December 12

ORWL Secure PC

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Imagine this: you get home one day or arrive at the office one morning and your desktop computer is gone – stolen, along with a sizeable chunk of your personal data. The computer and all your other prized gadgets are covered by insurance, but the idea of all your data being taken is enough to boost your heart rate into its fat burning zone according to your fitness tracker.

If you really want to protect sensitive data around your business or home then you might want to check out the ORWL Secure PC. This futuristic looking, palm-sized computer takes hardware security to a new level in a number of ways.

Tamper Proof

First lets return to our theft scenario. Assuming the absolute basics of security hygiene a password would have been set on the stolen PC, but if the drive isn’t encrypted this doesn’t stop a determined data thief dissecting the machine and pulling out hard drives for analysis.

This point clearly hasn’t been lost on the team at Design Shift, who have designed the ORWL with an encrypted Solid State Drive (SSD) enhanced by tamper protection. If any one of six in-built external tamper sensors detect foul play the ORWL will overwrite its SSD encryption key, erase all user credentials and prevent system restarts – therefore rendering it useless to a thief. It also comes fitted with a 6-axis (gyro and accelerometer) MEMS motion tracking device which will similarly cause it to shut down if it senses movement while being used.

Two Factor Authentication

Security professionals are fond of saying that humans are the weakest link in the security chain and the contemporary workplace is typically plagued by two common symptoms of this problem.

First, computer users around the world are notorious for writing their passwords on scraps of paper or post-it notes and then cunningly concealing them under keyboards or in the back of diaries, where nobody else would think to look for them.

Secondly, people can have a bad habit of wandering off to talk to colleagues while leaving their workstations unlocked. In some offices this may lead to nothing more serious than a comical message being sent from a hapless individual’s email account, but in other businesses this could lead to a considerably more serious breach.

For systems holding even remotely important data it’s generally now considered best security practice to employ a multi-factor approach to authentication, requiring two of the following: what you know (i.e. a password), what you have (e.g. a smart card) and who you are (biometrics).

Orwl Secure PC Feature Image 1

Each OWRL comes with two NFC and Bluetooth-enabled key fobs unique to that PC. To even boot the device up a valid key has to be touched on the top the device and a password entered. If the key gets moved out of Bluetooth range (approximately 10m) the ORWL goes into lockdown: the processor gets put to sleep while all physical ports and connections (USB, HDMI, Wi-Fi) are deactivated, preventing any data being taken off – or any malware added on.

Holistic Protection

Drawing all these security features together, the ORWL is designed to help protect against a significant range of attacks, which the company sums up as ‘walk-in’ (usb injection), ‘sniff-in’ (interception of remote keys), ‘break-in’ (physically opening the device),  ‘hack-in’ (temperature manipulation) and ‘walk-out’ (physical removal).

Does this mean that the proud owner of a shiny new ORWL is impervious to cyber attack? No – and nor does Design Shift make this claim. The ORWL’s job is to help secure data cocooned in it’s hardware – and offers a well thought-out solution for doing so – but there’s obviously a wide range of threats lurking out on the big bad web (and other networks).

Potent Hardware

Now, security focused products can at times be developed at the expense of design, usability or hardware performance, but this isn’t the case with the ORWL. As a desktop PC it can be ordered with either Windows or Linux to suit different tastes, but also packs a respectable set of hardware: a Skylake (M5 or M7) processor accompanied by 8Gb of LPDDR3 RAM, which should serve most purposes. The SSD storage for the device is also available in options ranging from 120 – 480Gb.

Overall, the ORWL is a sleek, impressively engineered security solution that will liven up office desktops while helping to put minds at rest.


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