Manas Tungare

Laptop Theft Protector

When stolen, your laptop will report back to you vital network information (from AirPort, Ethernet and Bluetooth), plus a traceroute that can help you track where the laptop is, and screenshots as the thief is using your precioussss!

How It Works

You put a shell script onto your laptop and schedule it to run every X minutes via a cron job. You put a PHP script on a webserver you own and control. The laptop then checks with your webserver to ask if it has been stolen. It usually receives a reply that indicates that everything is OK. If it's ever stolen, you would change a variable on the server, which sends a different reply to the laptop the next time it connects. If the laptop gets such a reply, it goes into 'reporting mode' and starts keeping track of network connections and starts taking screenshots. It sends both of these to your server. The server stores them for your records and sends you email.

Some Assembly Required

This is a set of two scripts: a shell script, and a PHP script. You need a webserver to put the PHP script onto. If you have not heard of these terms before, or do not have a webserver to use, I recommend to you a commercial product that does a similar job: Orbicule Undercover.

Undercover Inspired

The idea for these scripts was inspired by the Undercover application sold commercially by Orbicule. Although I liked their product, I was not satisfied by the privacy safeguards in their system. I contacted Orbicule about my concerns, but their reply was not enough to convince me.