Anti-theft laptop app snags nabbed iMac

The expense notwithstanding, programs like GadgetTrak do result in equipment recovery now and again. The creators' blog explains how it works with a splendid real-world example:
The system was stolen two weeks ago and then connected to the Internet two days ago, the device was recovered this morning. GadgetTrak's MacTrak software captured a photo of who was using the system as well as pinpointed the location within a few meters, all of the data was uploaded automatically to the device owner's Flickr account and email. The NYPD followed up and recovered the system, along with two other stolen laptops from different cases.
Smart thieves reformat, but most thieves are not smart. GadgetTrak Recovers Stolen iMac In New York [GadgetTrak via Gadget Lab]

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14 Responses to Anti-theft laptop app snags nabbed iMac

  1. RedShirt77 says:

    It’s nice when big brother is on your side.

  2. Funkenstein says:

    I wonder how much of those other gadgets are stolen?

  3. Matt J says:

    It’s nice when big brother is on your side.

    What the fuck does this have to do with Big Brother? Are you saying that you shouldn’t be allowed to install surveillance software on your own computer to help in the event of a theft?

  4. Kevin says:

    Actually by setting the firmware on your Mac, or a BIOS password on your PC you can mitigate risks associated with reformatting. There are BIOS solutions out there, but they appear to actually open more security risks to your system than they solve.

  5. dculberson says:

    I’m not sure that the properties of “big brother” are transitive. Meaning, while surveillance of the citizenry by the state seems “big brother,” an individual surveilling their own computer does not.

  6. Andy S. says:

    I suspect that many thieves aren’t really after the computer, but rather the personal info therein. A thief could do a lot more with a credit card number or a bank login than they could with a laptop, after all.

    But that’s just more reason to use security software like GadgetTrak or Undercover. Now you can catch both the stupid thieves and the ones that have truly lofty goals.

  7. RedShirt77 says:

    “What the fuck does this have to do with Big Brother?”

    I only meant that the technology is a little frightening. The ability of a computer to tell a remote location its position within a few meters and photograph its user without their knowledge is a little scary. Who is to keep employers from installing this software on laptops they own?

    If my laptop was stolen I would love to have this on it. But in the wrong hands it is a little scary.

  8. O_M says:

    …WHY is this bastard’s face blocked out? Showing what this scumbag looks like might just help recover the notebook!

  9. O_M says:

    …Ack. Nevermind. *Somehow* I honestly didn’t see the quote pop up about how this choad was busted. I blame Firefox not loading the page properly, dammit.

  10. Tin Foil Hat says:


    You might be interested in this, it looks like they had paranoid folks like you in mind…I LOVE the photo:

  11. knodi says:

    If you believe most thieves are after personal data, then you’re living in a a paranoid fantasy world that even Bruce Schneier would think is silly. Maybe if you’re a targeted government employee.

    Most gadget theft is done so that the thief can actually have the gadget, or so he can pawn it, or sell it out of the back of his van. If you have the skills to capitalize on stolen data, you’d be smart enough to realize that crime doesn’t pay as well as IT jobs.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “WHY is this bastard’s face blocked out?”

    Even if “this bastard” is the actual suspect and not someone who bought a stolen machine unawares, face SHOULD be blocked out.

  13. nisha says:

    knodi: yep, I agree. usually thieves steal laptops to sell to other people. however, sometimes some thieves probably smart enough to get the data inside the laptop and that’s when it grows ugly, especially if the laptop is some executive’s laptop with ssn and tons other info.

  14. Marcus says:

    Nisha – if this is a corporate laptop with sensitive information on it, then that data should be encrypted.

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