Proper preparations prevent poor performance, and keeping tabs on your coveted PC or Mac laptop, and the information inside it, should be at the top of the list of preparations whether here in Costa Rica or abroad.
Break-ins and general larceny are among the most common of crimes in Costa Rica, and laptops are an especially coveted item to pilfer from unsuspecting travellers and unwary residents.
“Laptops are very common to be taken during break-ins to vehicles and homes,” said the chief of Nicoya's OIJ, Luis Eduardo Jimenez Ruiz. “But how many exactly in the last year would be difficult to say.”
||Photo illustration by Giordano Ciampini
Security companies have started offering pre-theft solutions to combat the growing trend in computer theft. Most anti-theft software solutions are trackers; Using the GPS or WiFi connection on your computer to pinpoint the location of your hardware using tools like Google Maps, and the results can be extremely useful to police services during their investigations.
The idea is fairly simple: You install the software, which runs in the background silently, waiting like a vulture for it's prey. A thief makes the grab, and takes off with all your work and personal life inside your computer. You then contact the company through a designated web-page from an internet café or friend house, input your username, password, and declare the computer stolen.
Within seconds from that person opening the laptop around a WiFi signal, a data packet is sent through to the company website, courtesy of the program you've installed previously. The company's software tracks the laptop to a nearby community and sends the data to your email, which you would forward to the local police, who then would recover your stolen property and/or make an arrest if there's enough evidence to do so.
Several products offer additional services like BIOS installations, which store the installation and registration information inside the mainboard (logic board for all you Mac enthusiasts) so that if your hard drive gets yanked out, the software and it's valuable tracking capability reinstalls on the new hard drive, others offer spy cameras to catch the thief in action, remote computer lock-up, data encryption, and even IP address locations to find out names and addresses where your stolen property ends up.
The options can range from free for a single computer to $400 per year to secure up to 300 laptop computers for enterprise customers. For any further information on any of these products or services, please consult their respective websites. Just like a fingerprint used to catch a thief, every person, computer, and their individual solutions will be different.
Absolute Computrace Lojack – www.absolute.com
(Standard) 39.99/year (Premium) 59.99/year
Included benefits: Remote data wipe, computer lock, recovery service, up to $1000 guarantee, BIOS install.
Premium benefits: Location history.
Brigadoon PCPhoneHome/MacPhoneHome – http://www.pcphonehome.com/
29.99 one-time price
Included benefits: Recovery service
Hidden – hiddenapp.com
15.00/year per computer, 45.00/year up to 5 computers
Included benefits: Google Maps tracking, screenshots of computer in-use, spy camera.
Prey – preyproject.com
(Standard) Free (PreyPro) 54.00/year up to 3 computers
Included benefits: keyring for passwords, WiFi autoconnect, hardware/software remote scan to monitor changes, GPS/WiFi tracking, Spy Camera, Screenshots of computer in-use, computer lock-down.
Premium benefits: Active mode, 100 reports per monitored device, fast data request intervals, full SSL encryption of transmitted data.
Snuko Anti-Theft (Win/Mac) – www.snuko.com
(Standard) Free (Premium) 29.99/year per computer
Included benefits: Screen lock, finder contact details, WiFi Autoconnect, Data encryption, Screenshots of computer-in-use, spy camera, IP address locator, google maps recovery.
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