Devices Services

Just bought Undercover for Mac to secure my Macbook Air

I was doing a bit of research yesterday for a bit of software that would secure my new MacBook Air. I’ve just bought the 11″ top-end one. I’m delighted with it. 6-7 hour battery. Nice form factor. A good improvement on the first generation (I also have one of these, although it needs a new battery).

After my debacle leaving my BlackBerry Bold on the train and being able to recover it thanks to SmrtGuard, the ‘anti-theft’ service that I installed on it, I thought it made sense to get something similar for the Apple Air.

I’m usually pretty good with laptops — but you never know.

I came across Undercover from Orbicule and thought I’d give it a go. It’s a very reasonable: I bought a 5-user ‘household license’ for £37.15.

The software sits on the Apple and periodically updates its location using WiFi/Skyhook Wireless. If someone pinches the Air, then I can activate the Undercover software. That’s when things get interesting. You’ll start to see screenshots from the computer — to aid identification of the thief, and you’ll also see photos from the webcam every 8 minutes. Plus, if you’re not getting anywhere, you can activate the ‘revenge of the darkness’ feature. That simulates a hardware failure, making the screen progressively darker. Heh. The concept being that the thief (or the person who’s bought your stolen Air) will at some point take it to get repaired. You can then display a full screen ‘I’ve been stolen’ message promising a finder’s fee.

There’s not much you can do if someone grabs your Air and then reformats it. But if you install a firmware password — I need to do this — then you’ll be able to prevent that.

In which case, Undercover for Mac should be able to really wind up any thieving vagabonds, as my granddad used to call them. (There’s also an Undercover for iPhone app priced at a very reasonable $4.99)

I’d welcome your suggestions for other ways to ‘secure’ the Air.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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