I walked in my apartment ... and my iMac was gone
October 5, 2012
I should've used Prey ...
I walked into my apartment on a Friday afternoon in May 2012 ... and everything seemed slightly off. Some cabinets were open and all my furniture was moved around a tiny bit.
This set off my Spidey Sense.
I immediately noticed the giant 27" iMac normally sitting on my desk was gone. I STILL didn't fully think I'd been robbed yet. "Maybe a friend is playing a prank on me?"
But then I went to my bedroom where my Macbook Air sits charging under my bed. "THAT MOTHERF*CKER IS GONE TOO!"
This is when I realized I'd actually been robbed.
My heart rate went up. My "wanting-to-punch-someone" rate went up.
I felt helpless & violated (I know that sounds kinda wussy, but "violated" is exactly how I felt).
First — I called the police and reported my computers missing. They said some officers will be over shortly.
Secondly — I rushed to the AppSumo office (fortunately it's 3 blocks away from me) and screamed at someone to let me use a laptop, and immediately started to change all my account passwords. Facebook, Gmail, banking accounts, Amazon account, server access passwords ... it was a pain in the ass.
Thirdly — The police showed up pretty quick, and asked if I had the serial numbers to the computers I owned. I did.
Those bastards even stole the BOXES my computers came in!
They also asked if I had tracking software on my computers. I didn't.
Probably because I'm an idiot and never thought someone would steal my computers.
"5.5 million computers were stolen in the USA from 2007 to 2010."
Perhaps I should've read that BEFORE I got jacked!
After things settled down it hit me:
Electronics like mine are THE MOST BANG FOR THE BUCK that a casual thief could steal!
In about 20 seconds:
They stole a $2,000+ 27" iMac and my $1,500+ MacBook Air.
They waltzed out the door with more than $3,000 worth of equipment, and a lot of personal information.
... But that was the problem. My computers were UNTRACEABLE because I had no tracking software on them.
I Googled around for "Best Tracking Software", and even asked for a theft-prevention recommendation at the Apple Store (I was re-buying a new MacBook Air for more than $1,800).
Apple recommended the LoJack software ... but I read bad reviews across the internet and wasn't fully impressed.
The other option I saw was the Prey Project.
Two friends I consider tech gurus also highly recommended Prey, so I went with that.
It has a free version of their tracking software you can install ... which took me about 10 seconds.
I then logged into my Prey account and "tested" if it worked. IT DID!
The update showed a screenshot of my screen, snapped a picture of my ugly face, and gave me the exact coordinates of the router I was connected to. It was enough to track me down to the individual apartment unit.
It sent all this information to my email every 15 minutes ... however with the upgraded Prey plans, you can make it update on demand (you're MUCH more likely to catch a thief this way).
Since this was the free version of Prey, I couldn't use the "Prey Active" features which would allow me to F*ck with the person who stole my computer:
- You can lock the computer down completely so no one can use it until a password is entered.
- You can make the computer (or phone/tablet) give off a loud siren sound so you can hear it.
- You can send the thief a personal message, and even change the device to say, "STOLEN PROPERTY, CALL 713-301-1546. REWARD" (or whatever you want).
Here's a Video I made explaining why I love Prey
Every night I dreamed of finding the person who stole my computers and bashing their face in. GOD I WISH I HAD THIS INSTALLED ON MY STOLEN COMPUTERS!
I now have Prey installed on my MacBook Air, iMac, iPhone and iPad. (I know I know ... I have a man-crush on Steve Jobs). Don't fret, Prey works on PCs too.
I also have the free Apple app "Find My iPhone" ... but that has limited functionality, and from all my research doesn't retrieve as many devices as with Prey (it doesn't even take screenshots or webcam pics).
What really convinced me of Prey was they have a whole freakin section of people who've recovered their phones, tablets and computers with Prey.
If I was more prepared, I could've just gone to the Prey website and clicked the "lost" button ... and soon as the device (whether a phone, tablet, or computer) connects ... it would've immediately started tracking the bastard that stole it.
When Prey goes into action, it starts to ...
- Send scarily-accurate location updates.
- Track which programs the thief has running.
- Snap pictures of the thief with the devices built in camera.
- Track which files have been accessed or changed on your system.
- Grab screenshots of what the thief is doing on your computer (usually checking Facebook or Gmail ... so you can see their private info too).
... So we at AppSumo are always looking for deals to give to ourselves (proof that we love our work)!
So we actually managed to get Prey at a giant discount.
I think every person in the office wants to issue this to themselves! I sure as hell did. I've got 4 devices I want Prey on ... and the free version only supports 3 (and you can only track the thief once every 15 minutes which isn't as helpful as CONSTANT tracking).
The deal we have is:
Normally the Home Plan for Prey is $162/year (you get up to 10 devices plus the sneaky "Prey Active" features).
The AppSumo price for the Home Plan is only $49 for a full year. This means you can vigilantly protect up to TEN devices (androids, tablets, iphone, ipads, imacs, windows etc ...) for only $49 for the entire damn year!
That's only $4 per month for all ten devices.
That means 40 cents per month to protect each device.
Yea ... that's a good deal.
This year-long subscription to the Prey Home Plan is perfect for:
- Anyone who uses their computer to earn a living.
- Anyone who works out of coffee shops a lot.
- GREAT for families and small businesses.
- Anyone who travels a lot and works from hotels & other remote locations.
Take care of your stuff.