was so weak it could be easily bent. They shouldv'e thought laterally.
Anyway it was very funny. Trust me, I still remember it and it was about 15 years ago.

Re:Funny lock story from Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917280)

Anyway it was very funny. Trust me, I still remember it and it was about 15 years ago.

It must be really boring in your little corner of Australia...

Re:Funny lock story from Australia (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917297)

Yea, there was a similar story here in the states, and the TV crew took a pair of bolt-cutters and cut the piece of metal that hooks around the steering wheel. It was amazing how easily it came off!

Re:Funny lock story from Australia (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917368)

You think there's a reason they're called BOLT cutters? They are long, unweildy and really hard to hide if you're carrying one, but they're effective and they have their uses.
An angle grinder will get through the boots they put on cars in no time flat, too... doesn't mean the boots are immediately ineffective.

Re:Funny lock story from Australia (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917391)

Don't forget Angle grinder man!

Re:Funny lock story from Australia (4, Informative)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917337)

Not to mention that steering wheels are actually pretty soft. If you've ever seen one of the crash-tests in slow-motion, the steering wheel looks like a rubber band during the impact. They're designed to be soft so as not to impale you when you're in an accident.

If a crook wants past your club, they can just cut through the steering wheel and remove the club.

I've seen a different sort of club-type device on TV that hooks around the brake pedal. Looks like a better product to use anyway.

As secure as a piece of string... (-1, Redundant)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917308)

Come on now... does ANYONE think this thing is secure? Sure, you can pick the lock, but any pair of decent wire cutters could snip this thing no problem. Think about how strongly people lock up their bikes, their bikes that, typically, cost much much less than their computers. I see $300 bikes around here with two of those super tough U-locks, and some 00 gauge cable locks. Total cost? About $40. At $55 that thing is not only incredibly overpriced, but flimsy as hell. Anyone that buys that and gets their laptop stolen shouldn't be surprised.

So what lock to buy (3, Interesting)

Unregistered (584479) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917309)

I have a powerbook. what loc should i buy if the Kensington one sucks?

Re:So what lock to buy (5, Funny)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917344)

I have a powerbook. What lock should I buy if the Kensington one sucks?
A shotgun.

All laptop locks suck! (5, Insightful)

DiscoBobby (196458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917310)

Look, laptop locks are psychological blocks, not physical blocks. If you can't hork a cablelock out of a plastic laptop case in less than 15 seconds you don't deserve to steal that laptop.

They keep honest people honest. They're speedbumps for the pros. Don't leave you leptop alone!

So, so corporate (1)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917316)

The whole thing is kind of depressing.

Kensington, a company which has, from my past experience, made good use of "good image marketing", has made a guarantee with a product, realized that that guarantee is, well, expensive, and now refuses to honor it.

The lock picking people are using the entire thing as a teaser to sell a product.

I'll bet if some lawyer picks up on this, they'll start a class action suit with horrible stories about how much damage could be caused, so on and so forth, and try to rake in a hefty percentage of some settlement which will give everyone else involved about $1.50 per person.

The problem with involving money in something is that we are taught to act like complete assholes in the name of earning money (and I'm not saying that we shouldn't), but where there's money, there's assholishness.

This is particularly sad because once-upon-a-time Kensington made really nice (though expensive) trackballs. A nice big ball, plenty of buttons, etc. I heard a story about one guy that asked if he could buy a replacement trackball ball because his son liked to play with his ball and eventually lost it, and Kensington sent him a replacement ball -- and twelve more "for his son to play with". I thought that was kinda cool.

Their trackballs are supposed to have been going downhill, though, with cheaper, shoddier parts (especially that "ring around the trackball scroll wheel" device).

Re:So, so corporate (1)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917378)

Had an old Kensington trackball once, but have since moved on to Logitech.

Reminds me of High School... (3, Insightful)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917318)

Most of the hardware at my high school was locked down to the desks using cable locks, but the mechanism used to attach it was certainly inferior to the kensington type.

Basically, there was a metal reciever that was screwed into a rubber/plastic pad that is epoxied to the hardware you want to keep. The cable is slipped through the reciever and then locked to a suitably heavy piece of cheap furniture, while the other end was to large to pass though the reciever However, since the unlocked end was not attached to anything, you simply slacked the cable, then passed the end under and around to unscrew the reciever from the epoxied pad.

It wouldn't have worked if it was riveted instead of screwed, but then again, it's a really a deterrent in the end.

TROLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917319)

Real problems that be any fucking market. Therefore, declined in market For a living got today. It's about Long time FrreBSD over a quality NOTORIOUS OPENBSD Worse and worse. As

Wewt! (3, Informative)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917320)

I got it, I think! It's a tubular lock, but a damn big one with weak springs. Use the scissors as a torque wrench to apply constant turning pressure. Use the pen to push in the individual pins. Very weak lock.

This gives me something to try at work tomorrow. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9917332)

This gives me something to try at work tomorrow.

DMCA to the rescue... (5, Funny)

CHaN_316 (696929) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917341)

Just use the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause and ban bic pens, and scissors! I'm sure this follows the spirit of the law, and totally what the legislators intended the DMCA for. Enforcement of this ban should be pretty easy as well...

I don't need a lock for my laptop... (5, Funny)

jacobdp (698004) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917350)

I just leave my crappy old 150mhz Toshiba next to a few friends' Powerbooks.

Problem solved.

"Guarantees replacement" (4, Interesting)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 9 years ago | (#9917365)

From the Kensington product description page [kensington.com] linked in the article:

Guarantees replacement of any locked laptop that's stolen

Sounds pretty specific, huh? ANY locked laptop that's stolen... Which is quite different than what it says when you click the warranty link [kensington.com] on the page...

If theft of your laptop computer results from the Kensington Guaranteed Notebook Replacement MicroSaver computer lock being broken or opened by forceful means Kensington Technology Group will pay you the replacement value of your laptop up to US $1,500.00.

It goes on to say:

Kensington Technology Group will NOT be liable if the theft occurred because: ... ... D. The laptop was stolen by any means other than violating or breaking the Kensington brand Guaranteed Notebook Replacement MicroSaver Lock.

Now... that seems pretty vague to me. Are they talking specifically about the locking device? Or are they talking about the entire thing and calling it the Guaranteed Notebook Replacement MicroSaver Lock because that's the name of the product? Vague vague vague...
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