Protect your privacy – GateKeeper

This time, we got our hands on GateKeeper 2.0, a security hardware device that locks your computer when you walk away from it. The GateKeeper is manufactured by Untethered Labs, a start-up in the United States which sent us their product for review. The GateKeeper was crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2014 and Untethered Labs took birth in 2015 with the release of the first version of GateKeeper. The changes between GateKeeper 2 and the previous version are mainly aesthetic and better range estimation. The GateKeeper 2.0 is at $59.99 (about MUR 2100) but currently there is a 17% discount making it $49.99 (about MUR 1760), you can order one directly from the manufacturer here. The GateKeeper comes with a warranty of 1 year.

The package includes the following:-

  • The key (a tiny rectangular box).
  • A Bluetooth USB dongle.
  • A CR2032 battery which lasts about 3-6 months.
  • A chain.
  • Quick Starter Guide.

The product works by using Bluetooth 4 (I believe it must be ‘Low Energy’), the USB dongle is paired with the key during registration phase. A driver is required to use the GateKeeper.
Below is a video in which I unboxed the GateKeeper and did a demonstration.

P.S : I’m sorry for bad quality of audio, please turn on subtitles if quality is too bad.

After installing the driver software, the key needs to be paired (registered) with the USB dongle and you will need to enter the password of your computer if you wish the computer to be unlocked automatically when you return back to it. The settings are very simple to set up.
We did not do a range test as this will vary by environments depending on the number of walls and the material it is made up of. The optimum range setting for me is as shown in the picture below and I find “Login Automatically using GateKeeper” more practical.

Driver Screenshot

Let’s do an overview of the mobile application first before jumping to conclusions.

You might say that the key can be easily misplaced, well the manufacturer got your back with their mobile phone application available for Android and iOS (sorry Windows Phone users). The mobile application allow you to locate the key and when close, the key will ring like it did when pairing in the video. The app can also notify you when the key is out of of range from your phone. There is a small square besides the name of your key, it is green when the key is in range and brick red when out of range. You will be able to locate the key only when the key is in range (square is green).

 

Pros

  • Very easy to use, none of the settings requires technical knowledge.
  • Natively locks your computer (Windows Operating Systems) instead of using tricks therefore very difficult to bypass.
  • Portable to carry around either as chain, in key ring or in shirt’s pocket.
  • It is easily located by the ringing tone when using the mobile application.

Cons

  • Changing battery every 5 months in average can be a hardship if being used by a business. Solar energy could be used like in many Scientific Calculators.
  • When switching on computer, if the option “Login automatically using GateKeeper “is chosen, the computer won’t ask for password or pin if the key is in range. But companies might suggest leaving keys in office premises itself.
  • The mobile application’s range is sometimes inaccurate. (When the key was next to the phone, I got notification key was out of range.)

Conclusions

Certainly there are a few cons with the product but the pros outweigh them, moreover among the cons, two of them can be solved by software updates. Let’s hope in the next version, the key won’t require any battery.
I’m currently using the GateKeeper to prevent my siblings from peeking into my affairs (like reading my Facebook messages when I’m away) but is it worth the price, I leave that up to you to decide. But for a company, the GateKeeper is definitely very useful in preventing unauthorized persons from peeking into confidential or classified information.

Let us know below what you think of the GateKeeper!

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