Addicted to novelty since 2001

Spy on the Guy Who Stole Your MacBook

Undercover is one of the cooler laptop security products I’ve seen in a while. If your Apple laptop is stolen, you can activate it and it’ll send you network information about where your machine is being used. Additionally, you can watch what the thieves do via regular screenshots. Best of all, you can turn on the iSight camera and get photos of the thief in action:

Undercover introduces another world first: if your Mac has a built-in or external iSight, Undercover will transmit pictures of the thief and his surroundings every 6 minutes, making it even easier to identify the current user. It’s like having a private detective working for you.

Hmm…I wonder why they don’t do live video?

They’ll also remotely lock down the computer so that it’s unusable and displays a message saying so, and promising a reward for its return.

I wondered about the pricing model. A single user license costs $49. Why not just give the software away for free, but charge people $99 when they need to activate it? Of course, then you’re relying on a consistent flow of thefts for your revenue, which probably isn’t very wise. Better to trade on people’s fear, uncertainty and doubt.

7 Responses to “Spy on the Guy Who Stole Your MacBook”

  1. Todd Sieling

    I like the Undercover pricing model. Paying up front makes me think that the vendor is running a sustainable business. I likely woudn’t have bought Undercover if payment was made when needed, as I don’t l ike being asked for money when I’m stressed, but instead I’d rather feel taken care of and that someone is watching out for me. I think that’s partly what Tara Hunt talks about when she mentions designing for happiness.

  2. Chaminda

    Quite timely post Darren! I am thinking of buying MacBook after new Mac OS is available. I am new to mac world, so I value any advice on MacBook purchase.

  3. Rob

    I’d be worried about someone being able to use this for malicious purposes. You’re basically installing a deactivated Trojan horse on your computer.

    Might be a handy product, but I’d wait until some outside research has been done on it.

  4. markp

    I would hope that the iSight camera cannot be used without its indicator light coming on, hence an ongoing feed would be a problem. If this can be overridden in software then I would be very annoyed (because of the abuse it would allow for vidcap spyware to be installed)

  5. andar909

    hi, andar here, i just read your post. i like very much. agree to you, sir.

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