PC Security and Gatekeeper

Not something you’d really expect to see on my blog, I’m writing this short piece on the Gatekeeper product by Untethered Labs as I spend more time than I like to think about, keeping my equipment safe from outside intrusion and when GKChain offered to send a sample of their Gatekeeper product, I thought – why not.

The company provided links for enterprise and single users – I’m more interested in the latter.

Here’s what arrived in the pack…and yes they are CR2450 3v batteries. At first sight I thought they’d sent 2 dongles but it turns out the round device below is just a spring retracting, 2 USB extension lead and they supplied 2 batteries along with some cable clips. Fitting the battery to the rectangular “token” called “Halbert” took seconds. The USB dongles were unmarked and looked pretty generic. I plugged on of the dongles into my PC (in my case the USB extension leads were not needed).

Gatekeeper security

Armed with my new “necklace” I put it next to the USB dongle and went off in search of sofware. Gatekeeper-retail-win.msi (second link above) is a 62MB download so that took very little time – I downloaded it to my Windows 10 64-bit PC in a matter of seconds.

I then ran the software and the first screen which appeared, told me to “scan token” at which point a “Found Gatekeeper Tokens” dialog showed up and a single “Halbert” device appeared. I won’t tell you the serial number as that kind of defeats the object 🙂 I hit “select” and was invited to create a “new user” with options of “credential type” “domain” or “local” – I picked the latter then entered my “Display name” and Windows user name. As you can probably tell, at this point I was flying completely blind.

I was then asked for my Windows password – which of course I could not remember as I tend to log in automatically (you may be able to tell I’m not THAT security minded). I was invited to create a PIN number. I did that – and lo – a new user was created.

I could have kept going at this point, being asked to create more users but as there is only me – I stopped. The screen showed that there was now a new user and that my PC was unlocked – just as well, really. So far, so good.

Signal strenth of the HALBERT token

I’m not cheating here, I really know very little about security but this was blatantly obvious. I moved the token away from my PC and by the time it was 3 metres away the signal quality was showing orange – indicating I was getting close to losing access to my PC. By 5 metres the signal quality was showing red – well below the minimum – and yet I was still typing as you can see. I hit “Connect token”. I clicked on that and was then asked to enter my PIN – both before and after doing that, I could STILL type this blog…. the next message said “move your token closer to the computer” but as you can see I could still access the computer.

So next, I reset my PC – which came up exactly as normal without my password.

I’m beginning to think I might not succeed in the security sector 🙂 I’m just waiting for the first of you to crucify me in the comments… very soon I will complete this blog entry OR permanently lock myself out of my PC 🙂 For now, for those who are security minded, particularly in business – I have provided links for you to read all about this interesting product (at the top of the blog entry).


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