Remote access programs are good security for laptops

Don’t be [Gabriel Meija], the criminal pictured above. He stole [Jose Caceres]‘ laptop, but didn’t realize that [Caceres] had installed a remote access program to track the activity on the laptop. Although the first few days were frustrating, as [Meija] didn’t seem to be using the laptop for anything but porn, [Caceres]‘ luck turned when he noticed that an address was being typed in. [Caceres] turned the information over to police, who were able to find [Meija] and charge him with fourth-degree grand larceny. It’s not the first time that tech-savvy consumers have relied on remote access programs to capture the criminals who’ve stolen their computer equipment, and it certainly won’t be the last, as the technology becomes more readily available to consumers.

[via Obscure Store and Reading Room]

Adeona: An open source laptop tracking system


Adeona is an open source internet-based laptop tracking system that is free to use. It’s available for Linux, OSX, and Windows XP/Vista. After installation, Adeona will submit at random intervals, anonymously encrypted updates on the computer’s location to servers on the Internet, specifically to OpenDHT, a free storage service. The information is kept on the servers for one week. If your laptop becomes lost or stolen, you can use the retrieval tool to access information about where your laptop was last used: the external IP address, internal IP address, and nearby routers. If your laptop is a Mac, you can also download isightcapture to grab a picture of the thief. Adeona is designed to protect against common criminals who may not have much technological knowledge, and does not have any protections against events such as disk wipes. The open source nature of Adeona’s system means that there’s ample opportunity to improve upon the release or add extensions. Here’s one user who really likes what he sees.

[via Schneier]

Behead your laptop


[Mark] sent in this nice trick for breathing new life into an old laptop. [Sarc] had a tibook with a broken LCD. It was still usable with an external monitor, so he simply removed the broken LCD. The tibook (and MacBook) uses a magnetic sensor to monitor the LCD position. To put the machine in the right mode, he taped a magnet in place to make the machine think that the display was in the closed position. To really clean things up, he mounted all the hardware under the desk and used a wireless keyboard and mouse with the machine.

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