The Null Device

Laptop detectors

Laptop thieves in Malaysia have apparently developed a device that can detect and locate laptops, even when they are switched off. Details of the device are unclear, but it appears to be something more sophisticated than looking for Bluetooth devices within range.

Some speculate that it involves homing in on telltale radio-frequency emissions from the laptop's real-time clock and/or battery-management circuits, which are always on. If this is possible and within reach of ordinary criminals (who, after all, can assemble sophisticated ATM card skimmers), expect an epidemic of targeted laptop theft across the world, followed by a boom in the sales of Faraday-cage laptop bags.

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