We loved Orbicule’s Undercover theft recovery software for the Mac. The latest version even uses iSight to capture a photo of the thief.
How do you prevent your new MacBook Pro from being stolen in the first place? Enter Orbicule’s TheftSensor. A smart device that watches your Mac while you can’t.
We know there’s no perfect anti-theft device. Any device or software that helps slow down a thief or track a thief is worth looking at. Undercover helps Mac users track thieves but that’s after the Mac is gone.
What do you do to prevent the theft in the first place? Short of embedding your Mac in a concrete slab chaiined to your leg, the options are thin. Until now.
For MacBook Pro owners, the problem is particularly acute. Why? Laptops are easy prey. The MacBook Pro can also run Windows so that makes it more valuable than any garden variety PC laptop.
Most Mac laptops are lifted from desks in an office setting, or ripped off while a Mac user is in a mobile situation; at school, while traveling, in a hotel, and so on.
Wouldn’t it be great to have some kind of alarm system on your MacBook Pro that would sound as soon as someone even moved the Mac?
In essence, that’s what Orbicule’s TheftSensor does. TheftSensor uses the MacBook Pro’s Apple Remote Control. Under normal circumstances, the remote is used to control Front Row.
TheftSensor uses it to secure your Mac. One click and TheftSensor is turned on. Another click, and it’s turned off so you can use your Mac.
What happens? Clever personified.
“Simply press the play button on your Apple Remote and TheftSensor will be activated. From now on, moving your Mac will trigger a loud alert. Pressing the mute button won’t help a potential thief as TheftSensor disables it.”
Whoa. Cool. It’s like a motion sensor for your Mac. Move it and it makes noise. Hmmm. I sense a few problems with that approach, don’t you?
First, what happens if the thief knows about TheftSensor and has his own Apple Remote Control (unlikely, but hey, it could happen)? It seems that the folks at Orbicule thought of that, too.
TheftSensor can pair your Apple Remote Control to your MacBook Pro so you and your remote are the only ones that can work TheftSensor. Every little bit helps, right?
In most cases, a laptop would be sitting on a desktop when a theft rolls through the cubicle farm, sniffing to loose laptops. In seconds, a MacBook Pro could be missing in action.
All it takes a thief is to drop the lid, unplug the power cord, grab the Mac and head out the door; except for all the noise that TheftSensor makes when the lid is closed and the laptop is moved.
Even pressing the mute key won’t help the thief, as TheftSensor disables it.
In a school or office environment, some kind of audible, motion-sensing alarm is a great idea to protect the Mac while you head to a meeting or the bathroom.
“The same goes for closing the MacBook’s lid: this will trigger the alert as well. Of course, you can still use your MacBook without launching the alert: simply press the play button again to disable the alert.”
Realistically, no anti-theft system is completely foolproof. That’s what fools are for; to find the holes in a security system. Even Orbicule acknowledges the obvious:
“TheftSensor is a great tool for MacBook owners and it can be very useful in many situations (dorm rooms, libraries, at work, …). However, when travelling, your Mac will in most cases be sleeping or even turned off. Even if you could leave it on while travelling, a solution like TheftSensor is not useful as the alarm would go off every few minutes.”
If your MacBook Pro is stuck in a bag and the bag is ripped off, so is your Mac. Which means Orbicule’s Undercover becomes a little more valuable, as it can be used to help track a stolen Mac.
For now, TheftSensor is a public beta. If you have a MacBook Pro, you can try out TheftSensor for free. Undercover worked well in our tests, and once our new 17-inch MacBook Pro shows up, we’ll put TheftSensor through the tests, too.