Stolen computer tracking


G

GaryT

Any freeware that will allow one to locate a stolen computer that connects
back to the Internet? I am looking for extra security for a college-bound
laptop.

Gary
 
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B

Bebop & Rocksteady

Any freeware that will allow one to locate a stolen computer that connects
back to the Internet? I am looking for extra security for a college-bound
laptop.
??? you are kidding right...
 
C

Craig

Bebop said:
??? you are kidding right...
I know they exist in payware-land. But haven't heard of one as
freeware. Interesting concept: Load a "white-hat" virus.

OK, try the following. Ztrace may have discontinued the free version
so, even if it were still available, it may be useless.
<http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Utilities/Misc__Utilities/zTrace_Basic.html>

I haven't checked for reg/nag/share or anything else on this one. But
you can be darned sure it'll phone home. <grin>

hth,
-Craig
 
D

Dave Turner

Youre assuming that the thief will connect the laptop to the Internet. Even
if you do use such a program, all it'd really be able to tell you remotely
is its current IP address (and its easy to write a program that does that).
That may be enough though, as the laptop should still be in the same city it
was stolen in so you could provide that IP address to the police and go from
there.
 
B

Bebop & Rocksteady

I know they exist in payware-land. But haven't heard of one as
freeware. Interesting concept: Load a "white-hat" virus.

OK, try the following. Ztrace may have discontinued the free version
so, even if it were still available, it may be useless.
<http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Utilities/Misc__Utilities/zTrace_Basi
c.html>

I haven't checked for reg/nag/share or anything else on this one. But
you can be darned sure it'll phone home. <grin>

it i was to steal a computer (not that I would need or want to) the first
thing i would do is a low level format, makes your application a bit useless
or even possiblychange Hard drives
 
H

HVS

On 31 Mar 2006, Bebop & Rocksteady wrote
it i was to steal a computer (not that I would need or want
to) the first thing i would do is a low level format, makes
your application a bit useless or even possiblychange Hard
drives
That'd be the case if it was someone stealing it professionally,
but I wonder how many thefts are that organised; I suspect that
a lot of people who nick laptops are either opportunistic, or
flogging it quickly down the pub.

Tracking software could well turn out to be useless, but having
it on there might work; couldn't hurt.
 
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Z

Zaphod

There are such programs.. I have and just found it recently, while
organising stuff in my collection the other day, a disk from a
magazine I bought while on holiday and desperately in need of something
to read while on a bus trip ..the disk had several freeware and other
programs which did just that .. the magazine was for mobile computing..
so I'm sure googling should turn up something.. my question is .. if it
is a laptop or even another type of PC how would something such as that
work if the owner of the computer was smart enough to have his bios and
his OS properly password protected including the admin account and the
BIOS set to boot from the hard drive only (if possible) ... sure...on
many computers this can be got around ... BUT .. many laptops it
can't.. and I'm sure the likelihood of regaining that stolen item is
small .. but I want the thief to suffer ... or at least the receiver of
my property to suffer for robbing me of my possession
 
C

Craig

Zaphod said:
...<stuff deleted>.. but I want the thief to suffer ... or at least the receiver of
my property to suffer for robbing me of my possession
Zaphod;

Suffer? Hmmm. A script that loops photos from the family's last
vacation? Seems to work for my houseguests.

<grin>
-Craig
 
B

Bebop & Rocksteady

That'd be the case if it was someone stealing it professionally,
but I wonder how many thefts are that organised; I suspect that
a lot of people who nick laptops are either opportunistic, or
flogging it quickly down the pub.

Tracking software could well turn out to be useless, but having
it on there might work; couldn't hurt.
I would still at least format the hard drive...
 
A

Al Klein

Any freeware that will allow one to locate a stolen computer that connects
back to the Internet? I am looking for extra security for a college-bound
laptop.
Only if you can guarantee that none of the hardware and none of the
software on the computer can be changed.

That and a dollar will win you the lottery.
 
