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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

Best anti-theft software?


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ksplitt

 
Member Since: May 04, 2010
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i hope this is the right Forum.

i have; 1. 33 GHz PowerPC G4, OS Tiger 10.4.11. would like your opinions on laptop anti-theft software. have read a lot about 'Undercover' by orbicule, Prey and Lojack for laptops. does anyone have personal experience with any of these? they seem the best. if others you like better, please tell me. cost is not an issue. am American living in Mexico.

Prey is open-source, free and your computer is not monitored until you report theft, correct?

Undercover is made for Macintosh; is that a plus?

Lojack seems to be the leader and the best, true or not? thank you for all your help.
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cwa107

 
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Honestly, every one of those packages is limited by one important factor - Internet connectivity and ensuring the veracity of the install. A smart laptop thief would immediately wipe the drive - and at that point, your protection is lost.

So, for the most part, those solutions are going to protect you from minor league thieves (opportunists), which can be deterred with a simple Kensington lock for the most part.

With that said, it can't hurt to leave a lightweight protection mechanism in place in the odd event the thief takes the machine and connects it to the Internet with the original OS in-place. You will also want to enable an EFI password to try to prevent the thief from booting the machine with alternate media in an attempt to format the drive (although this can be bypassed if the thief is smart).

As I said, since this software is only really effective in ideal situations, I wouldn't spend any money on it. Instead, I'd recommend installing Prey (the free version) and getting in the habit of using a physical lock when using it in public.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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ksplitt

 
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when you say these are; 'limited by one important factor- internet connectivity and ensuring the veracity of the install', what exactly do you mean?

you mention leaving 'a lightweight protection mechanism in place...' what would that be?

EFI? is that a Firmware Password?

i DO use my Kensington cable lock all the time and i back-up with CCC on an external HD, but i was interested in knowing about those anti-theft products. thank you very much for your advise!
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksplitt View Post
when you say these are; 'limited by one important factor- internet connectivity and ensuring the veracity of the install', what exactly do you mean?
Basically for any of this software to work, the thief has to take your laptop home and connect it to the Internet, without making any major modifications to the operating system. If they wipe the drive clean, as any intelligent thief will do, the software is completely ineffective.

Quote:
you mention leaving 'a lightweight protection mechanism in place...' what would that be?
I recommend Prey, as I mentioned previously.

Quote:
EFI? is that a Firmware Password?
Yes.

Quote:
i DO use my Kensington cable lock all the time and i back-up with CCC on an external HD, but i was interested in knowing about those anti-theft products. thank you very much for your advise!
If you install Prey, which is free, you should be well protected against the average thief. The other (pay-for) products out there are not any more effective and have the same vulnerabilities as Prey - so, money won't buy you any substantial extra measure of protection over Prey.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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ksplitt

 
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again...thank you! this forum is most excellent! you people are always very helpful.
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You might want to test Prey first on your Mac since you use an older version. I tried looking but couldn't find system requirements for Prey so I have no idea if it will work with Tiger.

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An important note regarding an EFI (firmware) password: Older Macs employ a somewhat less secure method of storing the EFI password which means (as pointed out by cwa107) it can be bypassed by a smart thief. However, newer Macs use a method of securing the EFI password which can only be reset or bypassed by Apple.
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