Author Topic: VUWER is FREE Theft Recovery Software for Apple Computers  (Read 2348 times)

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VUWER is FREE Theft Recovery Software for Apple Computers
« on: February 14, 2012, 01:26:08 PM »
VUWER (Vanderbilt University Web Enabled Recovery) is FREE Theft Recovery Software for Apple Computers

IMPORTANT:  USE VUWER WITH EXTREME CAUTION!
 
If your computer is stolen, and VUWER enables you to discover the identity and location of the thief, do not under ANY circumstances contact or confront him on your own!  Leave that task to the police.  Your only job should be to provide them with the information they will need to arrest the thief and recover your property.  Regardless of what happens, no computer is worth the risk of being assaulted (or worse) by a panicked or angry criminal.


http://stumpy.vuse.vanderbilt.edu/vuwer.htm

Quote
VUWER
(Vanderbilt University Web Enabled Recovery)

Theft Recovery Software for Apple Computers

Version 1.7.1
Jan. 28, 2014

Submit comments and bug reports to: Tim Holman  (tim.holman <at> vanderbilt.edu)

VUWER (pronounced like “viewer”) is an application designed to remotely track your Mac laptop (or any other Apple computer) in the event that it is lost or stolen.  If you can determine the location of your missing laptop, and the name, address, or image of the person using it, and provide this information to the police, then you may have a chance of recovering your property.  VUWER is not foolproof, but it is reasonably secure, easy to implement, and costs nothing but a little time and effort to set up.
 
IMPORTANT:  USE VUWER WITH EXTREME CAUTION!
 
If your computer is stolen, and VUWER enables you to discover the identity and location of the thief, do not under ANY circumstances contact or confront him on your own!  Leave that task to the police.  Your only job should be to provide them with the information they will need to arrest the thief and recover your property.  Regardless of what happens, no computer is worth the risk of being assaulted (or worse) by a panicked or angry criminal.


About VUWER

 

·      How VUWER Works

 

VUWER is a background process that automatically starts running after login to a user account on your laptop computer.  VUWER periodically monitors a web page or remote computer account that you create.  By altering a line of text on the web page, or a text file on the remote account, you can instruct VUWER to automatically capture screen shots, camera images, and the IP address (with associated geolocation information) that your laptop is using to connect to the Internet, and send that information to you at regular intervals.

 

VUWER operates independently of Apple’s iCloud “Find My Mac” service, and provides information and capabilities that “Find My Mac” does not.  “Find My Mac” only shows the approximate location on a map.  In an urban setting (e.g. an apartment building in a city), it may be impossible to determine exactly who has your laptop using “Find My Mac” alone.  And while “Find My Mac” gives you the ability to remotely lock or erase your laptop, doing so may actually reduce your chances of getting the laptop back.  The philosophy behind VUWER is different:  by allowing the thief to use your computer, you can discreetly gather information about him, including his photograph, his name, his home address, the network(s) he uses, and the web sites he visits.  With this information, your chances of recovering your laptop (and having the police arrest the thief) are greatly improved.

 

Unfortunately, VUWER (or any other Mac recovery software, for that matter) will be useless against a professional thief who knows how to bypass password protection in OS X, or how to format or replace the hard drive before using the computer.  However, my observation has been that the overwhelming majority of computer thieves are not professionals.  In general, they are petty criminals (often drug users) who are looking for quick cash, and will sell a laptop to someone who is willing to buy stolen goods.  If you provide the thief (or buyer) with the means to use your laptop, he may be quite content to use it to surf the web, access Facebook, send email, etc., giving you an opportunity to track him and hopefully recover your property.  The installation procedure will describe how to accomplish this while keeping your personal data secure.

 

·      VUWER Features

 

(1)   VUWER is free of charge, open source, and relies on standard OS X commands and readily available freeware applications for installation and operation.  Also, since VUWER is written in Applescript, it is relatively easy to modify or enhance in any way you choose.

 

(2)   You are in complete control of where the captured data from your stolen laptop is sent and how it is accessed; data can be transmitted either by email or by secure file copy to another computer account.

 

(3)   You can remotely capture screenshots, built-in camera images, and IP geolocation information from your laptop, and separately choose their respective repetition intervals.

 

(4)   No third-party intermediary is required to track your laptop.  VUWER eliminates any possibility of an unscrupulous person at a theft-recovery company snooping on you.

 

·      VUWER Requirements

 

VUWER should work on any Mac running OS 10.4.11 (Tiger) through 10.9.x (Mavericks).  The CPU load for VUWER is almost negligible (less than 0.1% on a Core 2 Duo Mac).

VUWER Setup and Installation

 

Although the installation of VUWER is not particularly difficult, it is somewhat detailed, and is definitely not a quick “click-and-you’re-done” process.  If you prefer a Mac recovery software solution that is easier to install and operate, you might want to consider commercial alternatives such as Undercover, Hidden, or GadgetTrak instead.

 

To update VUWER from an older version, to switch from one installation option to another, to change the settings for your current VUWER installation, or to uninstall VUWER from your computer, simply run the VUWER setup application again as described in the links below.  When updating, you do not need to create a new email account, web page, or remote computer account for VUWER if you have already created them for a previous installation.

 

The installation of VUWER is a four-part process:

·      First, you must set up a means of controlling VUWER remotely, and receiving data transmitted by VUWER from your laptop.

·      Second, you must install the VUWER software on your laptop and enable it to run on at least one user account.

·      Third, you should set a firmware password on your computer to prevent a thief from erasing the internal drive and deleting VUWER.

·      Finally, you should create a guest account for a thief to access, and protect your own account with a login password.  (This last step is optional, but highly recommended.)

 

Start by selecting one of two installation options for VUWER remote control and data transfer:

(1)   Controlling VUWER using a Gmail account and a personal web page, with data sent to another email address that you specify (recommended for most users), or:

(2)   Controlling VUWER from a remote computer account, with secure copy (SCP) used to transfer data to that same account (recommended for experienced users only).


Most people will probably want to select Option 1, since setting up a simple web page is very easy to do with Google Sites.  Experienced computer users who can obtain and configure a remote computer account may prefer the improved data transfer performance of Option 2.

 

·      Instructions for Installation Option 1 (Email)  (Recommended)
·      Instructions for Installation Option 2 (SCP)   (Experienced Users Only!)

IMPORTANT:  USE VUWER WITH EXTREME CAUTION!
 
If your computer is stolen, and VUWER enables you to discover the identity and location of the thief, do not under ANY circumstances contact or confront him on your own!  Leave that task to the police.  Your only job should be to provide them with the information they will need to arrest the thief and recover your property.  Regardless of what happens, no computer is worth the risk of being assaulted (or worse) by a panicked or angry criminal.


http://stumpy.vuse.vanderbilt.edu/vuwer.htm
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 04:37:43 PM by Software Santa »

 


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