What safety measures can I take to maximize my chances of finding my MBP if stolen?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Suno, May 16, 2013.

  1. Suno macrumors 6502

    Suno

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2011
    #1
    I almost had my laptop stolen today. I know it's foolish of me to have left it unguarded, but I didn't actually think someone might try while I had my back momentarily turned to get coffee at Barnes and Noble.

    I want to make sure that if my laptop is stolen, then I can recover it as quickly as possible through helping the police and whatnot.
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

    Staff Member

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    #2
    You may consider a service like Undercover. I have this on one of my Mac's. I've read in the news about successful recovery's with their software/service.
     
  3. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030

    yusukeaoki

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    Mar 22, 2011
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    Tokyo, Japan
    #3
    I use Prey by Prey Projects.
    Also heard successful stories on this.
    I dont want to face situations where I have to use this but its a great safety precaution.

    http://preyproject.com/blog/tag/mac
     
  4. johnnnw macrumors 65816

    johnnnw

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    #4
    When you say almost stolen, what happened?

    Let's hear it!

    I'll guess though.

    Public library, walked away for a few seconds to get a book or something, walking back and you see someone lifting it up carrying it away.
     
  5. Badrottie Suspended

    Badrottie

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    Los Angeles
    #5
    What about LoJack? I saw this at Apple store. :apple:
     
  6. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030

    yusukeaoki

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    #6
    For maximum security, I recommend bolting a kensington lock to the ground and lock your MBP up.
     
  7. whiteonline macrumors 6502

    whiteonline

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    California, USA
    #7
    The odds of getting your macbook returned are pretty low.
    Concentrate on your behaviors (such as you noted, not turning your back on it in public).

    Secondly, secure your data.
    Utilize filevault 2 to make the data on SSD/HDD inaccessible.
    Utilize the firmware password. This will prevent the thief from using alternate boot media -- basically makes the machine a doorstop to them (especially since Apple fixed the RAM pull method of bypassing it last year).

    Using these recovery/tracking apps makes the machine less secure as they generally require the machine to be somewhat accessible to start up.

    Personally, I value my data more than the machine (I'm not rich, just realize identity theft and other issues are much more of an expense in time/money).
     
  8. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #8
    I think those are really the only things one can do. If everybody did it there wouldn't be much tech stolen. A firmware password is virtually unbreakable. In most cases one would need to swap out the logic board and that is the most costly part of the system. The thief basically has a brick on metal after he tries to restart it. Filevault 2 can by itself only protect the data on the hdd/ssd but also keep a notebook in standby fairly secure.

    If a thief ends up with an unusable device that doesn't work there is at least the chance that they dump it somewhere, where somebody finds and if there is some sticker with your address on it they may send it back to you. Or they give it to the police which then may find you as the owner via serial number.

    Quite often people sell stolen stuff and don't use it themselves. It is much harder to sell stuff that doesn't work.

    All these recover services I think are rather useless because they hinge on your thieve not knowing about them and just being stupid. They are easily circumvented. I don't know when they ever really work. You can immediately shut them down by not providing any internet when you turn it on (as a thief). Then just steal the data one finds interesting and format the entire harddrive. I can only see that stuff working if your thief is a really tech unsavvy fool who has no idea what he/she is doing.
     
  9. Nick012 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    #9
    This.

    My laptop was the only thing stolen in a burglary last month and it hasn't popped up on the find my iphone thing since. Pros know that macs are more likely to be tracked so they don't connect them to the net.

    tl;dr: If you're mac is stolen you'll never see it again.
     
  10. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #10
    This plus if your not the sort of person to swap tech every 5 ,inutes then consider lazer etching your details into the lid of the machine.
     
  11. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #11
    The thing to note about firmware a password is you absolutely must not forget it. You cannot call Apple and ask them to help you if you do forget it. They can but it will cost you an arm and a leg.
     
  12. Modernape macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #12
    If you use Filevault, then Apple's own 'Find My Mac' will work (but must be enabled through iCloud system prefs).

    If you want more detailed tracking, Prey is good (can take web-cam shots as well as wifi location & remote wipe of the keychain). However this requires the Guest User account to be enabled in login prefs. Without that they can't get online. Prey will not work with Filevault however.
     
  13. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    #13
    If it's stolen, you're never getting it back. Better to concentrate on not getting it stolen in the first place, for example, by never, ever letting it out of arms reach and sight when in public. It only takes a few seconds for someone to walk by your laptop, close it and shove it in their bag.
     
  14. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #14
    That's not true. Sometimes they do get recovered and get profiled in the news. I've seen it happen. Here is a link to many recovered Mac's by using the Orbicule software Undercover, which I also use.

    http://www.orbicule.com/undercover/mac/recovery.html

    Wise words to live by and steps everyone should take.
     
  15. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #15
    Well there are obviously a few very stupid thieves out there. What percentage of the total stolen with such a software on it those cases actually represents would be interesting.
     
  16. BL4zD macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    #16
    yeah, best to consider a stolen device as non-recoverable. It'll be difficult even getting a full police report about the incident these days.

    My iPad was toast despite being trackable on a university network. At least I pushed it far enough for the police to subpoena the network logs but it was like pulling teeth and nothing came of it anyway.

    What about this filevault2? Does it slow down data access at all?
     
  17. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #17
    My buddy's iPad was stolen and the find my iPad told us where it was, at least for awhile. The Boston police wouldn't be bothered, however, and advised against us pursuing it to that neighborhood.

    So even if you know where it is, its likely not to do you much good.
     
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #18
    Pretty much completely. Your data is safe if they cannot guess you password. However that doesn't keep them from formatting the harddriver, exchanging the drive and using the notebook. Most notebooks don't get stolen for the data on them but for the hardware.

    Filevault 1 was broken but I think FV2 is not afaik. Nobody breaks the encryption not even NSA supercomputers (TV shows really give wrong impressions there). If there is no problem with how authentication is setup (or some purposefully implemented backdoor), nobody gets in without a password.
    It doesn't slow it down it, it blocks access completely and forever.

    In any case you can assume that FV2 will protect your data from virtually any possible thief. Even if there is a backdoor for police it probably requires special hardware and knowledge. Any idiot can get around undercover like tracking software. You really don't need to know much to handle that.
     
  19. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    Jan 23, 2005
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    California
    #19
    Yes it does, but very little. Here is a test with FV2 on and then off. I have it on on my 2012 13" MBA and don't notice the speed difference at all.
     
  20. Badrottie Suspended

    Badrottie

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    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    This….just because your city is too big for police to look for. It happened to my iPhone and LA is very big city so police will not look it for me. :apple:
     

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