E

ellis_jay

Bebop said:
??? you are kidding right...
Slam me but with one daughter finishing her sophomore year in college and
another daughter starting her freshman year in a few months I suggest you
look elsewhere than this forum. I doubt a program with the kind of service
you need would or could be written because of the time needed for the
program writer to work the upstream stuff. So:
http://laptopmag.com/Features/Get-It-Back.htm?Page=1

http://laptopmag.com/Features/Get-It-Back.htm?Page=2


http://laptopmag.com/Features/Get-It-Back.htm?Page=3


http://laptopmag.com/Features/Get-It-Back.htm?Page=4



--
I don't know what's more pathetic, Jack Abramoff's sleaze or Republican
paralysis in the face of it. Abramoff walks out of a D.C. courthouse in
his pseudo-Hasidic homburg, and all that leading Republicans can do is
promise to return his money and remind everyone that some Democrats are
involved in the scandal, too.

That's a great G.O.P. talking point: some Democrats are so sleazy, they
get involved with the likes of us.

_______David Brooks


Ellis_Jay
 
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M

meow2222

Bebop said:
it i was to steal a computer (not that I would need or want to) the first
thing i would do is a low level format, makes your application a bit useless
or even possiblychange Hard drives
I recall reading it was format proof, it moves itself into RAM when it
sees a format coming, then back onto the disc. Dont have any details
though, and dont recall the name of it.

You dont know whether the pc will be netted or not, but its likely, and
gives you some odds of it being returned. Most thiefs arent computer
experts, ditto most buyers of stolen goods. Presumably.


NT
 
T

thunder7

C.T.R.S. Computer Theft Recovery Software

C.T.R.S. is a program that is designed to assist in the recovery of
stolen computers. C.T.R.S. does this by using the telephone network to
help detect the actual physical location of stolen computers and the
persons operating them.

Excellent Program I have in use on my own PC's
http://wave.prohosting.com/ctrs/
 
M

Morten Skarstad

GaryT skrev:
Any freeware that will allow one to locate a stolen computer that connects
back to the Internet? I am looking for extra security for a college-bound
laptop.
Your best options are hardware based, not software.

A good (and cheap) start would be somehow visually marking the computer
in such a way that nobody would fail noticing who's computer it is prior
to picking it up. "PROPERTY OF GARY T. - PHONE NO xxx-xxxxxxx" in large
letters would probably make your computer butt ugly, but also a lot
harder to sell and hence less tempting to steal.

You can also buy some sort of wire that you can use to physically chain
the computer into a fixed object, such as a wall or a large piece of
furniture. Not very useful when you are carrying the computer around, of
course, but very effective for keeping laptops from disappearing from
offices etc.

Then of course, there is is Zaphods suggestion of fixing a GPS to your
laptop ;o)

If you want a software based solution, the easiest is probably putting a
simple script that mails any given information (current public and
private IP address etc) to a fixed e-mail address into the startup
folder. Then cross your fingers that whoever gets their dirty hands on
your computer are not very competent. If they are, bypassing _any_
software based alarm system will be easy.
 
A

Al Klein

Bebop & Rocksteady wrote:
I recall reading it was format proof, it moves itself into RAM when it
sees a format coming, then back onto the disc. Dont have any details
though, and dont recall the name of it.
Because no one has written it yet. Come back in about 300 years, when
computers become self-aware. I can boot your Windows computer with a
Linux CD, do whatever I want to it, and the Windows software sitting
on the drive will never be aware that the computer was turned on. To
the Linux computer it's just become, that program is just bits on a
drive.

If they told you that the program was part of a BIOS flash update,
they might have as much credibility as a 5-year-old who swears that
there's an invisible monster living under his bed - but whoever told
you that fairy tale was smoking some pretty good stuff.

Or I can just take out the drive, format it in my computer (I have
adapters to plug notebook drives into standard IDE cables), and the
result is the same thing, plus I get to steal all your data.

And I'm not even an expert, I'm just a fairly competent systems
analyst with 30 years under my belt. My wife's nephew could probably
do the same things without even being in the same city as your laptop
- regardless of whatever "super-intelligent" software someone claims
exists.
 
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A

Al Klein

C.T.R.S. Computer Theft Recovery Software
C.T.R.S. is a program that is designed to assist in the recovery of
stolen computers. C.T.R.S. does this by using the telephone network to
help detect the actual physical location of stolen computers and the
persons operating them.
As in "your computer seems to be connected to a phone line in Los
Angeles" - when it's connected to a VOIP point in NY.

Insurance and a good backup routine are a lot cheaper. And proven
technology.
 

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