Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Open Source Adeona Tracks Lost & Stolen Laptops

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the marco-polo-marco-polo dept.

192

An anonymous reader writes "Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. This means that you can install Adeona on your laptop and go — there's no need to rely on a single third party. What's more, Adeona addresses a critical privacy goal different from existing commercial offerings. It is privacy-preserving. This means that no one besides the owner (or an agent of the owner's choosing) can use Adeona to track a laptop. Unlike other systems, users of Adeona can rest assured that no one can abuse the system in order to track where they use their laptop."

cancel ×

192 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hmm... (5, Funny)

dahitokiri (1113461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181581)

Mobile device + Linux + Adeona == cheap way to keep tabs on your girlfriend/wife/kids at all times?

Re:Hmm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24181687)

girlfriend/wife/kids

I especially like the order you've put those.

Re:Hmm... (0, Offtopic)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181879)

Hans is that you?

=Smidge=

Re:Hmm... (5, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182051)

...No, he knew where she was the whole time...

Re:Hmm... (4, Funny)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182013)

What??? Little Jimmy has his laptop open at the local strip bar? Sweet, I didn't know they had open wifi!

Re:Hmm... (4, Funny)

Potatomasher (798018) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182429)

woha ! +3 Informative ?
Guys... THE strip bar doesn't really have open wifi. It was a joke. Now come back to your desks...

Re:Hmm... (2, Funny)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183097)

I'm as surprised as you are.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183829)

The fact that this got modded "insightful" is rather intriguing.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182521)

Ok, let's look at the log!

Starbucks
Starbucks
Starbucks
Starbucks...

But without a central service (5, Interesting)

pxc (938367) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181613)

it may be more difficult for Adeona to gain traction with non-technical law enforcement officers.

"So who do I call to confirm that this laptop is stolen?"
"Umm, me. You see, there's this free software called Adeona that anyone can set up to track their own laptop."
"Never heard of it..."

In previous threads about stolen laptops (like the AskSlashdot thread on how best to recover a stolen laptop) I read some anecdotes where people were in a similar situation with similarly-purposed software that they rolled themselves. Perhaps the software having a common face (same name and features) will be enough to solve this problem.

Re:But without a central service (2, Insightful)

acklenx (646834) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181813)

"So who do I call to confirm that this laptop is stolen?"

The owner is probably the only person that should report it stolen regardless of the software "tracking" it. And how does someone know this laptop is your laptop? Perhaps the serial number (unless it has a large scratch through it). You do file that information with your insurance company, right?

Re:But without a central service (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182083)

"So who do I call to confirm that this laptop is stolen?"

The owner is probably the only person that should report it stolen regardless of the software "tracking" it. And how does someone know this laptop is your laptop? Perhaps the serial number (unless it has a large scratch through it). You do file that information with your insurance company, right?

I think the OP meant that this is how s/he imagined the conversation going at the police station; viz. unless and until the software is well known and respected, the fact that you have evidence to suggest where the laptop is is neither here nor there because there's a strong chance that the authorities will refuse to follow up on your evidence because they've got no reason to pay it much heed.

Re:But without a central service (5, Interesting)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182529)

The important thing is to provide all the relevant details when you file a police report -- model, color, and most importantly serial number. If you don't file a police report, then nothing has been stolen as far as the law is concerned.

I did not have my serial number written down anywhere, but when my house was burglarized a few months ago and my Macbook Pro was stolen, Apple was able to provide me with it along with a copy of my invoice. I made sure the police report had the serial number in it, even though I did not have any special software installed for tracking it.

A few weeks later, I found a bunch of new bookmarks in my browser that I didn't recognize and I realized whatever fool had my laptop had not bothered to re-image it, and was still using my Firefox profile, which was still connected to my Foxmarks [foxmarks.com] account.

So I changed them all to point to a redirect page on my own webserver, and set up a cron job to watch the logs and email me whenever it got a hit. Foxmarks dutifully synced my changes down to my stolen laptop the next time the guy opened Firefox, and suddenly I had his I.P. address. He sent it to me several times a day, and it was always from the same IP.

Now, the police in my precinct are not technical, but I called them and left a message explaining the information I had, and referencing my case number, and making it very clear that all they needed to do was get a subpoena to get the subscriber information from Comcast. It took about a week for someone to call me back to find out what the hell I was talking about, about 20 minutes on the phone for me to give him a brief "TCP/IP 101," and then about three more weeks for them to get the paperwork through the courts. But then one day the detective called me up, told me he was standing in the suspect's apartment, and asked me where to find the serial number on the laptop.

