Anti-Theft solutions; TheftSensor Beta (Free!)

Buhbuhb

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
38
0
I know most of you know about Anti-theft programs (Low-jack, Orbicule, etc.) but Orbicule is offering a new program called TheftSensor which is a free download and is in beta form and looks to be extremely interesting, especially if you enjoy to bring your notebooks to coffee shops often... Sorry if old! I found it facinating.

http://orbicule.com/products/

(Watch the video for a demonstration)
 

pdpfilms

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2004
2,382
0
Vermontana
That looks really cool...

Not so sure about the whole Plan B concept... not sure i'd want to risk them ditching the computer, but i don't know the typical responses of a thief.

And about using the iSight... as much as i think this is a great idea, i feel it's not fully legal. Sure, sure, the thief stole your computer and you want it back... but it's an invasion of privacy. Maybe that theif forfeits their privacy by deciding to use a computer with an iSight in it... I don't know. I feel uneasy about this.

Anyway, screenshots are a very good idea (though they're also subject to the same privacy concerns)... Lots of information could be found using this.

Overall, I like the idea of this software... lots of security, but it sure presents some concerns about the methods of information mining in the event of a theft.
 

Buhbuhb

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
38
0
pdpfilms said:
That looks really cool...

Not so sure about the whole Plan B concept... not sure i'd want to risk them ditching the computer, but i don't know the typical responses of a thief.

And about using the iSight... as much as i think this is a great idea, i feel it's not fully legal. Sure, sure, the thief stole your computer and you want it back... but it's an invasion of privacy. Maybe that theif forfeits their privacy by deciding to use a computer with an iSight in it... I don't know. I feel uneasy about this.

Anyway, screenshots are a very good idea (though they're also subject to the same privacy concerns)... Lots of information could be found using this.

Overall, I like the idea of this software... lots of security, but it sure presents some concerns about the methods of information mining in the event of a theft.
I couldn't imagine anyone caring about the thiefs rights to privacy let alone have him in favor when he has committed a crime and who is using a computer that does not belong to him therefore completely disregarding his "privacy" rights.
 

aaronfzr

macrumors regular
Oct 4, 2006
108
0
A long standing legal principle held that a person's rights to action under civil law (negligence, privacy, contract) were suspended during & around the commission of a crime. So, contracts for illegal purposes (such as hitmen who take your money and dont do the job) can't be upheld, and someone in a house illegally could not sue for negligence.

AFAIK, that legal principle still stands (in most English-descent legal jurisdictions, anyway) but is at odds with rulings over the past 10-15 years, where criminals injured on-the-job have successfully sued home-owners for negligence.
None of my law professors were really able to reconcile these cases against the above principle, but I guess they began with exceptional cases that created legal loopholes which let more and more of these cases through.

So, theoretically (and perhaps morally) a person would have his or her rights to privacy suspended while using stolen equipment (even if theft can't be proven, they can be prosecuted for possession/receipt of stolen goods). But how that would stand up in court is debateable: if a thief can sue you because he slipped on your bathroom floor, I wouldnt be surprised if they can get you for privacy too.

As an afterthought, what if the information (screenshots, etc) reveals information about other crimes, or even other people committing other crimes?
 

savar

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2003
1,950
0
District of Columbia
Buhbuhb said:
I couldn't imagine anyone caring about the thiefs rights to privacy let alone have him in favor when he has committed a crime and who is using a computer that does not belong to him therefore completely disregarding his "privacy" rights.
I don't know if this applies to suspects, but people who are arrested *do* forfeit certain rights. If you skip bail or otherwise try to run, they are allowed to do much worse things to you than to an ordinary citizen.

Hopefully the law has some reasonable way of dealing with this situation.

I heard about a situation where a guy caught watching video cameras he secretly installed in his neighbor's house. They couldn't charge the guy with anything except "stealing electricity"...apparently the laws around private surveillance are very loopy.
 

TheMac19

macrumors regular
May 13, 2004
171
0
Pitt
dextertangocci said:
I have been using "ialert you" for a long time:)

It does the same thing. This is obviously a copy:rolleyes:
Link? A quick search didn't bring it up on MacUpdate...
 

mdntcallr

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2000
1,467
135
Buhbuhb said:
I couldn't imagine anyone caring about the thiefs rights to privacy let alone have him in favor when he has committed a crime and who is using a computer that does not belong to him therefore completely disregarding his "privacy" rights.
I totally agree. privacy for a thief is BS
 

mdntcallr

macrumors 65816
Aug 1, 2000
1,467
135
went to a website. the product looks great.

this in combo with lojack could really help? or would you be better off with just one?
 

Hobofuzz

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2006
129
0
That'd be great if the computer made that sound a car makes when you turn the alarm on when the theft sensor is activated...
Instead of that stupid "boop" noise.

edit:
looks like iAlertU does that..hehe
 

pdpfilms

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2004
2,382
0
Vermontana
Just to follow up on the issue...

I emailed Orbicule about the legality and got the following response from Peter Schols:

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your interest in Undercover!
The images taken by Undercover are never the sole proof of theft. We always have an official report from the ISP that the stolen Mac is used at a given address.

