The best things in life are free as the saying goes, for proof of that I present to you Prey Project. How gratifying would it be if someone stole your laptop and a free piece of software gave you the ability to get a picture of the thief using it, and give police a name. Prey will also give you an approximate location, IP address, and lock your computer down.
Prey Project is a free open source tracking software for your computer similar to LoJack for your car. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and soon to be released for the Iphone and Ipad iOS. I tested the software and it does indeed work. Testing Prey Project showed a picture of me using the computer, and a map that showed my house location. To obtain a picture of the thief your laptop must have a web cam in it.
Installing it is very easy, you download and install a program and that is it. Monitoring and triggering the “my laptop got jacked!” is all done online at preyproject.com. Best of all it is free up to three devices.
There are a ton of success stories that can be found at Prey Project success stories. Some of the great features of Prey is it’s ability to grab any open wifi access point and send reports back to you. As soon as the thief goes online with your computer it will phone home a report. I noticed a lot of praise from police officers while reading the success stories.
Here is a list of features I took note of while using Prey.
- Trigger a message to show up (not wise if trying to get laptop back)
- Geolocate your laptop using Google Maps, giving you turn by turn directions
- Take a picture using your built in webcam
- Take a screenshot
- Sound a loud alarm
- Secure your computer information such as saved passwords, email data, etc
- Lock the computer until a password is entered
- Prey grabs the public and private IP address so you can provide police that info
- Identify nearby Wifi networks
- Shows current running programs
- Logs modified files
Here is a screenshot of part of the Prey control panel.