Prey is an ultra awesome open source freeware program which you can use to track and recover your stolen laptop or mobile phone. You set it up by installing a tiny agent on your computer or phone, and if your device is stolen, you can send it a secret signal which wakes up the software, to start monitoring via GPS or WiFi signal triangulation.
The program will also take a snapshot of the thief via the webcam, grab a screenshot of their activities on your machine, lockdown the PC or even hide your email service and passwords so they can’t get in. You can track your machine via the Prey dashboard in your free online account, or set up your own private system, it’s up to you. It’s a very comprehensive feature set, made all the more potent by the fact that it’s fully open source.
As with most of this type of security software, you’re reliant on the fact that the villain doesn’t just format or rip out your hard disk when they get back to their evil lair, but that said, at least this is better than nothing. You get some sort of fighting chance of getting your machine back, which is good. You activate the mobile phone agent by sending an SMS message, or set it to autoactivate if the SIM card is changed.
It’s available for Mac, PC and Linux and for Android handsets only at the moment, but there are plans to include more phone platforms later. The free account plan (where you store your devices and reports) gives you up to 3 devices, if you need more you’ll either have to set up your own monitoring dashboard or stump up a little cash for the Pro account. Excellent!
Prey lets you keep track of your phone or laptop at all times, and will help you find it if it ever gets lost or stolen. It’s lightweight, open source software, and free for anyone to use. And it just works.