I told him how to remove the battery and find the serial number, he matched it against the police report, and I had it back a couple of hours later. The guy that was using it got charged with a felony (receiving and concealing stolen property).

All of my personal files were still on the laptop, just moved into the trash bin. Along with several pictures of the guy and his buddies mugging for the camera and throwing gang signs. (These, of course, I burned to a CD and gave to the police).

Anyway, my point is just that even though the cops are usually not remotely technical, they will follow up on this sort of thing if you are polite, take the time to explain the technology, and make sure to follow procedure by filing a detailed report as soon as your laptop is stolen.

I'll definitely be installing this software on the laptop as soon as I have a free moment -- I got lucky with Foxmarks, but it's better to be prepared than lucky.

Re:But without a central service (1)

z80kid (711852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183803)

It sounds like you either live in a nice area, or you have an influential profession. :)

I think the OP was referring to the fact that in many places in the US, the police only really respect lawyers and corporations with lawyers. These people might actually cause trouble for them. For anyone else, they will begrudgingly file a report and no more.

Re:But without a central service (3, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181865)

Don't worry, I'm working on the open source justice mob!

Let's just say it involves a lot of chinese communists, farming tractors, and a boat to store the mob offshore.

PayPal donations welcome!

Re:But without a central service (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181975)

ooh chinese? aren't mexican's cheaper to offshore?

Re:But without a central service (3, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182867)

Good lord, man! Misusing an apostrophe in a Slashdot thread? When the parent poster owns an open-source justice mob?

Delete your account! Throw away your computer! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

The Linux Way (2, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182019)

Also, what does it do that the following doesn't do in crontab?

1 * * * * wget -O /dev/null http://www.myprivatehomepage.com 2>/dev/null

Re:But without a central service (2, Insightful)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182249)

Now that's just silly. First off, if they are not technically oriented, you would simply drop them into dummy mode [ntk.net] and then feed them instructions. Second, chances are since you were the one to set up the program, you would be the one to sign in and get the location data. Then you would call the authorities and say "according to my gps-enabled tracking software, the laptop is at location X," and they would send out a detective. If the detective is unwilling to accept your data, then you are parsing it wrong.

Re:But without a central service (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182467)

You can mention MOSt of the laptop tracking apps out there and the response will be "Never heard of it..."

MOST non-technical law enforcement officers haven't heard of most tools used like this.

Hell most havent heard of linux or even understand what wifi is.

It will have as much traction as the open source CCTV systems and closed source CCTV systems do. Most of them blink when you hand them a CD with CCTV footage on it and the viewer app and they ask, "so I can play this on a DVD player?" 99.997% of all commercial security recorders record to a special format that is only viewable by the special player software.

your local storm troopers dont know squat past how to fill out the paperwork.

Re:But without a central service (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182499)

it may be more difficult for Adeona to gain traction with non-technical law enforcement officers.

Um, LEOs would actually love to have this preinstalled on laptops, desktops, cellphones, game pads, game consoles, and everything else under the sun. All they need is for you to file a police report that X device is stolen. The tricky thing is how easy would it be to make a LEO account so you could log in some where and give Joe Bob Police Officer tracking rights to that cell phone and ipod that were just stolen, but not the LCD tv, pc, and all the other toys.

Trust me, LEO would love for you to have your own tracking software/hardware installed on everything that you own because it makes there job so much easier.

Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (5, Insightful)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181633)

All you have to do is reformat the hard drive and now some one has your laptop for free.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (4, Insightful)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181707)

Sure. This is betting on the fact that a lot of thieves are too dumb to do that, and either use or pawn the laptop without doing much to it. I'm willing to bet that's the case more often than not.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (5, Informative)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181779)

Actually they state as much right in their FAQ:

What if a thief removes the software, reinstalls the OS or doesn't connect to the Internet?

A motivated and sufficiently equipped or knowledgeable thief can always prevent Internet device tracking: he or she can erase software on the device, deny Internet access, or even destroy the device. For example, Adeona currently has no mechanisms for attempting to survive a disk wipe.

