August 21, 2006

Secret Agent Man

Posted in Commentary at 10:34 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

One of the worst things a laptop owner can have is that their baby is ripped off. Stolen, the word brings fear to the mobile user. We have all see and read the stories of the idiots that leave laptops in plain sight in the car or unattended on a table but what about us that tend to the paranoid side and still get ripped off?

For us on Macs, there is a very cool piece of software that you can buy for about twenty bucks or a bit more for a family pack that is installed and placed out of sight even if the system if examined by the crook. It’s called Undercover and it is by Orbicule.

This software is very cool but not so much to the crooks.  When you call Orbicule and say your laptop is stolen, they activate the software so as soon as the Mac hits the internet, things start to happen. Like most versions of this type of software, it phones home with an IP address (internal and external) and some other network information. But wait! there is more, with the new Macs and the iSight camera, it starts to take pictures of who is sitting at the keyboard. Smile, you are on candid camera 🙂  The software also takes screen shots of what is going on and sends to mother.

If you can not recover the Mac so far, plan B says that the screen will start to randomly dim to where it’s unsable with the hopes that the scumbag will take it to a repair depot or the like. The final straw is the Mac will start telling the world it’s stolen and that there is a reward for it’s recovery. Not very profitable for the thief to keep something like this around so the idea is that you have a chance of getting it back, even if it takes rewarding the jerk.

So, is it worth it at thirty bucks or so? I would say so given the MacBook Pro is something around 2,500 bucks and most of us do not have insurance on the Mac for theft.

Keep in mind that this does nothing to keep your data secret, it just gives a chance at getting the hardware back. If you want to keep state secrects then you need to be looking at encryption. Stay tuned and dont touch that dial for another story of OSX Secret Agent Man.

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