Once upon a time the world was a peaceful place. Well, no, come to think of it, even back in caveman and dinosaur days it was a dog eat dog world.
Alright, so peace of mind is tough to come by. Mac users, rejoice! A free Mac app may help you sleep better at night. How? Because it runs in the background and helps you track your Mac should it be stolen by a caveman.
Tracking Thieves For Fun, Not Profit
The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that computer thieves fall into three groups. The first is the stupid thief who grabs a notebook at the airport or while wandering through an office building.
Those thieves are after a quick buck and hope to sell your stolen notebook for chump change.
The second group specializes in Macs because they’re worth more than PC notebooks. They’re smarter than the average bear (can’t get that Jellystone movie out of my head) and know how to pull data from your Mac.
The third group is really smart. They target you for your information because information is money. But if you’re not James Bond or work for Goldman Sachs, don’t worry about these guys.
Worry about the first two groups. Once they’ve stolen your Mac you need a way to track them down. That’s what VUWER does.
VUWER Tracks The Crooks
Simply put, VUWER is a Mac OS X background application that helps you track your Mac should it be stolen. VUWER resides behind the scenes, and lets you continue to work like you always do (totally ignoring those skin-laden web sites you’ve got cluttering up Safari’s history).
Every so often VUWER checks a web or a remote computer account that you set up. If all is well, VUWER is happy. If your Mac is stolen, simply change the message that VUWER reads, and it’s off with their criminal heads.
VUWER can be instructed to automatically collect screen capture images (so you’ll know what the thief is looking at—maybe the same images you were looking at). It can also use your Mac’s iSight camera to capture images of who is sitting in front of your Mac.
All that information and more (for example, geolocated IP address information) is captured at regular intervals once VUWER knows your Mac is in trouble, and sends that information to you—silently, quietly, in the background.
Only the smartest of criminals can figure out that VUWER is on your Mac, but they’re probably busy looking at the same images or movies you downloaded but now wish you hadn’t.
VUWER does all that for free. It even warns you about the dangers of tracking down a Mac thief by yourself (I would use my club to confront a thief that stole my Mac—there are over 20 of us in my club—it would be an awesome scene, what with our baby strollers, kids whiffle ball bats, and aluminum Starbucks refill cups).
What does VUWER mean? It’s nuts. Vanderbilt University Web Enabled Recovery. Cool apps like VUWER are what students and faculty can do with their spare time at a university without a top ranked sports team (just kidding—Go Commodores! You folks have such cool hats. And a boat).