The number of tech gadgets the average person owns keeps growing, as has the number of criminals targeting high value goods like laptops and smartphones. If one of your devices does go missing it can mean losing or exposing important data, both personal and business. To help increase the chances of finding a lost device you can install a program that tracks it.
Prey is an Open Source – i.e. free – program that you can install on your computer or mobile device and use to track it down if it comes up missing or stolen.
How it works
First you have to download the software onto your computer (Windows, Mac and Linux are supported), and sign up for an account. You have a couple of options here. You can either sign up for an account with Prey and access a control panel through the website, or install it as a standalone, an option which is recommended for advanced users as it requires some server configuration.
If you chose to go with the Web option, sign up for an account and install the software, then register your computer, along with any Android or iOS devices. Once you have downloaded Prey and linked them together, you are ready.
If your device becomes lost, log into the Web Control Panel on Prey’s site and report it as missing. You can also turn on different actions which allow you to track the device’s location, network status and hardware usage. There are also other options like the ability to snap a picture using the webcam (if the device was enabled with one), or even sound an alarm. You can even lock the system or phone, ensuring people can’t access it.
For mobiles, you can send a text (from the Web Control Panel) which will initiate the established options you have pre-set for when your phone goes missing.
How Prey finds your device’s location depends on the device. For laptops, it can turn-on your Wi-Fi connection and try to connect to the nearest access points. It can take the IP address of each Wi-Fi access point and from there get an approximate location – in some areas as close as 200 feet. On your phone, it turns on the GPS (if available) and tries to connect to Wi-Fi networks in range. These two combined can generate a fairly accurate location.
All this tracking information is sent to your inbox in the form of a report, which can be tailored to meet your needs.
What makes this program different from other similar ones is that it can be installed across multiple platforms and managed from one account. It’s also free, which makes it even more attractive. There is a Pro version which allows you to track more devices, for a monthly fee of $5 for 3 devices, right on up to $399 a month for 500 devices.
Prey is just one of the many device tracking programs, and installing one may give you a greater chance of retrieval if your phone or computer is lost or stolen. Do you use one already? If so, which one?
If you would like to learn more about Prey and other device tracking programs please let us know, we may have a great solution for you.