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Security app helps recover 4 stolen MacBooks

updated 08:00 pm EDT, Tue September 11, 2007

4 stolen MacBooks back

Orbicule has announced that Undercover, their theft recovery software for Macs, recently succeeded in recovering four MacBooks at once. This past April a K-9 school in Sweden fell a victim to a thief's visit. The school was broken into and 4 brand new Macs were stolen despite all entrances securely locked. The Undercover software installed on the Macs was able to take pictures of the thief using the built-in iSights, and take screenshots of the activity taking place, eventually pegging down the thief's home address.

The company says: "Within 9 hours of the computers being stolen, Orbicule's Undercover software was transmitting screen shots from the stolen Mac, as well as snapshots of the thief himself. Working with law enforcement authorities and the local Internet provider, the physical address of the thief was obtained." On April 8, 5 days after the theft, the police called the victim to announce that the stolen computers had been recovered.

A single user license of Undercover costs $49, a household license is available for $59.

by MacNN Staff




  1. PhotoBug

    Joined: Dec 1969



    thats awesome.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    a clever swede... a potato-head thief every time!

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Easy to defeat

    1. Open computer away from you and slip some tape over the iSight.

    2. Disconnect from any network.

    3. Get what you need/want.

    4. Reformat.

    These software solutions are pretty much pointless to an educated theif.

  1. Clive

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "educated thief"

  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That's the point

    How many "educated thiefs" are out there? This is a fine system to catch your garden variety smash-and-grabber. This softwar also phones home with info about IP and other identifiers, so it's more htan just snapping pics.

    Actually, this software sounds pretty cool, the more I read about it on their site. "Undercover will show a full-screen message alerting the reseller or someone who bought the Mac from the thief that the Mac has been stolen..." "Additionally, your Mac will start shouting at the highest volume level, using its built-in text-to-speech capabilities. You can decide... what message is displayed"

    Now THAT, my friends, is some serious nagware! :)

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Depends what you want

    If you want the DATA, you're going to be an educated theif.

    If you want the hardware, you may not be so educated.

    Still, I fail to see the point - even with an IP address it may be a tough sell. I can connect to a few neighbors WiFI spots (without passwords) from my home and get out. And if the spot is WEP or WPA protected, it won't phone home without you supplying the passwords.

    Not to mention the software has to phone home to even know it's stolen. So if you were to steal a Mac and not connect to any Internet, you'd have free reign over it to get data out and reformat it before the software even knew it was gone.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    works as specified

    While everyone here has a valid point, statistical data is clear and very much in favour of this software. And it says that:

    Vast majority of these theives don't know squat about Macs;

    Vast majority of these thieves will either try to re-sell them on the street or through an acquaintance;

    Vast majority of the stolen laptops will be eventually turned on and booted the usual way, trying to log in and connect to a wireless network (my MacBook does that automatically by default).

    Therefore, vast majority of these computer will have that stealth software do exactly what it was designed to do and eventually facilitate quick and easy recovery.

    If your laptops leaves your home or office often, $50 is a good deal.

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