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Review of locks and signaling for notebooks' security 
Published 2007/4/10
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The mobile calculating devices have substantially got into our life, however in our country they are still rather "subjects of luxury" and consequently the object of the intent attention of the thieves. More by token, constantly appearing all more perfect and therefore expensive gadgets only intensify the agiotage around portable technology. The mobile telephones' thefts today became one of the the most wide-spread type of the crimes.

Recently notebook has been "A rare bird" in our country and anything but everyone could straightway identify an expensive org. technology in the grey flat box. However we can't doubt anymore that very soon "computer-literate" thieves will pay their attention to this more then perspective type of technology. More by token, the problem of safety is actual for videoprotector owners, as well as the other portable equipment.

Locks and signalling presented in given review will allow you to protect practically any moved property from criminal encroachment. We'll note that the comparison of such products of the same class and superior detection is not a purpose or a task of the given article. We selected not similar but unique examples of the protective systems just to fully characterize all the types of devices available in our country.

Mechanic locks

Hama Notebook Cable Lock

The thick steel rope 1,5 m long with a loop on the one end and butt cylindrical lock on the other. Seven pairs of dowels and red-hot ball, located in the centre (obstructs drilling), settle the optimism in comparatively a high level of steadiness against breaking in. The thin plastic laying must prevent from the damage of the notebook body from the contact with a lock, with which the butt end of the adapter for connector Kensington is glued over. Cable Lock is closed without a key which considerably simplifies its usage.

Conceptronic Cable Lock for notebooks

The lock is vested in strong steel body. It's hard to class the diameter of a little rope as far as it's covered with translucent black plastic shell. However, it's possible to speak confidently that it's considerably thicker than combined devices (superposed with signalling). There are seven protective systems, however the red-hot ball is absent tat obstructs the drilling. The lock is closed by pushing the central (inside) part of cylinder. The butt end adjoining to the body of the protected equipment, is glued over with thick rubber laying, which prevents delicate covering of your notebook or projector from damages.

Kensington MicroSaver Retractable

The lock of the famous company does not wholly justify expectations related with it. Certainly, the company has succeeded in questions concerning the style: gray plastic body of device with soft insertion-curtains on the sides looks like a nice computer mouse. After pushing the button it's possible to put out rather thin steel rope with 1,5 mm diameter and 1,2 m long. Round lock has five pairs of dowels and a bit displaced from the centre red-hot ball that complicates the drilling. It is closed and opened with a key that is not so comfortable. The rope intake inertial mechanism works one time of two. The plastic curtains remarkable from the aesthetic standpoint yet disturb to fix the device quickly on the protected equipment.

Targus DEFCON VPCL VideoPort Combination Lock

The abbreviation VPCL in this case means Video Port Combination Lock. This four-disks code-mechanical lock presents a block with 2 meters long rope made of galvanized steel with diameter 4,5 mm that connects to VGA-connector. Really, there are some existing variants for serial ports, as well as with usual locks.

VPCL attaches to VGA-port by means of special through cable-adapter, to which in it's turn the code-mechanical lock is connected. With the help of small adapter it's possible to secure both the desk PC and any other equipment. Also there is a screw-lamb applied compatible on thread with the holes of system block computer covering.

However it seemed insufficient to designers and they also put in the pack fixing plate with a hole for a rope, which is glued and/or screwed to any stationary subject. Well note that the lock is closed and opened with the help of screwdrivers that is not so comfortable.

Porto Notebook Security System PL-300

This four-disk code lock is highly simple by its construction. It is equipped with rather strong steel rope, moreover, there is a lock with adapter for Kensington slot attached to one of its end and there is a loop made on another in which is possible to pass the rope through to fix protected equipment.

Unfortunately, the PL-300 construction (the button and four disks without false slots) suffers from the same defects, as a Porto lock-signaling presented further in this review. The correct combination pushing the button is really possible to feel. So to line up the necessary numerals a disk by disk is not so complicate, moreover, in light of the absence of the signaling it's possible in detail and with placement to attend with this deal.


Porto lock-signaling

The device consists of three-disk mechanical code lock with retractable steel rope and electronic signaling. The small adapter of the cylindrical form attaches to notebook, which the rope is passed through. The adapter is inserted in Kensington slot and is fixed in it by pushing and tumbling the handle. Having passed the rope through a hole you fix the handle hereunder blocking the system. The number of three numerals is pressed on the code lock and the free end of the rope is inserted into receiving hole. To extract the rope it's necessary to press the correct code and press on the key.

If there is a 9 battery installed in lock-signaling then after latch up the buzzer will beep twice confirming the device activation. Now with any notebook displacement or breakaway of the rope sound signaling is turned on.

Unfortunately, it's enough simple to select a correct combination in practice: it is only necessary to listen to reaction of device on different positions of the code disks - firstly to find the right number for the first (on move of the button), afterwards second and then third.

DICOTA Sentinel Alarm System

This given device is basically oriented on the protection of the load and different equipment, not equiped by the standard Kensington lock (the necessary adapter is absent in supply kit). However, the mechanism of protection here differs from other considered in review systems. In particular, a short lace of signaling is possible to be attached only on the protected property over and above it is very thin, so it will hardly stand firm even against usual clipper.

The thing is that signaling works out with the change of device displacement or flounce. And even if someone is going to cut the weak wire, at the moment it'll call back the signal with power of 100 dB. A metallic ball seems to be used here as a sensor which rolling in spherical camera links the contacts. Really, herewith is possible to carry painlessly away the baggage, not changing its position and not making a flounce.

The system management is realized by means of wireless remote control. There are two levels of sensor motion sensitivity available. There is a button of the momentary start of the signal - a Panic mode. Sentinel Alarm also indicates the low level of the battery charge.

Targus DEFCON 1 Ultra-Portable Alarm System

The given device presents a combination of four-disk code-mechanical lock with retractable steel rope 90 cm long and 2,4 mm diameter, as well as signaling, equipped by a sensor of the motion.

The system works from the three batteries of the AAA type. There are two levels of sensor sensitivity. On the first level the siren works out eight seconds after the motion, but on the second level after four. Before this moment notebook signaling indicates the notebook dislocation with separate sound beep signals. Obviously, such a delay is incorporated in consequence of the remote control absence; after all in the process of the code lock opening you certainly will alarm the device.

There is an adapter for Kensington slot included in the supply kit for connection to notebook. The procedure of installation is simple: a metallic gag with a hole is stretched out, the device snuggles to the laptop body slot, a gag is inserted into the place - fixation occurs. A rope is passed through a hole, which does not allow taking the gag out. A working adapter butt end is glued over with a thick styrofoam laying, preventing from the damages of notebook surface.

From the deficiencies we'll note very tough contacts, maximally obstructing the battery change process, as well as not the highest level of the signal volume. Though nominally Targus DEFCON 1 exceeds by power a DICOTA Sentinel Alarm System giving 105 dB, in reality it produces less impressive effect.

Targus DEFCON 3

The signaling with a remote control in clear type (the adapter for a connection to Kensington slot is not even purveyed). This is probably the most functional device from all presented in te given review. The user can not only expose two levels of sensitivity (2 and 6 seconds of the unceasing motion) but also the level of volume (84 and 94 dB), as well as the type (tune) of the signal.

Fixation of signaling on a protected subject is realized by means of thin and short metallic rope. The device works out not only with the motion detection, but also with an effort of disconnecting or cutting the rope. The signaling works from the three batteries of the AAA type, remote control works from the battery of the 1811A type.

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