I/O Interface Security – The BIOS Optimization Guide

I/O Interface Security - The BIOS Optimization Guide

Common Options : Locked, Unlocked

 

Quick Review

The I/O Interface Security BIOS feature is mainly found in mobile PCs like laptops and netbooks. It gives you direct control over the availability of various interfaces in the computer. The interfaces you can control with this BIOS feature include :

  • Audio Interface – when locked, it disables the onboard audio interface and prevents the use of microphones or earphones.
  • Modem Interface – enables or disables the onboard modem
  • LAN Network Interface – enables or disables the onboard LAN functionality
  • Wireless Network Interface – enables or disables the onboard WLAN functionality
  • SATA ODD – when locked, prevents data from being burned into CD/DVD (using a CD/DVD writer)
  • eSATA Port – when locked, prevents data from being copied out to an external eSATA hard disk drive or an external CD/DVD writer.
  • Express Card Interface – enables or disables the built-in Express Card interface
  • Card Reader Interface – enables or disables the built-in flash memory card reader
  • 1394 Interface – enables or disables the built-in IEEE1394a (Firewire) interface
  • USB Interface – enables or disables the built-in USB ports

To enable or disable those interfaces, you can select between the Locked or Unlocked options. By default, all available interfaces are unlocked. Of course, the BIOS must be secured using a password for the locks to work. Otherwise, anyone can simply unlock these interfaces using the same BIOS feature.

In addition, the I/O Interface Security BIOS feature can only lock onboard devices. It cannot lock external devices. In the case of a desktop PC, this BIOS feature cannot be used to lock extra interfaces provided by add-on cards.

 

Details

The I/O Interface Security BIOS feature is mainly found in mobile PCs like laptops and netbooks. It gives you direct control over the availability of various interfaces in the computer. The interfaces you can control with this BIOS feature include :

  • Audio Interface – when locked, it disables the onboard audio interface and prevents the use of microphones or earphones.
  • Modem Interface – enables or disables the onboard modem
  • LAN Network Interface – enables or disables the onboard LAN functionality
  • Wireless Network Interface – enables or disables the onboard WLAN functionality
  • SATA ODD – when locked, prevents data from being burned into CD/DVD (using a CD/DVD writer)
  • eSATA Port – when locked, prevents data from being copied out to an external eSATA hard disk drive or an external CD/DVD writer.
  • Express Card Interface – enables or disables the built-in Express Card interface
  • Card Reader Interface – enables or disables the built-in flash memory card reader
  • 1394 Interface – enables or disables the built-in IEEE1394a (Firewire) interface
  • USB Interface – enables or disables the built-in USB ports

To enable or disable those interfaces, you can select between the Locked or Unlocked options. By default, all available interfaces are unlocked.

The I/O Interface Security BIOS feature is useful in many ways. For example, the USB, SATA ODD, eSATA, Express Card and card reader interfaces can be locked to prevent users from copying out any data from the notebook. Companies that wish to prevent their employees from surfing the Internet can use this BIOS feature to lock the WLAN, LAN and modem interfaces.

Of course, the BIOS must be secured using a password for the locks to work. Otherwise, anyone can simply unlock these interfaces using the same BIOS feature.

In addition, the I/O Interface Security BIOS feature can only lock onboard devices. It cannot lock external devices. For example, if you do not lock the Express Card interface, it would be possible to insert a flash card reader into the Express Card slot and use it to copy out data even if you had already disabled the card reader interface.

In the case of a desktop PC, this BIOS feature cannot be used to lock extra interfaces provided by add-on cards. For example, locking the USB interface will not disable the USB ports provided by an add-on PCI USB card. It will only disable the motherboard’s built-in USB ports and headers.

For those who are wondering what SATA ODD means, ODD is short for Optical Disk Drive. It refers to any SATA optical disk drives that uses the ATAPI command set. This includes both read-only and writeable optical disk drives.

 

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