We point out that we do not believe this renders Adeona (and other location-tracking systems) useless. The Adeona system was designed to protect against the common thief -- for example, a thief that opportunistically decides to swipe your laptop from a coffee shop or your dorm room, and then wants to use it or perhaps sell it on online. Such thieves will often not be technologically savvy and will not know to remove Adeona from your system. While device tracking will not always work, systems like Adeona can work, and it is against the common-case thief that we feel tracking systems can add significant value.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182381)

It does beg the question why this isn't a default feature of most BIOS chips. It really should be trivial for the bios to try and get a dhcp lease on the installed network cards and make a single network connection.

Sure, you can reset the BIOS, but that's typically a lot more challenging than reformatting the hard drive.

Common Sense? (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182411)

it is against the common-case thief that we feel tracking systems can add significant value.

Perhaps, but a stolen laptop is useless without being hacked/reformatted (except for using for parts) if you actually do the minimum of security precautions: having a password required to login/come back from screen saver, etc.

Re:Common Sense? (2, Interesting)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182641)

the common thief already knows that you have to wipe a stolen laptop. Or at least the vast majority do.

When I was younger and dumber I helped some common theives wipe/reinstall. They, like you said, either didn't know the login pw and knew that it had to be wiped to get around that, or they knew that they couldn't sell it at most(not all) pawnshops if they couldn't boot it to to the dtop to show that it worked.

I quit doing it because I came to a point in my life where I had too much to lose to mess with silliness like that. And the happy ending is that I heard thru the grapevine a few months ago that they got lowjacked and caught.

Re:Common Sense? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183439)

They, like you said, either didn't know the login pw and knew that it had to be wiped to get around that, or they knew that they couldn't sell it at most(not all) pawnshops if they couldn't boot it to to the dtop to show that it worked.

This might argue for creating a passwordless guest account for the thief to use so he doesn't wipe the computer. Assuming that all your datas are well protected-- identity theft could be worse than the loss of hardware.

Anyone have a recommendation for how to sandbox the guest account to make sure it can't do any damage?

Re:Common Sense? (1)

CowboyNealOption (1262194) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183719)

Encrypt stuff you care about (in a hidden volume might be nice) and leave lots of porn and other goodies so they are encouraged not to wipe the machine.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183493)

Of course, this software won't necessarily work well if you have Linux as your primary OS on your laptop (or otherwise have it password-locked). If a thief boots your computer up and gets a login prompt, he's just going to wipe the hard drive and install Windows.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182149)

you have to understand that half of the thieves will steal the laptop and go pawn so they can get some quick cash. the other half is interested in what information they can obtain from the stolen laptop in order to commit fraud.

it's these thieves that you have to watch out for and protect yourself against! i can always replace a laptop. sure i'll be pissed and upset, but the harm that the theft can do to me stops at stealing the laptop.

it can take YEARS and thousands of dollars to repair the damage identity theft can do.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

amohat (88362) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183433)

Sort of off-topic, but why is the burden on the consumer to protect the banks from getting robbed?

Thieves don't steal anything from consumers in this scam. All they do is trick the banks into giving them money, and the banks somehow blame the consumer for their flawed security systems.

Just reminding folks...

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (5, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182257)

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. How many laptops has this system recovered so far?

Also, for a PC, I don't see what this software does that's more useful than the following crontab entry:

30 * * * * perl -e 'sleep rand(1800)';\
wget -q --spider http://my.website/report/LAPTOPNAME

That too does a connect on average every half hour, and the IP address and time is being logged.

It does not send any traceroute information (which would be easy enough to do with another half line in the crontab), because doing so could very well be considered illegal black hat activity on your part. Consider someone connecting a stolen laptop to a corporate network. Just because your laptop was stolen doesn't mean you have a right to examining the internal topography of that corporate network, and sending the information to a third party. I'm amazed that the authors of this software are stupid enough to do so!

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (5, Insightful)

Vendetta (85883) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182653)

How would it be illegal black hat activity on my part? It would be the fault of the douchebag who connected my laptop (that they stole) to this imaginary corporation's network. I'm not the criminal, the person who stole it is. Please, explain your logic to me.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182779)

It would be illegal on your part because it was designed to get that information, specifically, and clandestinely.

If you install a bomb in your laptop with a dead-mans-switch which requires you to touch a file at least every day, or it goes off, and someone steals your laptop and the bomb goes off killing innocent people, you can (and should) be blamed. This is no different.

