Advice on Prey software to geolocalise a robbed notebook

Hey all,

one of my nieces wants to install Prey ( on her netbook. This software is supposed to geolocalize a laptop if it is robbed, block it, take pictures of the thief through the wecam,…

Do some of you know this software? Is it cautious to install such a software? Isn’t it some sort of super spyware that the user put in his computer?

Thanks for your advice.


It has a green WOT rating. Seems like quite a clever idea, I might look at installing it myself. :slight_smile:

Is that because she want’s here hardware back or because of the data that’s on it?

In the last case I’d recommend to use Truecrypt full disk encryption, that will render the data useless to the thief… unless you have a weak password, and the rob was because of the data not the hardware.

I think it’s mostly the loss of the hardware that worry her. She is at the university and netbooks are quite often stealed there. She has lots of stuff for her cursus on her netbook, but surely nothing very confidential.

In that case, Prey sounds pretty good. I might have considered it, if my laptop had a webcam.

BTW…anyone know how the geolocation works? IP addresses? Or some special locating devices in the laptops?

It’s with IP addresses homing in on the nearest wifi hotspot.
It would be nice for it to work with special locating devices, but you couldn’t implement it transparently, so it would be noticeable to people, and prey works because it goes unnoticed by people.

I’ve found a good article pointing the cons/pros for Prey ( link ). It’s a bit out of date (nov.2009) and new features have been added to the software in the meantime.

I’ll tell my niece to give the software a try. If one of her fellow-students steals her netbook, the webcam will help her identify him (her).

I hope the thief isn’t computer savy

They rarely are.
If they were then they would be out there earning millions like melih rather than having to resort to petty theft. :slight_smile:

They rarely are.
If it's someone like me, then that person will have no recourse >:-D LOL....... Basicly, what I'm saying is you need to watch your laptop, especially in public

I 100% agree with you, but go tell that to a young girl of eigtheen…

Basicly, what I'm saying is you need to watch your laptop, especially in public

but if you went out for dinner and someone break your house? :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi Guys,

This project sounds like a big if not a huge joke for my taste (probably a ripoff)

a side note : Boris 3 , unfortunately

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I hope the thief isn't computer savy
Correct ... and they usually are "savvy" (double-v , I mean ;))
They rarely are
I have doubts , because they usually are , as above :)
100% geolocation aware Prey uses either the device's GPS or the nearest WiFi hotspots to triangulate and grab a fix on its location. It's shockingly accurate.
If enabled, Prey will attempt to hook onto to the nearest open WiFi hotspot when no Internet connection is found
Take a picture of the thief with your laptop's webcam so you know what he looks like and where he's hiding. Powerful evidence.
... and so on & so forth

This is a laughter !

Well, who is using public wifi? How many people are using wifi? Most of users that I know will disable that or use … you know what I mean

Does it need any power supply in order to work? … that will be another answer straight away.

working all the time Huhhh ??? (probably that would be a “perfect” setup for a young girl/woman, but we are talking about different matters now :D)

And a thief does not know anything about it? Simply - not funny at all

So, when the laptop is stolen:

  • 1st thing the do - battery is disconnected. End of the story for GPS … Correct me if I’m wrong, please;

  • then the disk is taken out;

Now you can do many things with it ; say, retrieve the data if you want/can or just format it & put it into an enclosure for the further use as an external drive, or connect it internally for use in another stolen laptop, or even it can go back into the same laptop,… etc.
Too many variants, but there are not as many “thieves-idiots” out there as you may think


@SiberLynx My laptop has a built in camera, so you could not realise that you are being monitored, though I would cover up the camera if I was robbing it anyway.
Though the internet connection could be any internet connection, not just WiFi, and you wouldn’t really steal a laptop then never use it practically.

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Hi elliotcroft ,

hehe! That’s what I’m saying - “they” do know that, and “would realize”

That is very hard to find a laptop without built in camera nowadays
Also, read again what was pointed about the camera :wink:

Not many (if any) users will keep it alive all the time except… 88) yes… I don’t want to repeat myself
… or would switch it On when they are leaving the computer (yes, I know about many and different surveillance Systems & Software)

Sure, but that was neither in the context nor in the scope of this discussion

??? that was not a question , on the contrary - as I pointed - it’s very easy to steal and use the laptop again.
Probably I didn’t get this message of yours clearly

My regards

p.s. added

Thanks Boris 3,
I’ll look at that later