June 06, 2011
By now, everyone has heard about Joshua Kaufman, who was able to recover his stolen laptop by using tracking software and the social media. Joshua was able to post pictures of the thief on line, on his blog, and on his Twitter account. His story was eventually picked up by mainstream media. The result: his laptop was recovered! However, according to Absolute Software, a maker of tools to retrieve lost or stolen laptops, one laptop is stolen every 102 minutes.
Xennix has seen this happen first hand, as one of our employee’s laptops was stolen from their house a few weeks ago. Although we were not concerned about data loss or confidential records being leaked due to our high security standards, we did recognize that we had lost a physical asset. Recovering lost or stolen laptops is something businesses are faced with every day, and some businesses are smart and implement security policies such as:
Making sure employees only save on the network drives Backing up all data including emails Using Encryption key and a BIOS password
Most businesses would rather recover the physical asset and see the bad guys get caught, like in the case of Joshua Kaufman. Xennix has researched some different tracking applications and services to implement for ourselves and for those clients who are interested. Read on to see our findings.
A very popular option is Prey at http://preyproject.com/ . This software only requires 2-3 megs of RAM in windows and its basic account is free of charge. It will sound an alarm, show a message, or lock down the device when you realize it has been stolen. It will track your device when a thief tries to connect to the internet and it will generate the location of your device and a picture of the thief. With this information you can help the police track your device. Prey also has a PreyPro package which allows you to track up to 500 devices. According to Preyproject.com, their laptop tracking device works all over the world.
Although Prey also works with Macs, Apple has its own software called Hidden. You can check that option at http://hiddenapp.com/
Another popular tracking agent is LoJack for laptops by Absolute Software. This option, although slightly more expensive, provides extra features. LoJack comes with a Theft Recovery Team that works with you and local law enforcement. It also locks your computer remotely and you can remotely delete personal files, pictures, or confidential data. It is also the only software that offers a persistent patented technology. What does this do exactly? Well, thieves have gotten smarter over time and the first thing they may want to do with your laptop is wipe it. What if that happens? A testimony obtained from LoJack’s website states that “if the software is maliciously removed from your hard drive, it can silently reinstall itself.”
LoJack works with computer manufacturers to embed the Computrace Agent into the firmware of computers. You can find the models that have this technology embedded on their website. At Xennix, we understand that the first line of defense is physical security-don’t leave your laptop in your car and don’t let it out of your sight at an airport. However, there are things that our out of our control, and for those situations these agents can come in handy and increase the chances of recovering your laptop. A tracking agent, along with physical security, a BIOS password, and encryption are steps you can take to protect your very valuable assets!
As a side note, there may be privacy concerns with all tracking software, but you can read about their privacy policies on their websites.
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