Every day a high number of laptops and smart phones are lost or stolen, and relatively few of them are ever recovered and returned to their rightful owners. But a free app called Prey can assist you in recovering your stolen gadget.
Prey is a freemium web service for tracking and monitoring laptop and desktop computers, smartphones and other electronic devices capable of running software applications, mainly intended to help in cases of theft. The service is hosted by servers on the Internet, to which an open-source software agent on the tracked computer connects. The host can signal the agent, prompting it to reply with information about its current location, and can trigger various other actions. The user can log into the Prey site if the tracked device is stolen, and request information about its location.
Prey runs on most versions of Microsoft Windows (except Windows Mobile and Windows Phone), Linux, Android, OS X and iOS.
Prey is a small, discrete app that “hides” on your laptop or mobile device and lies dormant until you need it. Then if the device is ever lost or stolen you can easily “wake it up” with a remote signal sent by you either through the Internet or via an SMS message. Once activated, Prey gets right down to business by performing the following actions:
1 – Prey uses either the device’s built-in GPS function or the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots to triangulate and determine its physical location to within just a few feet.
2 – If no Internet connection is detected, Prey will automatically scan for and connect to an open Wi-Fi hotspot if one is available.
3 – It will snap a picture of the thief with the device’s built-in camera or webcam.
4 – It will take a sceenshot of whatever is on the screen. Who knows, the thief just might be logged into Facebook, Twitter or an email account, any of which can potentially identify him.
5 – At your direction, Prey will delete all of the passwords stored on your device to prevent the thief from accessing your online accounts.
6 – The app can also lock down your laptop making it completely inaccessable without entering a password.
As you can can see, even though it’s a small and lightweight app, Prey offers a powerful suite of tools for helping you recover your lost or stolen laptop or mobile device.
You’ll find a demonstration video and links for downloading the free Prey app for Windows, iOS, Linux or Android at http://preyproject.com.