You have no way of knowing whether the network that the thief connects to is open or not, and indeed, the traceroute information would only be valuable information if the network is not open -- otherwise, the traceroute can be done from the other side. And if you have the IP address, it should be the police or licensed investigator with cooperation of the company who obtains the inside network information if needed. Not you.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

Woy (606550) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183023)

If you are right (which i don't know enough to tell), then that looks like a liability lottery.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183153)

If you are right (which i don't know enough to tell), then that looks like a liability lottery.

Indeed, and I'm very surprised that the authors of this program chose to clandestinely collect information that may very well be proprietary.

Scenario: Vendor with this software on his laptop accesses a corporate network. The information is sent to the remote logging site.
A week later, someone breaks in to the corporate network, aided by the information about the local layout. This information was obtained by breaking into the logging site (or just plain snooping, if the info was sent unencrypted).
It seems clear to me that those who designed the software to send this information to a remote site would be liable in such a situation.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (2, Insightful)

photonic (584757) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182893)

Consider someone connecting a stolen laptop to a corporate network. Just because your laptop was stolen doesn't mean you have a right to examining the internal topography of that corporate network, and sending the information to a third party. I'm amazed that the authors of this software are stupid enough to do so!

So according to your logic, if I have a machine at my office that (for some good reason) sends a scan of the local network to HQ, reboots random local machines and sends goatse pictures to the local printer, then if someone steals this machine and plugs it into his network, they have the right to complain??

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (0)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183047)

So according to your logic, if I have a machine at my office that (for some good reason) sends a scan of the local network to HQ, reboots random local machines and sends goatse pictures to the local printer, then if someone steals this machine and plugs it into his network, they have the right to complain??

The owner of that network, which may not be the thief, most certainly has cause of grief if your system was designed to clandestinely do damage or steal inside information. The thief would have no reason to expect that it would do so.

This is slashdot; a car anology is in order.
If you equip your car with a hidden gun that randomly fires on average every 30 minutes, and someone steals your car, you are responsible for whoever gets shot, not the thief. Cause the thief had no rational reason to believe it would do such a thing -- it's not within the normal operational parameters of a car.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183393)

Not everyone is a *nix geek. Yes there is a linux way to do things but not everyone wants to deal with that. There is an OS X and a Windows version.

I bought my sister, brother and myself a version of Orbicle's Undercover [orbicule.com] which does everything this does and a bit more. It'll take pictures of the thieves (if your Mac has a built in iSight), change contrast, etc.)

I was pondering making my own group of shell scripts do do something similar.
curl -O mywebsite/stolen.txt. Leave it at a 0, then make it a 1 when my laptop is stolen. Then have it do weird stuff. isightcapture can record pictures of someone as soon as the lid opens [blogspot.com] or during invalid login attempts [macosxhints.com] . There are apple scripts to change the monitor contrast, computer volume, say stuff. (All of which Undercover does).

As soon as it detects it is in an Apple Store (by host name) it cranks the volume up and announces "This laptop is stolen. This laptop is stolen."

I thought about how much work that would take and I thought, meh. I'm watching TV and bought Undercover.

Finally, this is open source. Isn't that what the slashdot crowd bitches about most "ZOMG IT'S NOT OPEN SOURCE BURNNN". Someone took the time to build an installer for 3 different systems, make it so it used a DHS so you didn't have to configure FTP settings (You know not everyone has a my.website that they can read logs on daily) and all 1/2 the people here can do is bitch about how stupid it is or easy it could be to do with cron.

Thieves are stupid. Most will boot the machine and use it. Look at Orbiclue's "success stories." One thief loaded WoW then tried to delete all the personal files of the person. This isn't going to stop a corporate hacker but the jackass that breaks into your car, you might have a chance.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183401)


          30 * * * * perl -e 'sleep rand(1800)';\
        wget -q --spider http://my.website/report/LAPTOPNAME [my.website]

That too does a connect on average every half hour, and the IP address and time is being logged.

Average of every 15 minutes, I belive :)

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183543)

Average of every 15 minutes, I belive :)

Actually, no. You're thinking of a loop with a random wait of 1800 seconds. This is a cron job, not a loop.

