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Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Tue 20th May '08 4:54PM
1673 Posts
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3rd Jun '03
(Fear not - This isn't really a techy thread at all; it's just got a slightly techy-like beginning to make a point.)

I've just bought a piece of software that will supposedly help to get my computer returned if it's ever stolen.

What it does is:
  • Every 6 minutes it sends a quick "Hello" message to the head office of the software company, including its own serial number.

  • When the computer's stolen, I tell the software company that it has been - meaning that within 6 minutes, the computer itself will know.

  • At that point, it will begin taking pictures of the person using it (using the computer's built-in webcam), screenshots of what they're doing, and details of the network address that it's been connected to. These get sent by email to the software company, and thence to me, the police and the Internet Service Provider (who can track the user down physically)

  • If the machine doesn't get connected to a network at all for 2 months, "Plan B" is activated, and the computer pretends to be broken. As soon as it reaches an authorised repair centre, it screams "I have been stolen" and offers the shop assistant a reward for reporting it.

Very cool, I think. Obviously it's hard to know whether it'll work until it does, but it's had good reviews (including a simulated test-theft).

But it got me thinking - what sorts of security measures are reasonable? Is the above approach overkill? Pointless? Sensible? What kinds of thing do you all do to protect your stuff, if anything?

I think there's an argument to be made that added fear/paranoia of crime does more to damage our quality of life than the actual occurrence of it - so surrounding ourselves with safety measures may make us less happy rather than more - but then, this doesn't stop me spending 32 on security software, getting double glazing, or putting the light on a timer when we go away.

What are other people's approaches?
   

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Tue 20th May '08 5:50PM
4213 Posts
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7th Apr '03
If you have a laptop as valuable as yours it seems like a good idea although any thief with any sense would immediately format the hard drive (Luckily many of them don't).

I have insurance but I don't do anything else especially exciting security wise.

I do believe that the more fences you put yourself behind the more afraid you feel and the more like a prisoner you become, but then as a 6' 2" white male who avoids trouble I have been lucky enough not to find my self in many scrapes.
    

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Tue 20th May '08 7:28PM
1673 Posts
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Member Since
3rd Jun '03


General was bold enough to comment:
If you have a laptop as valuable as yours it seems like a good idea although any thief with any sense would immediately format the hard drive (Luckily many of them don't).



Ah, they've thought of that. On Macs you can set a "firmware password" which must be typed in if you want it to start up from anything other than its normal startup disk. So you can't get far enough to be able to run anything that could format it. (I guess you could still replace the hard disk though - pretty much no getting around that...)



I have insurance but I don't do anything else especially exciting security wise.

I do believe that the more fences you put yourself behind the more afraid you feel and the more like a prisoner you become



Yep, I'd say the same on the whole. I objected to the fact that our local council put huge amounts of money into constantly sticking things through our letterbox telling us how afraid we should be. It was actively detrimental to the experience of living here.
   

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Wed 21st May '08 9:16AM
4678 Posts
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7th Apr '03


Malcolm was bold enough to comment:

Is the above approach overkill? Pointless? Sensible?




Absolutely hilarious?
  

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Wed 21st May '08 7:16PM
4597 Posts
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Member Since
7th Apr '03
That is the most impressive security feature I've ever heard of. Marvellous!

I'm really not down with all this modern scaremongering either, whenever I see these appaling adverts with crime statistics and such I just have to remember that crime prevention and insurance is big business and these people really don't give a crap about me, they just want me to be scared so that they can make some money out of me. No thanks.
The world is an incredible amount safer than it was a hundred years ago, human rights and equal opportunities prevail on the most part and I personally feel safe in my neighbourhood. You can find danger anywhere if you look hard enough but life's too short to be afraid to step out the door.

I also saw some fairly impressive anti carjacking devices when I was in Johannesburg a couple of years ago - the best being a key fob that you keep in your pocket and your car detects when it's in the vicinity and allows you to start the car. It gets cleverer though as if you get jacked it allows the baddie to drive half a mile before killing the engine so you're well out of danger before he realises.
    

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