Friday, July 18, 2008

Add Laptop Location Tracking Security

A new open source project allows computer users to add surreptitious location tracking to their systems. Windows, Mac and Linux versions are available.

Adeona, from researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, anonymously sends data to servers on a free storage system called OpenDHT. The data, which is encrypted, includes IP addresses, information about neighboring routers, and so forth. If your notebook ever gets stolen you can log into the system from another computer, access the data and notify authorities with it. Working with ISPs they should be able to locate it. The Mac version also uses a freeware program called isightcapture to take a picture of whoever is using the system.

Commercial versions of such products, such as CompuTrace's LoJack for Laptops, have been available for a long time. Typically they also offer a remote wiping function, which would seem to be a major advantage, at least for businesses.

It's not clear whether the location tracking information in the commercial products is any different from this free version. The ultimate version would use GPS hardware, but this is not typically included in notebook computers. Perhaps it should be (Yahoo! News)

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