The local news recently reported that a man recovered his stolen laptop because he was running some sort of security software that enabled him to locate the machine. He was able to furnish the information to the police who then recovered the laptop and arrested the thief.
That story intrigued me so I went on the hunt to find what he was using since the news story didn’t disclose that information.
Since I run Mac’s and have the MobileMe service, I already have something similar for my iPhone in Apple’s “Find My iPhone”. The new Lion OSX upgrade is supposed to have a “Find My Mac” service when it gets released. But, what about now? And what about my PCs?
Fortunately I found the Prey Project (http://www.PreyProject.com). Prey works by installing a small piece of software on your Mac, PC or Android phone. (It does not support iPhone or iPads yet) It sits quietly in the background until you go to another computer and log in to your account. Once there you tell it that the computer where you have it installed is missing.
That’s when the fun begins. You start to get emails with geo-location info (It triangulates off of WiFi locations, so if your computer does not have wifi capabilities this won’t work). screen shots and webcam shots (if your computer has a webcam).
There is a free version (I like free) which lets you monitor and protect up to 3 devices. The Pro version costs anywhere from $5.00 per month up to $399.00 per month. Although most people will be quite happy with the free version, the Pro version does give you some more flexibility on reporting and protection.
I hope that you will never need something like this, but better to have it installed and not need it than to need it and not have it.
By the way, here is the link to the news story that inspired me to look for this product:
http://oaklandlocal.com/article/social-media-and-web-tools-help-oakland-man-recover-stolen-laptop He was using a program called Hidden, but I think he could have used Prey equally as well.