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powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: ajakeski
Date: January 19, 2006 09:57PM
I have been using Lapcop on my PowerBook. It sends you an email whenever the computer logs on from a different IP. Now they've updated Lapcop and call it Undercover. It has more features, etc. $44 for a family license (5 Macs) not a bad deal, even beter deal if you have already bought a lapcop license ($25)
[orbicule.com]
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 19, 2006 10:19PM
Yup, I was going to post about this myself -- have been in communications with the company... that's the one I posted about earlier this week.

Undercover is completely different from Lapcop -- the feature set is quite different...




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: ajakeski
Date: January 19, 2006 10:24PM
Here's the email I got about this update:
Dear LapCop user,

Since its release, LapCop has become one of the most popular theft-recovery applications for Mac OS X. Over the past years, we received many comments from users and we have done a lot of research on how to improve LapCop, making it more reliable and even easier to setup.

Introducing Undercover
Today, we are proud to unveil our next generation theft recovery software: Undercover. Because we appreciate your support for LapCop, you are among the first to know about this quantum leap in anti-theft software.

Undercover routinely checks with the Undercover server. In case of theft, the Mac's unique Undercover ID is added to the database on the Undercover server, initiating the recovery process. During the recovery phase, Undercover transmits its current location on the internet, enabling the Undercover team to identify the computer's exact physical location. Moreover, Undercover also sends screenshots of the stolen Mac, revealing details of the thief's identity. The Undercover recovery center will then work with law enforcement to recover the Mac.

In case recovery fails, the software has an ingenious plan B: it will simulate a hardware failure, urging the thief to send the computer in for repair or sell it. As soon as the thief gets rid of the Mac, Undercover will warn the new user that the Mac has been stolen and that it should be returned as soon as possible. The computer will shout from time to time that it has been stolen and Undercover will take over the screen, displaying how the Mac can be returned while making the computer unusable.

Upgrading from LapCop
Upgrading from LapCop to Undercover takes two minutes and ten seconds (we timed it). Undercover costs $29.99 for a single user license and $44 for a household license.
Please visit the Undercover page at: [orbicule.com] for more information on this great new product. Or use the following link to directly download Undercover: [orbicule.com]

Special time-limited offer for LapCop users
Since you are a registered LapCop user, we want to thank you for your support by offering you an Undercover household license for only $25 (in stead of $44)*! For this one-time fee, your current license of LapCop will be upgraded to an Undercover household license that will secure up to 5 Macs. This offer will end on February 28.
If you have purchased LapCop in December 2005 or January 2006, you will receive a free upgrade to Undercover! Just forward us your Kagi receipt and we will send you a license key.

System requirements
Undercover requires Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later. Undercover is a universal application, so it runs natively on both PPC and Intel based Macs.

Future of LapCop
LapCop will still be available for users that are not on Tiger yet. And of course, your current copy of LapCop will keep on working for at least another year. We won't develop new versions of LapCop however. Moreover, we highly recommend Undercover, and we think you'll agree that it is a stunning application that's well worth the upgrade.


As you will notice when visiting our website, we have started a brand new company, called Orbicule, that will focus on developing great Mac OS X software, including Undercover.

Sincerely,

Peter Schols
CEO SweetCocoa / Orbicule
[orbicule.com]



* This offer is not valid for site licenses and education licenses
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 19, 2006 10:35PM
Yes, Peter S. is the one with whom I have been in discussions...

I was looking seriously at LapCop, and then he told me to wait off until UnderCover was released.

It sounds very good... the idea is to get around the problem of what to do if law enforcement decides not to cooperate in the recovery of your laptop...




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: davester
Date: January 19, 2006 10:58PM
I hear that the Plan C (an additional $29.95 fee) has your laptop sprout legs and walk home using the integral GPS system to find its way.
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: Marcos Malo
Date: January 19, 2006 11:03PM
How does the software deal with complete reformats? Installing a new HD?



_____________________________________________
I think….
there….
4a.m.
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 19, 2006 11:46PM
Marcos, you prevent either of those two things by:

1) Installing a firmware password, won't let the thief boot from a CD or use target disk mode

2) Installing a new hard drive -- I'm not 100% sure about this, but apparently the firmware does not reside in the hard drive? So that so long as the thief cannot boot from another disk, the laptop will stay useless. (So said Peter S. when I asked him about that possibility.)




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: Marcos Malo
Date: January 20, 2006 12:38AM
Just curious, but aren't there firmware cracks? Or can one really secure a notebook this way?



_____________________________________________
I think….
there….
4a.m.
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: JEBB
Date: January 20, 2006 07:35AM
With the new Macs with built-in cameras, will it take a picture of the theif?
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 20, 2006 11:08AM
Marcos, yes, there are ways to hack the firmware password. But I've heard that it's risky, and you may end up with a nonfunctional machine in the process (doing unsupported hacks on firmware usually is!) ... so the thief has to weigh the risks of possibly destroying the machine, and getting something worthless out of it, versus just selling it...




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: Kiva
Date: January 20, 2006 11:35AM
peterb: how do you do #1?

kiva
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: davester
Date: January 20, 2006 11:47AM
PeterB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
... so the thief has to weigh the
> risks of possibly destroying the machine, and
> getting something worthless out of it, versus just
> selling it...

Plus...why on earth would the thief even be doing this, since it would be highly unlikely that they would know what the heck was wrong with the computer.
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Re: powerbook anti-theft
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 20, 2006 12:43PM
Well, Davester, I suspect that they would figure out it's firmware password protected, because when you try to boot a machine which has firmware password protection from a CD or use the option key, you get a screen which makes it fairly clear that it's password-protected.

Kiva, info on firmware password protection here: [docs.info.apple.com]

Note that the thief could still boot up in OS9 to bypass the firmware password, but... they would still have to figure out a way to boot into OS9... which having the firmware password set makes very hard, if not impossible, since it disables the ability to boot from a CD or with the option key.

Also note that there are definitely other ways around the firmware password-- nothing is ever 100%... but the question is whether the thief really wants to deal with all that.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2006 12:51PM by PeterB.
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