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New Data Protection Tools | Feature Release

Prey’s new Factory Reset & Kill Switch features come with data safety and ease of use in mind, letting you disable hard drives and restore devices remotely.

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Hello there! Our new Kill Switch and Factory Reset features are now unleashed! Both features aim to give organizations refined control over the data in their Windows devices, and over the devices themselves.

We thought of the growing number of organizations that have adopted remote work policies. And that due to this turning point, the number of employees taking home mobile devices with critical information related to their jobs is still increasing. While this benefits both employers and employees, it also increases the risk of data breaches due to stolen or lost devices (we also work from home, so we know this firsthand).

Both of our new features aim to reduce the risk of data breaches, as they can be used to prevent threat actors from stealing portable Windows computers and having a hand into their private information, such as login credentials, workgroup chats, or their contact information.

Factory Reset – Ready Devices In Just a Few Steps

Let’s say you have an expired loan or need to start an offboarding process. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a solution to remotely remove all traces of your use? Factory Reset allows just that, a blank slate.

This feature remotely restores the device down to factory settings, removing all traces of use from the computer. By the way: it’s irreversible, and it will remove Prey from your device as well. Factory Reset erases your hard drive and installs the OS all over again. The process can take from minutes on newer devices, up to several hours in old machines, so your mileage may vary here.

Factory Reset is a feature made for managers that handle large fleets, and a game-changing tool for educational institutions that loan portable computers. With it, any admin can wipe the data of a previous student and have a restored machine to loan to a new one. It reduces the risk of passing along insecure data whilst protecting private information from a previous owner. It’s a great tool to hurry lending programs and offboarding processes.

How To Use Factory Reset

It’s fairly easy to use our new Factory Reset feature. After verifying that your device is compatible, you just need to take two quick steps to start with the factory reset process. This process will reinstall Windows and delete every other file, so make sure that you have a backup of any files that you may consider important.

  • Choose the Factory Reset action from your panel: Look for this button in your Devices view to start the Factory Reset process.
  • Select the action, enter your password and confirm: Once you select this action, all you have to do is enter your Prey password. After that, you must wait for the process to be completed. That’s it! Your device will be ready for a new start.

Kill Switch – Quick Disk Disable In Case Of Emergency

Kill Switch provides a quick and safe solution to a lost or stolen computer. Lost a device that carries information for your eyes only? Press this emergency button for a fast defense. 

Kill Switch will destroy the device’s Master Boot Record, rendering the device unusable in a matter of minutes. This is a Windows-only feature, as Apple users can employ measures designed especially for the Mac architecture.

This feature can be implemented by organizations with employees that have mobile devices linked to their most critical or private systems. A kill switch can prevent a threat actor that stole an employee’s device from accessing their employer’s chats and tools. Any organization that wishes to deactivate a device borrowed by a former employee can also benefit from implementing a kill-switch option.

It can also be used by any individual that has digital information that they’d like to protect. Any person with a kill-switch on their devices can prevent others from handling them in the event that they are stolen or lost.

How To Use Kill Switch

Using Prey’s Kill Switch is really easy once you have verified that your device is compatible with this option. You just need to take the two simple steps shown below to deploy this feature. Remember that the Kill Switch will destroy the main boot record of your device, which will make the device unusable, so use it with care!

  • Choose the Kill Switch action from your panel:  Look for this button to start the Kill Switch process in the Devices view, just like in Factory Reset.
  • Enter your password, check the box and confirm: Once this action is selected, you must input your Prey password (for good measure). After that, just wait a few minutes for the process to be completed, and BOOM! Disk absolutely disabled.

Try them out!

If your Prey account is currently on the Full Suite plan, it’s your lucky day! The two features are live right now in your Prey Panel. Just a quick reminder: if you are in our Tracking plan and wish to have Factory Reset and Kill Switch, you would need to upgrade.

Starting today, all your Windows fleet will have Factory Reset & Kill Switch available. Don’t be in a hurry to try them right now though- both processes are irreversible and meant to be used in certain situations, such as an emergency.

If you need to go deeper into our new features, we have two awesome Help Center articles about how to restore your device to factory settings and how to render your device unusable with Kill Switch.

Do you have a Mac fleet and want to know if these features are available? Prey’s Apple features can perform Lock and Factory Reset in MacOS with just a few more clicks. Learn more about it here.

About the author

Juan Hernández