Moreover, as the owner, you are free to use and control your Mac, including the operation of the iSight camera. It's your Mac and you are allowed to control it remotely. If the thief puts your Mac into his house, he can't blame you for using it remotely and taking pictures of whatever sits in front of your iSight camera. Basically, the thief himself has put your camera into his house. It would be different if you'd put the camera there yourself. The thief knows the camera is there... I really can't see how a thief could win this case because all actions and decisions are made by him. You did not take any action, except for using your Mac (remotely), which is totally legal.

I'll add this to the list of FAQs.

best wishes,

Peter
This makes sense. Though i was still somewhat worried by the chance of being sued, in the way that thieves injured "on the job" occaisionally win cases. So I asked if Orbicule took full responsibility for images and information collected and got the following response, again from Peter:

Yes, we do.

best wishes,

Peter
Things look good then. I'll be installing my copy tonight.
 

Buhbuhb

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 12, 2005
38
0
pdpfilms said:
Just to follow up on the issue...

I emailed Orbicule about the legality and got the following response from Peter Schols:



This makes sense. Though i was still somewhat worried by the chance of being sued, in the way that thieves injured "on the job" occaisionally win cases. So I asked if Orbicule took full responsibility for images and information collected and got the following response, again from Peter:



Things look good then. I'll be installing my copy tonight.
Yes, I did the same thing yesterday, thanks for that info as that further puts peace to my mind. I hope more people are informed of these types of programs so more people will start purchasing. I'm fed up of hearing stories of notebooks being stolen, it's about time people start getting caught for the crimes they commit.

It wouldn't also be a bad idea to do what Orbicule says... Make a 2nd user that has instant access to the computer without admin controls that way *if* someone takes your computer he/she does have access to the computer in order that undercover can really start going "Undercover." Seems like a logical idea so "plan B" of their plan becomes non-existant in the process of recovering the notebook. Because of course if the theft can't transfer IP Addresses through internet connections that would therefore mean the notebook could not be found without "plan B" (Which is the screen going blank forcing the user to fix/sell it which would lead to a note to the third party of its stolen state).

Another noteable thing to add is this, I bought my Orbicule software package for $25 dollars under EDU and it is a ONE time FLAT price... Not bad!

And also Make SURE you set a password to your Admin Account so it is dead locked. That would further mean the theft could not reformat your HDD, but maybe that was obvious?

I'm sort of in a BRING IT ON WORLD position. I should shut up.
 

pdpfilms

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2004
2,382
0
Vermontana
Buhbuhb said:
Another noteable thing to add is this, I bought my Orbicule software package for $25 dollars under EDU and it is a ONE time FLAT price... Not bad!
Or for those of us with multiple computers, $44 for 5 licenses... not bad at all, considering you get 5 years of coverage per machine and there's no recovery charge or monthly fee.
 

semaja2

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2005
574
0
Adelaide
WOW people are still learning about these things,

Lets just see the time line of this

AMSTracker>Motion.c>BumpAlarm>BubbleGym>iAlertU>MultiAlarm>TheftSensor>and then the rest

It may look like iAlertU came before MultiAlarm and TheftSensor but they were all in development of the same time.
 

ecksmen

macrumors member
Jun 6, 2006
52
0
while I like the idea, how practical is it really?

Surely anyone who would go to the effort of stealing a laptop would either sell it on asap (down the pub type) or format it therefore rendering all this pointless.
 

pdpfilms

macrumors 68020
Jun 29, 2004
2,382
0
Vermontana
ecksmen said:
while I like the idea, how practical is it really?

Surely anyone who would go to the effort of stealing a laptop would either sell it on asap (down the pub type) or format it therefore rendering all this pointless.
As for the formatting, they advise you to set a firmware password, after which the hard drive cannot be formatted without a password or special hardware.

And you'd be surprised.. much of computer theft takes place at colleges, by stupid kids trying to make money. Sure, they may sell it asap, but the next time it connects to the internet... blam.
 

myshoeshurt

macrumors regular
Jan 17, 2006
155
0
Victoria, B.C.
Wouldn't the iSight taking photos of the theif be the same thing as video surveillance in convenience stores? Then again stores have to put warnings on the doors saying that you are monitored while inside.

Maybe you could just slap a hideous warning sticker on the top of your precious Macbook to solve everything...

Or just use a lock and/or common sense. ;)
 

WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,466
1,452
pdpfilms said:
As for the formatting, they advise you to set a firmware password, after which the hard drive cannot be formatted without a password or special hardware.

And you'd be surprised.. much of computer theft takes place at colleges, by stupid kids trying to make money. Sure, they may sell it asap, but the next time it connects to the internet... blam.
We discussed this in a thread a couple of days ago, but you can force reset the firmware password, so it's not all that hard to get around it. That said, you are correct that the vast majority of thieves aren't going to have a clue that these programs exist and what needs to be done to disable them.
 

semaja2

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2005
574
0
Adelaide
From my research theifs DO NOT reformat a machine in about 99% of all cases laptops are stolen and then instantly sold at a pub or places like cash convertors.

This in turn means that if you install some piece of tracking software into the OS it will stay there for its life going by the fact the buyer would also be a noob
 
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