Prey vs Undercover vs Lojack for Laptops

stevearm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 15, 2007
944
81
Hi all, does anyone have experience with any of these anti-theft apps? I use Snow Leopard and am scared that if I lose my macbook the thief will have access to all my files.

I don't particularly mind about locating on a map, iSight screenshots etc, what I am most interested in is the ability to remote wipe the disk or at the very least lock the computer. Does anyone have any recommendations as to which of the above 3 does this best?

Also, I assume an internet connection is required for these programs to work, meaning the thief has to be online for the on-screen messages or remote-delete to work? Does anyone know if Find my Mac needs the mac to be online for the remote wipe feature?

Many thanks in advance
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,261
31
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
All of those theft recovery apps require an internet connection to function. None of them are anti-theft apps; they will not prevent your Mac from being stolen.

You also do not need any of these apps to lock the computer; log off every time you are finished and it will be locked (provided you have a strong user password).
 

stevearm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 15, 2007
944
81
All of those theft recovery apps require an internet connection to function. None of them are anti-theft apps; they will not prevent your Mac from being stolen.

You also do not need any of these apps to lock the computer; log off every time you are finished and it will be locked (provided you have a strong user password).
But can't the thief just unplug my HDD, connect it via USB to another computer and download all my files off of it that way?
 

SHADO

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2008
968
0
Beach
You could use FileVault to lock your info on your HDD, which would require the thief to know your password.
 

stevearm

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 15, 2007
944
81
You could use FileVault to lock your info on your HDD, which would require the thief to know your password.
Does FireVault have a negative effect on performance? And it makes it more or less impossible for thieves to retrieve files off a HDD?

So basically, all a person would need is to Firevault their home folder, and set it so it asks for your master password after a couple of minutes of inactivity, and their computer would be secure?

Also, would an app like Undercover work whilst the macbook is on, but at the 'Enter your password' screen? Would I still be able to track it?

Thanks for the tips so far guys
 

MorphingDragon

macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2009
5,160
5
The World Inbetween
Does FireVault have a negative effect on performance? And it makes it more or less impossible for thieves to retrieve files off a HDD?

So basically, all a person would need is to Firevault their home folder, and set it so it asks for your master password after a couple of minutes of inactivity, and their computer would be secure?

Also, would an app like Undercover work whilst the macbook is on, but at the 'Enter your password' screen? Would I still be able to track it?

Thanks for the tips so far guys
FileVault makes the log off sequence longer. Otherwise there is no major performance hit.
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,929
123
SoCal
Does enabling file vault for the first time take awhile to encrypt everything, or does it run smoothly in the background. I've been wanting to turn it on recently (work computer) but am afraid I won't be able to get work done while it is running the first time.
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,131
37
Portland, OR
Does enabling file vault for the first time take awhile to encrypt everything, or does it run smoothly in the background. I've been wanting to turn it on recently (work computer) but am afraid I won't be able to get work done while it is running the first time.
Pre-Lion... OSX came with "Filevault". With Lion... it has been upgraded to the much superior "Filevault II".

When you turn on FV2, it will start a background task of encrypting every file on your machine. The time required varies depending upon how much data you have, but mine have taken anywhere from a few minutes (for a new unused machine)... to a free hours for a moderately utilized MBA... to overnight for a 2TB iMac with about 1.2 TB of data.

Once you start it... you can use the machine like normal even while it is converting the data. The file system keeps track of which files and encrypted and so you do not have to worry about it. Your machine will run at full-tilt until the encryption is complete, and afterwards, you are very unlikely to notice its operation.

FV2 is pretty spectacular. I've turned it on for all 3 of our MBAs and all 3 of our iMacs. Personally... I think anyone who doesn't is nuts.

/Jim
 

CylonGlitch

macrumors 68030
Jul 7, 2009
2,929
123
SoCal
FV2 is pretty spectacular. I've turned it on for all 3 of our MBAs and all 3 of our iMacs. Personally... I think anyone who doesn't is nuts.
Thanks Jim, I'm going to turn it on my for my work computer. I'm still on Snow Leopard for now, but I'm expecting a new MBP when the next generation comes out so I'll be on Lion then. At least I know now that I can turn it on and let it chug along -- maybe I'll just do it over night since I have about 500GB of data to encrypt. :D
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,131
37
Portland, OR
Thanks Jim, I'm going to turn it on my for my work computer. I'm still on Snow Leopard for now, but I'm expecting a new MBP when the next generation comes out so I'll be on Lion then. At least I know now that I can turn it on and let it chug along -- maybe I'll just do it over night since I have about 500GB of data to encrypt. :D
Snow Leopard only supports the original FileVault. It is nowhere near as good as FV2. FV1 only encrypts your user data... and it operates somewhat goofy in that Time Machine will not back up your data for a given user unless you are logged out of that user account. (someone can correct me here if I am wrong).

FV2 is a quantum leap forward from FV1.

/Jim
 
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