Laptops and cell phones are natural thieve targets since they are small, easy to snatch and are often accidently left unattended in public places such as a coffee shop, airport or in a car. According to the FBI, 97% of laptops are never recovered after theft- which is bad news for business travelers. Fortunately for the budget-conscious small business, there are several free, opensource applications that can help a hapless business traveler locate his or her stolen computer or phone when it is connected to the internet. Below are four of the best options:
Prey is perhaps the most feature-rich, yet portable app on this list. The program is extremely lightweight and can be used on your laptop, smartphone, and even your desktop.Once you download it onto your device and register the machine, you will be given a code that you can use to activate the software in case the device is stolen. You’ll receive the device’s current IP address and be able to activate a host of great features including: a webcam photo of the thief, screenshots of active sessions, data protection, and hardware scans. Prey is available for platforms including PC, Mac and Linux.
As the name implies, Locate My Laptop allows the user to track the location of a stolen computer from any other device with Internet access. Though an account is free, for a small fee of $3 you can get the additional option of being able to remotely erase all data on the hard-drive. You can choose to upgrade when your laptop is stolen.
Firefound is an add-on for the Firefox Web Browser and it can be used for both laptops and cellphones (if it’s running Firefox mobile). Like the programs above, this add-on allows you to track the location of your laptop or computer. It can also delete your brower settings, passwords, and browser history.
Lock It Tight offers a service similar to Prey above. After downloading the program you will have access to several features aside from location tracking such as, keystroke recording, file tracking and screenshots of the thief’s activity.