However, you pointed me to a bug -- it executes on average once per hour.
It should have read:

0,30 * * * * perl -e 'sleep rand 1800';\
wget -q --spider http://my.website/report/LAPTOPNAME

That way, the script will be triggered once every half hour, after which it waits for up to half an hour and then executes. Two subsequent accesses may be as little as a second apart, and as much as an hour, but on average, once every half hour.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182911)

A lot? Maybe. (There was an amusing case recently where the thief was caught because he uploaded photos of his tats the the victim's .mac account.) Most? Definitely not. Assuming you actually make your living stealing stuff, and don't just grab the odd laptop off a table at Starbucks, then you have to take your booty to a fence [wikipedia.org] . And the first thing a fence does with any stolen property is to remove any traces of the original owner.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

Daas (620469) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181713)

Yeah, the guys that steal laptops all know how to do that.

They all are pure evil geeks !!

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181783)

Indeed they do, because the ones who didn't have already been caught and thrown in jail.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181943)

There's a sucker born every minute.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (4, Insightful)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181735)

I suspect you may be somewhat overestimating the average criminal's technical abilities or knowledge. Maybe if this became a common sort of tool and were used all the time, people might begin to learn how to avoid it, but I can't see it being install on more than a tiny fraction of a percent of laptops for the near future...

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24181901)

Most thieves don't know enough to reinstall a laptop, but I'd imagine most know it's a good idea, and probably know someone who could do it for them.

I've been approached a few times to reinstall laptops that people have "acquired".

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182087)

Most thieves don't know enough to reinstall a laptop

Ah, the quaint image of an ignorant ruffian thief vs the bright (white) middle class victim. Do you have any stats to go with that prejudice or did you just pull that assumption out of your oft-seated backside?

I've been approached a few times to reinstall laptops that people have "acquired".

Yes, I too have been approached by people who had bought second hand laptops and wanted help with reinstallation. And I managed to help each one without some irrational ungeekythief association.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182299)

Most people don't know how to reinstall a laptop, or why they would want to. Why would you assume anything more about the common thief?

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24183043)

Most people don't know how to reinstall a laptop, or why they would want to. Why would you assume anything more about the common thief?

You're just repeating the prejudice. Why are you assuming that people who go around stealing laptops are random opportunists? Someone who makes an income selling computers, through purchase or theft, would benefit from knowing more about computers than the average user. If his repertoire of stolen goods is too eclectic, he'd do well to have contacts with specialist knowledge.

Again, legitimate businessmen know this, so why do you think someone who chooses thievery lacks the ability to make the same judgment? All he needs is one conversation with one geek to learn that tracking software might be installed - just as one does not steal a high end car without contemplating whether it's fitted with a GPS that reports back to base.

Fortunately, the police have learnt to avoid various false assumptions, otherwise I'd be tempted to make a mint as a criminal of high tech goods, what with everyone working on the basis that I'm a retard :-).

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

von_rick (944421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181963)

Now if someone comes with a program - "OS installer for stolen laptops" which would format the drive/partitions and install a version of Linux or pirated XP with some preset parameters - that would make lives easier for laptop stealers.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24181887)

This is not the case with many proprietary tracking software/services. The laptops we use at work are all updated with Computrace Lojack program that was installed into BIOS (and we had some problems with Windows after they installed it, all resolved luckily).

The re-installation of the OS does not remove it. They even claimed that BIOS update would not remove it, but I am not sure how true it is (never researched on it).

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182495)

Most honest people cant format and reinstall windows. you expect the dumber parts of society, the thieves, to know how to do that?

Hell, I had a GPS recovered at a local pawn shop. I hacked it so when you turned it on it said "STOLEN FROM LUMPY! CALL 1-675-555-1212" and the moron still tried to sell it at a pawn shop.

Re:Reformat HD = Free Laptop? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183657)

yeah seriously, like formatting and installing linux is hard, i don't get this tracking
you laptop crap.

If i wanted the info from your laptop, i would take out the hdd once i got my hands on your laptop, and just resell it with a new hdd and keep yours to review your info.

And it also only works if you have internet connection, if I turn off the wifi and networks cards, no contact anywhere

How does it work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24181659)

Does it install some firmware into the BIOS?
Or I can just format the HD, install a brand new OS and workaround that lost&found tool?
The only useful tool to avoid a laptop to be lost or stolen is the brain: always keep an eye on your laptop and keep on reading Slashdot.

Missing.. (2, Interesting)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181719)

Desktop love...

Why exactly would this NOT work on a desktop? Or a UMPC? Or a ULCPC?

Cheers!

Re:Missing.. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181957)

Why exactly would this NOT work on a desktop? Or a UMPC? Or a ULCPC?

It would work. But UMPCs and ULCPCs are usually put into the category of laptops. And laptops have slowly become to mean, something that is a computer and mobile.

