Numerous Services Offer Tracking for Stolen Macs

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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In the wake of recent stories focusing on iCloud's Find My Mac/iPhone feature -- one positive and one negative -- it's worth noting that there are a number of different services to help locate or erase a lost Mac.




TUAW profiles Undercover 5, a $49 service that uses GPS, a new keylogging feature in version 5, the FaceTime camera and a clever "Plan B" to fool technologically inept criminals:
After you've collected FaceTime pics, geolocations, screenshots, and keylog files (all shown automatically in your "Thief Report" section of the Undercover HQ center) you can quickly and simply submit all this information to the local police. But what's even cooler -- and a bit out of a Hollywood movie -- is that if the police can't recover the stolen Mac, you can always resort to Undercover's aptly named "Plan B."

Plan B allows you to launch a simulated hardware failure on your Mac so the thief has no choice but to take it into an Apple Store for repair. Once you track it to the Apple Store (or Best Buy or wherever) you then activate part two of plan B -- you tell the Mac to display a message on the screen saying the Mac has been stolen and the repair shop should hold onto it and call the police.
There's also Prey, an open source computer tracking service that offers both free and paid plans, though for users with a single device, the free plan may be sufficient.

Apple recommends and sells Computrace LoJack in its retail stores and online. The product promises to locate or erase a tracked computer or they'll pay $1,000. LoJack comes in 1-year and 3-year plans for $49 or $99 respectively.

Article Link: Numerous Services Offer Tracking for Stolen Macs
 

jshbckr

macrumors 6502
Apr 20, 2007
421
1
Minneapolis, MN
Bought Undercover years ago, still make sure it's the first things I put onto my Macs after buying a new one or reinstalling an OS. Luckily I haven't had to use it.
 

portishead

macrumors 65816
Apr 4, 2007
1,114
2
los angeles
I just left my wife's macbook air on an overhead bin (yeah, oops) on a plane. Nobody turned it in. I wish I would have had something setup. Unfortunately I had both accounts locked, and no guest access. I had everything backed up so only the value of the machine was lost. So now I'm looking in to using some kind of tracking device like Undercover or Prey.
 

Apple Key

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2012
561
0
This sounds very useful. I'm gonna have to look into this software a bit more.

My only concern is that thieves will become very aware of it after a short while.
 

TheRainKing

macrumors 6502a
Jun 11, 2012
999
534
What's to stop someone from stealing a Mac, and on the first boot putting an install disc in and completely wiping the operating system?

If someone did that it would have no ties to anyone's iCloud and wouldn't be trackable or controllable.

Just saying, none of these services really protect you.
 

charlieegan3

macrumors 68020
Feb 16, 2012
2,395
14
U.K
I shelled out for hidden when i got my rMBP, but this looks better. I'm hoping this isn't a yearly subscription? just a one off charge?
 

67952

Suspended
Feb 24, 2006
208
208
What's to stop someone from stealing a Mac, and on the first boot putting an install disc in and completely wiping the operating system?

If someone did that it would have no ties to anyone's iCloud and wouldn't be trackable or controllable.

Just saying, none of these services really protect you.
A firmware password. You can't wipe and reinstall the OS if you have a firmware password set.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,759
8,699
Detroit
I have Undercover on my Mac's as well. I think it's a good investment. Once you install it, you forget it's even there.
 

puchelaar

macrumors newbie
Apr 12, 2010
8
0
I've never used any of the other products like Prey and LoJack, and since none of my Macs has been stolen (yet, knock on wood) I don't know how effective Undercover will ever prove to be.

But I do know that I like Undercover's simple installation, Orbicule's (the company) clear install instructions, and IMO I think it's incredibly fair of them to offer free upgrades from version 4 >5 for everyone who bought Undercover after september 2010...

And the new website for tracking your mac that comes with version 5 looks very slick, as do the options for real-time tracking, logging, etc.

They've got my recommendation (and no, I'm not affiliated or getting any advantage from this in any way).
 

nigameash

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2008
499
100
Space: The Final Frontier
Upgrading to Undercover 5
If you purchased a previous version of Undercover before 23 September 2010, you are eligible for the $19 upgrade.
If you purchased Undercover on or after 23 September 2010, you'll receive a free upgrade to Undercover 5. All users will receive an email with a coupon code to purchase this upgrade.
 

brdeveloper

macrumors 68030
Apr 21, 2010
2,528
182
Brasil
My Undercover license was eligible for the free upgrade. I'm glad I've only used Undercover in tests (not in a real stealing event).

The keylogger is a nice new feature in the version 5.
 

Tipsy McStagger

macrumors member
Dec 19, 2011
40
4
Upgrading to Undercover 5
If you purchased a previous version of Undercover before 23 September 2010, you are eligible for the $19 upgrade.
If you purchased Undercover on or after 23 September 2010, you'll receive a free upgrade to Undercover 5. All users will receive an email with a coupon code to purchase this upgrade.
Any idea when they'll send out these coupons? I haven't gotten mine yet. But I'm not sure when it was released so...
 

auero

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2006
1,358
94
I've used both and I prefer Hidden. It appears to do the same thing in my eyes. Theres a 30 day trial or at least when I got it.
 

noodlelegs

macrumors member
May 24, 2010
97
0
firmware password, boot camp questions

I have a couple questions:
Can someone explain more about this firmware password thing? Also, I usually run boot camp Windows 7 on my macbook pro. How do I protect that part of the computer? Will Undercover 5 work with both windows and os x?
 

jackhdev

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2011
343
0
Bismarck, North Dakota
I just left my wife's macbook air on an overhead bin (yeah, oops) on a plane. Nobody turned it in. I wish I would have had something setup. Unfortunately I had both accounts locked, and no guest access. I had everything backed up so only the value of the machine was lost. So now I'm looking in to using some kind of tracking device like Undercover or Prey.
Make sure you're also using FileVault or locking the accounts won't help much! Glad you have a backup though.
 

aldoofbanga

macrumors newbie
Jun 28, 2012
4
0
I don't recommend Hidden...

I've had these issues with hiddenapp...

- Multiple emails to support without a response
- Sometimes their website is broken and I cannot logon (reports my account doesn't exist)
- When I renewed I got an email saying I was unsubscribed

So I cannot recommend them, and will look at Undercover or Prey perhaps when my subscription is out
 

jackhdev

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2011
343
0
Bismarck, North Dakota
You mean someone can access files using target disk mode? What am I missing?
Yeah, if your files aren't encrypted, it doesn't matter how secure your account password is. The files are still sitting in your home folder unprotected. You can access them via Target Disk Mode, single user mode (command prompt, hold down Command + S at startup), or if you attach the hard drive to another computer.