Thursday, 16 October 2008

How to find your stolen laptop

These days it has become easy to track a stolen laptop, courtesy, large number of laptop-recovery software. Most of these software automatically transmits the location of the device back to a central server.

However, according to several experts, these theft-tracking software also make a user's laptop more vulnerable to spying.

To tackle this, researchers at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, have developed a free software that records location information in such a way that only a legitimate user can get access to it.

Most of the laptop-tracking software periodically update a database with data related to the laptop's physical location, such as its current IP address and local network topology. While this data helps the security agencies to track the laptop they also help monitor the user's movement if the data is compromised.

Called Adeona, it uses several cryptographic techniques to keep location information secure. Like the other software, the laptop running the software still sends location information to a central database, just that the data is encrypted so that it cannot be read without a private cryptographic key.

Adeona works with Windows, Macintosh and Linux. For Mac users, it has an add-on that regularly takes photographs using the laptop's built-in camera, to provide further evidence to the police.

The researchers are currently working on a version of Adeona for the iPhone.