UW Researchers Develop Adeona Tracking Software to Protect Your Laptop
If your laptop is stolen, it sure would be nice to be able to track it. Well, the researchers at the University of Washington (UW) along with the researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed an open source software package, called Adeona (the Roman goddess of safe returns) to do exactly that. It uses state-of-the-art cryptography so you, the owner of the laptop, will be only person who can track your stolen laptop. If you are wondering about the cost of such valuable software, worry not….it’s FREE.
Adeona uses the Internet as a homing beacon by occasionally sending the laptop’s IP address and related information to OpenDHT, a free online storage network. By using the IP address, you can get a general idea where the laptop might be located. The tool works on laptops and desktops running Windows, Macintosh and Linux.
If you are using Macintosh you would like this tool even better because Adeona will use the computer’s internal camera to take a photo and send it to the server. The photo, along with the general location of your stolen laptop, could be valuable for law enforcement authorities to help you track your laptop.easy
The program is very easy to install and takes only 3.8MB on a Windows computer. The software consists of Adeona Client, which periodically sends private updates regarding your laptop to a remote storage location on the Internet. The Adeona Recovery Tools is the component that helps you retrieve the updates that were sent by your laptop. Of course, you want to install both the components. You will be prompted to provide a password. This password will ensure that only you will be able to reteive the information about the laptop.
Once you have installed the product, make sure that you back up the file created by the setup program on your desktop. The file is called adeona-retrievecredentials.ost and it contains the location-finding credentials of your laptop.
NOTE: Unfortunately, the extension .ost will confuse some people because it is used by Microsoft’s Outlook as an offline storage file. To read the contents of the file do not double-click it, instead you can open it in Notepad to read the content.
Here’s the message you will see at the completion of installation.
To retrieve a lost or stolen laptop you execute the Run Adeona Recovery tool from the Start menu. You will be prompted to enter your password. You may have to wait an hour before you do a retrieval after you install the software on your computer. In my evaluation of the software, I was able to get the location information relatively quickly, within 20 minutes or so after the installation. The retrieved location information will look something like this. I am using fake IP addresses in the example.
Retrieved location information:
update time: 10/03/2008,10:38 (PDT)
internal ip: 10.5.15.20
external ip: 192.168.9.8
access point: (n/a)
1 0.000ms 10.5.15.1 (MYROUTER)
Press any key to continue . . .
You can use one of the several free tools to look up the IP address information, such as IPLookup.