Prey Project - find lost or stolen laptops

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ThomasBoss, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. ThomasBoss, Jul 14, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011

    ThomasBoss macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2011
    Somebody may of already posted about this before, but after seeing a few 'My MacBook was stolen' topics I figured ehhh it may help a person or two, so why not? :D

    Today I stumbled upon a cool piece of free software called Prey . Basically, it is a piece of software that can use GPS to find your laptop, get IP address and even take a picture of the thief on your webcam along with options of playing an alarm, locking the screen etc...

    Considering it is free, I think this is awfully handy and I recommend you look at it.
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    That kind of software is useless if your thief has half a brain. Wipe the hard drive or stick a new one it, and it's as if the app never existed.

    Completely useless.
  3. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    True, but most thieves don't - they simply grab what they can sell quickly.

    Not necessarily - it offers a chance to get your machine back, even if only a slim one. The key is to act fast.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The anti-theft device is yourself. Not letting your laptop out of sight.

    Short of that, services like this and Lojack can help. There's no guarantee but it increases the odds of recovery.
  5. ThomasBoss thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2011
    so you are saying that a piece of software that at least gives you a better chance at finding your machine that you spent all your money on and contains all of your data useless ? Like just filing a police report would do anything...they have more important things to do than try and find a laptop when they have no leads.

    @maflynn - Yes, prevention is more important but there are some cases you cannot control, like a home robbery and since it takes up almost no CPU it is always nice to have as a 'just in case' :)
  6. getz76 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2009
    Hell, AL
    The odds are so long that this will work that it is effectively useless.

    You are much better off encrypting your data and buying personal property insurance.
  7. NutsNGum macrumors 68030


    Jul 30, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
  8. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    to the op:

    if you are posting this because you are being straight with us and really think this software is useful, thanks for the tip, but i don't think i am interested. personally, i think these dramatic mac thief interventions were publicity stunts to promote the products. let's pretend they weren't, though. i am sure thieves are aware of how the programs work now, and i really don't think there are many computer thieves left who will sit in front of the camera with the internet on sending you data. any thief with basic knowledge will wipe the drive and sell it. maybe you will catch your thief. good luck! i have insurance (very inexpensive) and i will just get a new laptop. i hope you survive your encounter with the thief and/or somehow convince the police to deploy their limited resources to find your computer.

    if you are posting this because you are a shill for the company, shame on you. please stop spamming the forums with your infomercials disguised as helpful advice.
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Filing a police report also allows you to file a homeowner's claim, so no, that isn't useless.
  10. ThomasBoss thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2011
    lol I can assure you that I was just trying to give a link to a piece of software that may help...I know if the thief wipes your drive then it is useless but most thieves are idiots...since it is free and uses almost no cpu, where the harm?? I really do not see the software as useless, look chances are against you you won't get it back either way however it does increase it...
  11. SD-B macrumors 6502


    Apr 1, 2009
    Just for the record, my FIND MY iPHONE GPS tracking, whenever I have tried it, does not point me towards my own house but 1 street over in a home i have never been into.

    Cant say it would be much help IF i had needed it.

    I have been offered hot laptops a few times which i have declined but i can tell you from experience, the thief never opens it up but just passes it on to someone else that buys up computers.

    therefore its quite likely the person they sell to knows enough to know how to wipe the hard drive.

    the thieves are most often crack addicts looking for a quick few $$ and no interest at all in the computer itself, hence, no reason to open it up

    therefore, rather than software, home insurance, or whatever insurance is needed individually is a far better option

    Now, that said?
    There was a great story recently of a guy from Toronto visiting NYC for the weekend whose laptop was stolen in a bar
    he came home but he was a real geek and with the help of twitter, Facebook and people around the world, he was able to ping his account and a zillion other tricks he tried that most people would never know how to do and finally they traced it to the same bar he was in and one of the owners was the theif. His photo was plastered all over the web. If i remember correctly, he did have one of these sorts of programs on his laptop BUT this is one in a million.........
    The end of the story was such that he was going to phone the police in NYC but someone on Twitter that he knew offered to go into the bar and embarrass the owner until he upped the computer, which he did, and then held it for the fellow who flew back down to get it.

    I do believe that story was a legitimate one as I imagine it hurt that restaurants business once word got out that he had stolen it himself
  12. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    You're thinking like someone that knows an area well, not a person who lost the device and having to go somewhere new to track it down. Putting you within 50 yards of the device is still better than absolutely nothing. It may not help you in the middle of New York City but for more sparse areas, it could totally get you on top of the thief.
  13. SD-B macrumors 6502


    Apr 1, 2009

    actually its a lot further away than 50 yards.
    Its a good 4 minute walk with a LOT I am in the city

    But yes, get your point if you are in a rural area
  14. Wafflausages macrumors 6502

    Jun 27, 2010
    this has to be the most ignorant comment ever
  15. getz76 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2009
    Hell, AL
    I disagree. It was rather spot-on.
  16. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I use Undercover for tracking my Mac and Witness to lock it; it works well; although it's not free, I think it's worthwhile software.
  17. ThirtyThr33 macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2011
    Boulder, Colorado
    I think you're assuming only computer experts steal. Thats not true, anybody now matter how stupid, will steal a computer, and with lion only being app store purchased, they can't simply just pop in the latest os disk and wipe your drive as easily as before.

    I think this app would be especially good for college students because there are spool many dumb people in college who are out to swipe a shiny new gadget or out to make a quick buck so they could easily get caught by prey.

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