Computer Tracking Products

Jim Bryce bryce at
Wed Mar 5 20:22:05 GMT 2003

Does anyone have experience with software solutions to track the whereabouts of
laptops or desktops?  There are dozens of products in the marketplace that
purport to be able to aid in the recovery of stolen computers by sending a
stealth email message to a specified address whenever the machine connects to
the internet.  The message would reveal the IP address in use to aid in location
and recovery of the computer.

Our Risk Management and Campus Security Department are interested in any product
that would help recover stolen computer equipment.  Risk Management might go so
far as to require the use of such a product on any university-owned machine
covered under the university's insurance policy.

Our investigation of one such product has raised some concerns:
a) the ability of the product to be undetected on the machine
b) privacy considerations for an individual using the machine
c) the integrity of the manufacturer (since the version of software that we
looked at seemed to be performing a connect to the company's server every ten
minutes - this did not seem to be consistent with their description of the
operation of the product)

Jim Bryce
Senior Network Analyst            e-mail: bryce at
Computing and Information Services  http: //
McMaster University, GH-226        phone: (905) 525-9140 ext.23048
1280 Main Street West                fax:   (905) 524-5288
Hamilton, Ontario  L8S 4L8

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