Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review: GateKeeper Wireless USB Smart Key and Intelligent Computer Lock

When it comes to security one of the most overlooked areas I typically see is one of the most basic fundamentals, utilizing your built in lock-screen to keep prying eyes out of your device. This seems to be true whether we are talking smartphones, tablets or PCs. For most of us I think it is a matter of inconvenience, or for me the forgetfulness of simply not remembering to lock my screen (my timeout time is a bit long as well).

Luckily for me the folks over at GateKeeper have come up with a new option that I've been fortunate enough to test out for you guys! GateKeeper has developed a wireless intelligent key that automatically logs you in and out based on your proximity to your computer or workstation. No longer do you have worry about timeouts or remembering to lock your computer. You simply carry your wireless Keyfob around (on your badge, in your pocket whatever) and walk away. Once you are no longer within your pre-defined range GateKeeper will automatically lock your PC for you.

The GateKeeper Key and USB Lock communicate using Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology to authenticate you when you are in proximity to computer. It has an effective range of 30 feet and can be controlled to limit the range from anywhere between 3 and 30 feet. The GateKeeper key is 50mm x 25mm x 6mm; 10gm or roughly the size of a Tile Bluetooth Tracker (as seen below) while the USB dongle is a standard micro size used by other wireless devices.

GateKeeper next to the Tile, XY3 and TrackR Bravo
Your credentials are encrypted with military-grade AES256 encryption and stored on the computer. No private information is stored on the Keyfob and credentials are never transmitted over the air – so nothing private can be sniffed or obtained from taking a Keyfob. Once the GateKeeper software and USB transmitter are installed the computer will automatically lock if they are removed.Giving you just one more level of security.

Setup within the software is pretty straightforward. You have options for setting up you lock or login to your computer, range of proximity, a signal strength indicator and a few options for notifications. Personally I prefer and recommend using the touch to login option as this allows you to keep your device locked when you are nearby and aren't ready to use it. Otherwise once you are back on range your computer automatically unlocks (as it should).

Aside from the software for your PC is software for your phone that allows you to use your phone as a tracker and locator for your Gk Keyfob. The software (Android) or our phone did not want to pair with our device so we didn't get to fully test it. The app will connect to the GK Keyfob and a meter will indicate how far it is from the smartphone. As you walk around, the app will indicate whether you have moved closer or further away from the GK Keyfob. Using the "LOCATE" feature will also cause the GK Keyfob to buzz making it easier for you to find your lost valuables.

A Geek's Opinion About The GateKeeper

I am notorious for leaving myself logged on while I'm doing other things around the office or while I'm out working in the field. Luckily, the worst thing that I've had done to me was a little Facebook prankery. Having said that, within the first day of using it I learned that this little device is a must have for me, in fact I think they should be must have's for most (out of)office environments! It literally is a set and forget device, and unlike my timeout for my Windows lock screen I don't have to worry about someone jumping on my laptop before the timeout takes affect.

A second major plus is the addition of a remote lock button that allows me to lock my computer instantly from across the room. This can come in handy if you are browsing some more sensitive material or have something on the screen that might need to be quickly hidden away even though you are in close proximity.

In terms of effective range and connectivity we had no issues at all. We tested it at the shortest (3ft), and furthest (30ft) ranges and never once had false locks or issues with our GateKeeper not locking. Personally I'd set it for somewhere in the mid-range as I did have it lock my screen a few times when I thought I was still in range. As mentioned I also prefer using the touch to login option as there was no option to keep my laptop locked when I was in range and this was the only way to do so.

 I wish I could have tested the phone app out, but that might be an issue with my phone rather than the app for the GK. If I do it to work I'll be sure to post and update.

The complete GateKeeper System starts at $60 on Amazon, or you can get a 2 pack for $90 directly from GK. If you try them out let us know what you think!