As for desktops, who carries a desktop around? Most people I know leave them at home. And if your house is broken into, you usually have a lot more to worry about then just your desktop being stolen. Plus, if there is evidence that your home was broken into, the police are going to be a lot more alert and through then if your laptop was taken.

Re:Missing.. (1)

cecille (583022) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182397)

Apparantly you've never had the police respond to a break-in at your house. Around our area, they couldn't possibly care less. When our break-in happened, it was the middle of the day and there was a half hour between when my roommate left and when the police were called because someone saw the broken window. My roommate saw three kids out front before she left. Kids were spotted running out back like 20 mins later. These were not the slickest criminals either - we gave the police the soda bottle and various other items that they LEFT in our house (reverse theft I guess) and an address. Hell, they even manged to CASH a cheque they took and even that netted no resonse. Hours spent on the case to date? Zero. People questioned? Zero. Items recovered? Zero.

Now, I'm not saying that a laptop would get a better response, but the main problem we had was that I was not able to prove that the total amount taken was >$1000, and hence it was not considered grand theft. I can SAY that my guitar was woth x-hundred dollars, but until you hit that magic number and it's PROVEABLE, no one cares. I think a laptop would be over that amount almost by default.

Re:Missing.. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182479)

I think a laptop would be over that amount almost by default.

Well, it depends, Ive had a few $500 laptops and I am typing this on my EEE PC which is $350. But for the laptop the police could simply say that you lost it and are panicking and to call back X-days later, when a thief could wipe the HD, install pirated XP and sell it.

Re:Missing.. (2, Funny)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181995)

Well, desktops tend to have rotary garfuncters, laptops use malleable garfuncters. Also, desktops tend to be too large, it needs to be on a smaller laptop for the software to work properly. Any computer shop employee can explain this to you.

Re:Missing.. (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181997)

Why exactly would this NOT work on a desktop? Or a UMPC? Or a ULCPC?

It would work just fine... But do you often take your desktop PC out for coffee?

Re:Missing.. (4, Funny)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182253)

But do you often take your desktop PC out for coffee?

Well, not so much anymore. Once I realized it was a "sure thing" I kind of stopped the romance.

I felt kinda bad until I inserted the comment, "I wanna just stay in today" on the start-up splash.

Re:Missing.. (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182993)

It would work just fine... But do you often take your desktop PC out for coffee?

She prefers tea.

business model (0, Offtopic)

dissolved (887190) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181723)

1. Post story about leaving your laptop at home
2. ???
3. Profit!

(I'm so sorry)

Prior art ? (4, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181729)

I get warnings that my computer is broadcasting its IP address all the time !

Missing component to open-source project. (5, Insightful)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181789)

All we need now is an open source justice mob with open source pitchforks and torches?

Seriously, from what I understand. Locating your laptop is a lot easier than recovering it.

The police are not likely to get involved. The user is probably not the thief but a buyer, etc.

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24181933)

All we need now is an open source justice mob with open source pitchforks and torches?

That's SO UN-DIGITAL!!!

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (1)

von_rick (944421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182069)

What do you mean? WoW is as digital as it gets. Its not open source, but there's no reason for open source digital pitchforks and bloodhounds to exist.

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182119)

The user is probably not the thief but a buyer, etc.

Possession of stolen property is a crime, even if the person doesn't know it's stolen.

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (5, Interesting)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182223)

1. My brother's alienware laptop was stolen. 2. Reported to the police. 3. Alienware got a tech support call from some guy that bought it on eBay. 4. Guy sends it in for repair. 5. Alienware calls my brother to tell him they have it and only need the police to ask for it officially so they can send it as evidence. 6. My brother tells the police. 7. Police say "huh?" 8. Laptop never sent, buyer never questioned, thief never caught. Similar thing when my sister's credit cards were stolen and used to buy gas at places with security cameras, except then even the credit card company didn't seem to care.

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182481)

You should've said that the laptop had police pension information on it and their retirements could be jepordized. THAT gets the police going!

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (1)

gcatullus (810326) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183197)

Credit card companies couldn't care any less, because THEY are not out any money. Anything that was fraudulently charged on the cards gets charged back top the merchant. The gas station can try and go after the thief, but the police don't always go after that aggressively.

