Image source: GateKeeper

Say good-bye to your computer password with GateKeeper

Say good-bye to your computer password with GateKeeper
Image source: GateKeeper

The idea behind GateKeeper is simple. This is a a portable, proximity-based wearable keychain that locks your computer when you walk away and unlocks it when you come back. You can also use it as a track/locate device so you don’t waste any more time looking for lost or misplaced keys when the gadget is attached to a keyring.

The concept was born out of an engineering project for NASA and the Department of Defense two years ago. The creators realized the need of both individuals and corporations to protect themselves from the lack of adequate access control technology. GateKeeper helps fill the gap for not just corporate security, but personal privacy as well.

We’ve been testing the device over the past week and have walked away fairly impressed. A lock and key system for your computer, which finally makes entering your computer password a thing of the past.

The little device comes in a sleek box containing the core unit, USB Lock, CR2032 battery and little instruction booklet. You also get a key ring and lanyard as accessories which can be used to attach the main unit to a bag or your clothes. The device is small (50mm x 25mm x 6mm), and weighing only 10 grams it is super lightweight. It has a loop hole in the corner so you can attach it to the lanyard or a key chain.

To start off, slip the battery into the main unit, plug the USB Lock into a USB port on your computer, download and run the software. The gadget works on both mac and pc computers.

You will then be taken through a brief set-up process which will also pair the core unit with the USB dongle via Bluetooth. You can choose from 4 different advanced security methods for unlocking your computer. The installation process was seamless and only took a couple of minutes from start to finish.

Say good-bye to your computer password with GateKeeper
Image source: GateKeeper

In terms of actually using the device it doesn’t get much easier.

Walk away to lock. Walk back to unlock.

You also have a few options that allow you to tweak the software. One of these is the ability to set the proximity at which the computer will lock itself. This is done via a sliding scale. Choose ‘Near’ and your computer will lock itself as soon as you walk away, choose ‘Far’ for less restrictive security.

Your computer is now protected. Whenever you walk away it will lock itself and prevent unauthorized use. It’s a great way to protect your clients, business and personal privacy from internal threats and leaks.

Say good-bye to your computer password with GateKeeper
Image source: GateKeeper

GateKeeper uses AES-128 and AES 256-bit encryption. The company says, credentials are encrypted and stored on the computer, and never on the device itself. Also, no private information is ever transmitted or shared with anyone over the air.

If the computer is asleep, you do have to wake it up with the mouse or keyboard before the GateKeeper will unlock it. This is an honest review, and while GateKeeper worked most of the time, we have found, on occasion, the USB dongle was not lightning quick to recognize that the core unit was in proximity.

It seems, on some computers USB drivers are slow to initialize upon computer wake-up. Because the gadget is dependent on the USB drivers, any lag or delay in USB driver initialization will result in longer unlocking. Having said that, the tracker has a solid 3.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, so it seems that most people are not experiencing these issues.

If you run into this problem and don’t wish to wait, you can always touch the USB dongle with the core unit to reestablish the connection. The other option is to bypass GateKeeper entirely by choosing to type your computer password instead. This also presents a backup solution if anything happens with your GateKeeper device.

If you ever lose your key, you can use the the accompanying smartphone app to find it. This is again a simple set-up process. Pair your Gatekeeper gadget with your smartphone through the app and tweak the options according to your preferences.

If GateKeeper is within a 30-foot radius, choose ‘Locate’ and the smartphone app will guide you to its location via a radar-like slider which shows you how far away you are from the device. The core unit itself will also emit a sound for added convenience. This could be used, for example, to secure items such as a purse, to locate luggage items at the airport or you could attach it to your car keys. Again, when this works it works really well. But it didn’t work 100% of the time for us.

All in all, this certainly is an interesting gadget. Its a novel solution for individuals or large entities wishing to protect their private information. The company says its access control technology was built with the individual customer in mind, but designed to be scalable for large systems requiring protection.

Say good-bye to your computer password with GateKeeper
GateKeeper 2.0
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Say good-bye to your computer password with GateKeeper

GateKeeper is great if you are tired of typing your password every time you log into your computer. It will make the process hands-free saving you time compared to entering your password. Overall the Bluetooth seems to be a little unreliable at times but we’ve had decent success using it. The extra layer of computer security is definitely a good thing. It helps to ensure that nobody can snoop your data while you are away.

If you are someone who keeps their computer going most of the day, or are in a fast pace environment and you keep moving around, the ease, convenience and time savings will be obviously apparent.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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