[unisog] Computer tracking software

Daniel Feenberg feenberg at nber.org
Tue Apr 4 15:28:42 GMT 2006

On Tue, 4 Apr 2006, Brian Smith-Sweeney wrote:

> Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu wrote:
>> On Mon, 03 Apr 2006 17:56:18 EDT, Brian Smith-Sweeney said:
>>> Has anyone had any experiences with PhoneHome or other tracking software
>>> they would like to share?
>> No experience, but a relevant question:
>> Does the software "phone home" to a server *you* control, or a server
>> controlled by the vendor?
> Excellent question, and one that has been part of our evaluation
> process.  PCPhoneHome *sort of* contacts an external server (the
> vendor's), but only to relay mail.  It works by sending an email message
> out to the user under certain circumstances (once a day, if the IP
> changes, etc.)  Two of the questions I'm interested to get answered by
> PCPhoneHome are 1) do they keep a copies of those emails, and 2) can we
> reconfigure the software to use our servers.

When I evaluated the service I was not concerned about confidentiality, 
after all they don't learn any more about you than any web site you visit 
does. I was more concerned that if the stolen laptop ended up behind a 
firewall that blocked outgoing port 25 (which is very common among firms 
and ISPs) that the information wouldn't get transferred at all.

> I contacted their tech support  and am waiting to hear back.
> Cheers,
> Brian
> -- 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Brian Smith-Sweeney      Sr. Network Security Analyst
> ITS Technology Security Services, New York University
> bsmithsweeney at nyu.edu
> http://www.nyu.edu/its/security
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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