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (2, Interesting)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183505)

Actually CC companies make a lot of money on charge backs. There is an approx $30 fee that goes along with each one and it's for the full amount so they keep there original 1-5% fee as well. As vendors have more charge backs they even up the percentage they pay on all transactions. People with cards and the merchants are the only people that pay in the CC system the banks and CC companies just make money with no risk.

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (1)

gcatullus (810326) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183697)

You are quite right - IMHO THAT is the reason that we don't have a more secure credit card system in place. There is absolutely no incentive for the cartel to do any better. Especially with this illusion of PCI compliance. PCI is just a clever way for Visa/Mastercard to palm off any responsibility whatsoever to the merchant.

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (1)

Hugonz (20064) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183705)

Allow the market to work in the security, police and court industry. Everyone agreed to recover the property, except the one that's *supposed* to be interested in it. Here's how:

http://www.freedomainradio.com/Traffic_Jams/stateless_society_take_2_320.mp3 [freedomainradio.com]

Re:Missing component to open-source project. (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182615)

Seriously, from what I understand. Locating your laptop is a lot easier than recovering it.
The police are not likely to get involved. The user is probably not the thief but a buyer, etc.

Um, the police don't like to get involved if there isn't tracking software/hardware in place because then it becomes nearly impossible to actually find said object. Best that they can do is put all the info into NCIC just incase it is found or recovered by any other law enforcement agency. Now, if you had tracking and knew exactly where said object was, as long as the it doesn't cost too much, then they'll be happy to jump through the hoops to recover your stolen object. It doesn't matter if the party that currently has the object was a buyer rather than the actual thief. They are in possession of stolen property and if they don't want to get arrested will return said property and be very helpful in IDing where they got said object.

No proprietary, central service? (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181797)

This sounds suspiciously like some kind of P2P thing. I think it should be outlawed :\

The challenge is set (4, Insightful)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181847)

users of Adeona can rest assured that no one can abuse the system in order to track where they use their laptop

Honestly, publishing that on slashdot is like telling a small child "there is no way you can reach the delicious stash of chocolate in that cupboard right there"

Re:The challenge is set (1)

ShiningSomething (1097589) | more than 6 years ago | (#24181959)

You beat me to it! That quote is just asking for trouble. Apart from being absolutely, obviously false.

Re:The challenge is set (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182139)

False, why? Can you prove it? (I can't either way) The makers of the software will probably be very interested if you can. If I understand the workings well, they did a pretty decent job.

Or go a bit further: show the actual exploit that tells where other people's laptops are. Abuse the system, show the faults. Adeona will only get better because of that.

Such naiveness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182321)

There's always the posibility of having a design fault that is broken beyond repair, not all faults can be fixed, you know.

Also, why would anyone reveal any exploit they are abusing? Do you honestly think 'black hats' are morons? Not even good-minded people will do it, because there is a long story of people jailed for trying to make things safer.

Re:The challenge is set (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182027)

No, its more like saying, you have the key, no one else can open it. Which I suppose that someone could cut off the locks, and open whatever you have locked. But the possibility of that would be lower then if you gave the key to 10 other people.

And it is no more of a challenge then saying that your browser is open source, that means that no one can force you to upgrade it.

Re:The challenge is set (1)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182049)

Yeah, I got burned for that once [duo-creative.com] . Never again...

The challenge is set? Good! (1)

pxc (938367) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182313)

Because I'd say that /.ers are more interested in the challenge for the challenge's sake, and interested in proving that it can be done. If somebody reads the article here and sets out to find a flaw in Adeona's security model, and they win, chances are they'll publish it in order to brag, or, if they're the FOSS type, contribute to the project in their own way.

I'd much rather a /.er try to beat the system now than have some lucky/bright thief figure it out and keep it to themselves while they horde laptops and sell them on the streets.

Re:The challenge is set (2, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182539)

All I care about is the ability to remotely WIPE the machine. I dont care about recovery as Insurance gives me a new upgrade when it's stolen. I want to be able to trigger a switch that will wipe the thing hard and replace the windows boot with "STOLEN LAPTOP!" but will settle for simply wiping the drive silently.

Re:The challenge is set (1)

Lord of Hyphens (975895) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183175)

If it wasn't for the obvious issues, I'd love a system where I could cause the machine to detonate/meltdown.

