Some time ago we introduced a safety guide for Mac and iPod, to protect our equipment and iPod . Today we’re going to look at Undercover, one of the programs we talked about in that post, to see what it offers us and how it can help us recover our Mac in the event of theft or loss.
First we download the application and install it. It requires restarting the computer and entering the license code we received when we bought the application. Then we will receive an e-mail with the computer’s identity code. This code is the one we have to enter in the database of Undercover in case our computer “disappears”.
Before continuing, we must ensure that Undercover cannot be neutralized or erased, to do this we must prevent the hard drive from being erased or booting from another drive. With the firmware password utility of Apple we will prevent this from happening. To do this, insert the DVD from Mac OS X , and in ApplicationsUtilities we will find the possibility to insert a key. Without this key, it will be impossible to erase the hard disk or boot from another disk, so we must make sure that we remember it.
Additionally, we must create an additional user account without a password and without administrator privileges. If we have Leopard , with the Guest account will be enough, In System Preferences, activate the option Request password to reactivate the computer if it is at rest or with screensaver, and check the option Disable automatic login. That’s it for the Undercover .
If our computer is stolen, the following will happen. We will connect to the website of Undercover and enter the unique key. When the hacker connects to the internet, Undercover will notify Mac that it has been stolen and he will start to perform various actions. The first is to record the connection information to locate the Mac and to be able to locate it with the help of the Internet provider and the police. If the Mac doesn’t connect to the Internet, it will simulate a hardware failure, as we’ll see later.
Undercover takes regular screenshots and sends them to your computer recovery center, which will help identify the thief (email input, login, chat, etc). If our Mac has a iSight (or connects one to the computer), Undercover will start taking pictures and send them in the same way.
What if this doesn’t work? Undercover will simulate a hardware failure, which will make it necessary to take it to technical service or try to sell it. At that point, a message will be displayed on the screen saying it has been stolen and must be returned, with contact information and a reward to be paid by Undercover . Undercover can also shout out this message at full volume, using the text-reading capability of our Mac.
Undercover really consumes very few system resources and very low bandwidth accessing the internet (500 bytes every 6 minutes) and has no application or configuration other than the one we have mentioned, so we will forget it is running until we really need it. If we do not connect to the Internet in two months, the program will simulate the hardware failure. But don’t worry, for everything to work properly again, we only have to connect to the Internet and it will disappear.
The licence for Undercover costs 34.57 euros, although it is also possible to buy a pack of five licences for 41.63 euros or volume licences for companies. And if you can’t help recover your Mac after it’s stolen, we’ll refund the license fee.