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How much is "remote wipe" beneficial for company data protection on company laptops, assuming that the storage is encrypted?

I understand it so that only determined, targeting attackers are interested in confidential company data. For sure they will not just turn the stolen laptop on and connect to the Internet. If so, what threat is mitigated by having a remote wipe agent?

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It protects the device from attacks on the login process. If I can log in, then your encryption is meaningless.

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  • Do you mean that the mitigated threat is "both stolen device and compromised user's password"? Apr 27, 2020 at 8:48
  • Well, discovering the password is a secondary issue, but remote wipe 's primary effect is not to protect credentials.
    – schroeder
    Apr 27, 2020 at 8:51
  • To make sure I understand, I'll repeat the question: what is the threat that is mitigated by the remote wipe feature? Apr 27, 2020 at 8:59
  • That no one can access the data on the device. If encryption is used, the primary threat is someone logging in to access the data or guessing the encryption password.
    – schroeder
    Apr 27, 2020 at 9:00
  • Remote wipe requires network, so only accessing the network resources (not local data) is mitigated. To mitigate the threat "compromised account is accessing protected network resources" account suspension would achieve the same result as remote wiping - correct? Apr 27, 2020 at 9:08
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In my opinion it's not worth the effort to have this feature if your storage is fully encrypted with a modern encryption algorithm like >AES-128 and an unpredictable, random and long (>8 characters) password. For sure, if the storage get wiped, there is no data any longer which potentially could get decrypted. But anyway if the encryption is well done, the data also couldnt get decrypted.

I think in your case, this feature would be more to calm down and dont fall in panic. But it's the same result like wipe your storage more than one time with random data -> good feeling, not more secure than wipe it once.

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    Remote wipe is free, easy to set up, and easy to use. And it mitigates credential weaknesses. It's called "defence-in-depth" and is certainly not panic or fear. There is no "silver bullet" in security. Including encryption.
    – schroeder
    Apr 27, 2020 at 8:57
  • I understand your point. But any encryption with weak credentials are useless and in case of the storage got stolen there is only a little chance of the attacker connect the device to the internet. Pragmatically: remote-wipe mitigates credential weaknesses for encrypted devices. In reality: use random, long credentials and e.g. a password-manager would be much more efficient than speculating the attacker would connect to the internet.
    – Tyr
    Apr 27, 2020 at 9:10
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    Nope. You are making a great number of assumptions that simply do not reflect reality. The question is about corporate laptops. You cannot force people to use "long random passwords" and you cannot stop them from writing it down.
    – schroeder
    Apr 27, 2020 at 10:00
  • But that is the point: you CAN force them. If a company forces its employees to use credentials defined in a well credential policy you have the full control over the used devices. If you let do people what people do - use weak credentials for memorize reasons - you give the control to the potential attacker. In my opinion with a remote wipe you build a protection layer which is more pseudo-secure than secure. Anyways I think this discussion is based more on opinion than facts because the result is individual. That's why I mentioned before that I understand your point.
    – Tyr
    Apr 27, 2020 at 10:48
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    You cannot force users to use random passwords. You can only force some level of complexity. And doing that tends to create insecure passwords. You do not understand the realities in this space.
    – schroeder
    Apr 27, 2020 at 11:02

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