Re:The challenge is set (2, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183395)

A dead man's switch would do that.
The problems with them are that they are more often triggered inadvertently than for good reason. If you have to touch a file, access a web page, or otherwise take an action, what happens when you get pneumonia and are out with fever for a week? And if relies on an external automated function, like your server hitting a port regularly, and a zap occur if the machine hasn't been poked in a few days, what happens when you go on vacation or have the machine repaired, and forget to turn the timer off?
Or what happens if your clock battery dies, and the new one defaults to several years ago?

Laptops with built-in cell phones that can wake the system would probably be a better solution -- then you could log in remotely and do what you needed.

Open sores? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24182111)

I don't like the sound of that.

Did we need this? (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182115)

Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service.

...Because putting "wget mywebsite.com" in your system startup script (yes, you can do that on Windows as well, you just need to download wget first) has sooooo many proprietary, centralized dependancies?

I actually use something very like that, solely for the purpose of finding my own remote machines' dynamic IP addresses. I don't really see the need for a dedicated "project" to make an entry in your access_log on startup.

Re:Did we need this? (3, Interesting)

manastungare (596862) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183147)

And their claim is far from accurate: there have been several systems, home-grown or libre software, before theirs.

Here's mine, for example: laptop theft protector [tungare.name] , which has been around for at least an year.

My suggestion.. (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183243)

Then don't code for the project.

The thing here isn't if you think "we" need it; it's that someone thought we might and created it.

I mean are we really so desperate to complain about something that if someone gives us something for free (and open) we still feel entitled to moan? Maybe the project will pick up more interest and start doing some other interesting things, like integrating with the open bios project. But either way, this is gravy. Applaud it or ignore it, but for fucks sakes enough with the complaining already.

Re:Did we need this? (2, Informative)

rukkyg (1028078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183445)

Not everyone has their own web servers. This system uses the OpenDHT so anyone can use it, and it doesn't depend on your servers being up.

Open Source Security? (1)

andy19 (1250844) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182407)

Think about it...is an open source security/tracking system really a good idea? The code is there to look at and study in order to program something that will bypass or disable it.

Re:Open Source Security? (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182455)

No the code is there so that when someone does find a way to bypass or disable the system that we can see the code and fix the bug.

The Face of Laptop Theft (1)

slyborg (524607) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182437)

I love those sample pictures of debased laptop thieves furtively inspecting their ill-gotten goods...

Or maybe the Mac demographic is a lot less latte-drinking yuppie than commonly assumed? ;D

Propriety Centrality (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24182813)

Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service.

Define your terms, please. It's a client-server application, so by definition there's a central location. As for "proprietary", well, I guess it's cool that the software is open-source, but most of us don't choose software for religious reasons.

This solution is touted as being more privacy-conscious than existing "phone home" solutions, but I don't see it. In theory, use of encryption makes the data inaccessible to anybody but the owner of the laptop. In practice, technology is not a substitute for a well-managed system. I'd rather trust my data to a professionally managed system owned by a company with published privacy policies than to some kludged-up system managed by a hacker for whom it's just a hobby, no matter how "foolproof" the software supposedly is. As they say, fools are fiendishly clever.

Oh yeah, and I want my phone-home software in my BIOS, so that the thieves can't just wipe my hard disk to get rid of it.

Open source does have security advantages over proprietary software, and all other things being equal, I'd choose OSS over proprietary for something like this. But all other things are not equal — not, at least, until hardware manufacturers start burning the Adeona client into the BIOS.

Which is not to run down Adeona itself. It's a notable achievement. But I do get tired of the way every OSS milestone is treated as something we should all switch to, post haste.

Photos too! (2, Interesting)

FirstTimeCaller (521493) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183403)

Hmm... the Mac version also snaps a photo with each update. I hope no one is doing anything inappropriate while in front of their computer. Here's hoping that your Macbook isn't stolen by the Goatse guy.

Is something like this needed? (1)

Espectr0 (577637) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183623)

I just got my laptop stolen. As i understand, there is no way to log in to a Vista laptop if you don't know the password to the machine's only administrator account. If they can't log in, they will just reformat.

If i would have logged in with no password , yes maybe i could have tracked them with their ip address and such, but then they would have had access to all my files which of course i don't want to.

So, is this really needed? Next laptop i will also set a password in the BIOS.

I encrypted my hard drive (2, Insightful)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#24183861)

Now I am supposed to set up a second system the laptop defaults to boot into just to install this software? Not thx, not on my limited laptop hard drive. I mean the whole point of my completely encrypted laptop is so that I don't have to worry about it getting stolen, because they won't be able to use the data aginst me or my customers.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?