Saturday, April 5, 2014

Prey Project

If you recently bought a laptop or a smart phone, it's most probable that it also has a wifi connection and a built in on board camera. All the necessary hardware is complete to keep track of your device (even if it is stolen) and you don't need to be a hacker and code in any complex back doors to your computer to track it down (not any one is stopping you if you can ;)). Prey project brings the software that goes native on your operating system and uses its hardware to send you reports of its location, images from your camera and your last login (and hence boot) timings to your central account on prey server.

To some extent, it gives you remote control over your device (although it is not a remote desktop application and does not cater for its uses), but it does let you remotely nuke your computer and wipe off all data if you have a back up (easy to have that on cloud now a days) or are just sure that you are not likely getting your device back, or remotely take pictures of the thief from your phone or laptop device.

If you are looking for sms based control of your lost cell phone device, there is a lot you can do to remotely control your phone via sms as well (using a password ofcourse). The commands include:
  • prey your_account_password location phone_number will return the device’s geolocation via SMS to phone_number.
  • prey your_account_password lock lock_code will lock the device’s screen until lock_code is entered.
  • prey your_account_password unlock will force unlock your device’s screen. It’s perfect for forgotten passwords!
  • prey your_account_password alarm will ring the alarm, specially useful to find your device lost in your house, office, or even during a trip.
  • prey your_account_password alert some_text will show some_text as a system notification.
  • prey your_account_password picture will take a picture using the device’s camera and will send it to the user’s email address.
  • prey your_account_password wipe will erase all your data from your phone, performing a “factory reset”. This is specially useful to protect your private information, but could render Prey useless. Use with caution!

Prey lets you download versions for linux (Ubuntu / Android), windows (PC version / No windows mobile version yet) and mac (Mac OS / iOS) based mobile and PC operating systems.

The prey blog regularly updates about new usage, patches and updates for the software and since it is open source and coder can look at what they are installing and make sure that prey project isn't planning to log your data and sell it around. According to prey, the software does not include a keylogger and is not meant to be a spying software (even for your own PC). The FAQ also says:

In Linux, Mac and Android, Prey doesn’t use any memory-resident agents so the answer is zero, until the program is actually run. In Windows we do use an agent but it only requires around 5 megs of RAM. In iOS, Prey will use some minimum power, but nothing you’ll really notice.

So if you are looking for an anti theft software, this might be your free way to go about it. Prey combined with online live backup on dropbox or google drive can be a great tool to keep the data safe even if the device is stolen, track it or format it remotely without losing data.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of things for me to check out, as usual...this post! EXACTLY what I was searching for! .your post really sums up all that I need! thanks!!!