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Old 08-16-09, 10:02 AM   #1
GreenRiver
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LoJack for laptops - worth it?

My daughter is off to for her first year in college soon. She has a MacBook, and I'm formulating a "plan b" in the event that the thing gets stolen. We've got an external hard drive to back up her files. I've been slogging through customer reviews and blogs regarding the effectiveness of Lojack for Laptops. Any experiences/opinions/ideas on this matter will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 08-16-09, 10:33 AM   #2
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GreenRiver,

I can't offer any advice on a LoJack......in part because I didn't know they made one for computers.......but I would seriously look at not letting the laptop remember passwords.

I just bought my first one and have set it....using Firefox....so that it will not remember passwords to banking or other sites that contain sensitive personal information in the event your daughter accesses her banking/credit card accounts on line.

Also, I have just read that when people use a P2P site, another person can search using 'statements', 'passwords' and similar things and get personal information that the computer owner didn't mean to share.

Good luck.
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Old 08-16-09, 10:44 AM   #3
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I just had 3 laptops stolen....I wish I had a way to track them down.
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Old 08-16-09, 10:50 AM   #4
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I think the most important thing is going to be your daughter. A friend of mine came home one night after a evening drinking at the bar. Her room was unlocked, fortunately the only thing they did was steal all the laptops and electronics (not a typical dorm setup, more of a small efficiency).

I also know people who have had stuff stolen by leaving it unattended.

I personally didn't have my laptop stolen, but it was almost never not locked in my dorm/apartment or in my backpack.
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Old 08-16-09, 11:09 AM   #5
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The good:

On a Macbook, it would install with the OS, so if someone steals it and doesn't format the Macbook, it will keep phoning home so it can be hunted down.

The bad:

On Macs, if you format the drive and reinstall OS X, its likely Lojack will be cleaned off, making the laptop non tracable. However, most laptop thieves won't realize or care about Lojack's presence so won't bother.

If you encrypt your home directory with FileVault, a thief might not leave the OS running, similar if you use whole disk encryption:

Summary: Can't hurt to get, but get an insurance rider on your homeowners that explicitly covers laptops on the go.
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Old 08-16-09, 11:15 AM   #6
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Get her one of those security cables that you can lock electronics with. All expensive portable
electronics are made with one of those holes that a security cable can lock into. The best
scenario for its use is to lock it up in her dorm room when not carrying it.

like one of these:



I have one like this but that uses a key instead of a combo lock.
She can lock it to her desk or even the bedframe.

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Old 08-16-09, 11:32 AM   #7
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If you don't use a combination lock, use this. A lot of laptop cable locks still use round key locks.
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Old 08-16-09, 11:34 AM   #8
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+1 on the laptop cable locks. Especially if she's going to be living in the dorms.
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Old 08-16-09, 01:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the comments and ideas. I do appreciate it.
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Old 08-16-09, 07:49 PM   #10
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Suggest that the back up external hard drive is not sitting on the desk right beside the computer. If it is then it will probably be stolen as well. Better to put it under/behind the desk etc so that our rocket scientist thief just grabs the laptop and tears out all the cables without realising the external disk is there.

My 2 cents.

I know that people have remotely accessed their stolen Macs and have even used the built in cameras to photograph the thieves, so the 'how to' should be out there with a google search.
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Old 08-17-09, 05:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
Suggest that the back up external hard drive is not sitting on the desk right beside the computer. If it is then it will probably be stolen as well. Better to put it under/behind the desk etc so that our rocket scientist thief just grabs the laptop and tears out all the cables without realising the external disk is there.

My 2 cents.

I know that people have remotely accessed their stolen Macs and have even used the built in cameras to photograph the thieves, so the 'how to' should be out there with a google search.
That can be done, but if you do like me and encrypt your home directory, the user has to find another method of access. As for backups, +1 on the securing the backup drive. I also recommend Mozy, as its $5 a month for a non business machine, stores unlimited data. So, if both the laptop and the backup drive get inaccessible, the files are still retrievable. Very important when it comes to college papers.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:03 AM   #12
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I don't have any personal experience with the lojack for laptops, but it always intrigued me. There are a few different versions out there (all software programs).

The one that I found quite intriguing was one that took pictures using the built-in web cam (if present) to snap and email photographs every so often. Now that's a kewl idea!
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Old 08-17-09, 09:46 AM   #13
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big corporations use it,

it is far better than nothing at all.....your only chance basically
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Old 08-17-09, 11:02 AM   #14
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On PC laptops, lojack might be a better option. Brands like HP and Dell offer to have LoJack embedded permanently in a chip so not even a BIOS reflash and a complete erasing of the hard disk would wipe it out. As soon as someone does this and reinstalls Windows, Lojack silently re-enables itself. Combining LoJack on a PC laptop with a TPM chip offers both protection of the stolen data, as well as tracking of the laptop should a thief reinstall Windows.

On Macs, its likely a wipe of the boot disk will completely wipe the software, but it is better than nothing as stated above.
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Old 08-17-09, 05:26 PM   #15
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I wonder if there's a way to embed a USB flash-drive inside the MacBook? I've installed 2 additional flash-drives in my Asus eeePC without any problems. Then you can install the LoJack software on the flash-drive and it'll be there even after the OS re-install. Trick is how to have it automatically activate with the new OS. Here's some info on TPM on the Macs, it appears Apple seems to have not implemented any further other than just including it on the MB.
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Old 08-21-09, 11:50 AM   #16
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Research it first

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenRiver View Post
I've been slogging through customer reviews and blogs regarding the effectiveness of Lojack for Laptops.
When you read the user reviews for LoJack, I gotta wonder if any of the users expressed concern about the potential security risk. LoJack, allegedly, has a security hole that some techs say might compromise your datas security. Read up on this issue before you purchase LoJack.

http://www.vancouversun.com/business...869/story.html
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...cf6XwD99P33N82
http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=3828

Last edited by On Any Sunday; 08-21-09 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 08-21-09, 12:03 PM   #17
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On the fence with LoJack

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
On PC laptops, Lojack might be a better option. Brands like HP and Dell offer to have LoJack embedded permanently in a chip so not even a BIOS reflash and a complete erasing of the hard disk would wipe it out. As soon as someone does this and reinstalls Windows, Lojack silently re-enables itself. Combining LoJack on a PC laptop with a TPM chip offers both protection of the stolen data, as well as tracking of the laptop should a thief reinstall Windows.
I dunno...when all is said and done LoJack may not be that great for laptops, imo. If it's stolen LoJack will phone home with a Tracert so you have to hope the thief keeps using your laptop from the same access point over and over before nuking LoJack if you want any hope of recovering it. If they are in a suburban area and the thief moves from connection point to connection point it will be nearly impossible to get the machine back.
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Old 08-21-09, 02:30 PM   #18
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Get a lock and have it wrap around the bed or desk.

Ultimately it comes down to your daughter and how important she sees her computer and data being. Tell her that she's free to _not_ use the lock if she wants, but if her laptop is stolen, she'll have to get a read job and buy a new one herself.

It's actually better for her to get a job in the first place.
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Old 08-21-09, 04:05 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
I wonder if there's a way to embed a USB flash-drive inside the MacBook? I've installed 2 additional flash-drives in my Asus eeePC without any problems. Then you can install the LoJack software on the flash-drive and it'll be there even after the OS re-install. Trick is how to have it automatically activate with the new OS. Here's some info on TPM on the Macs, it appears Apple seems to have not implemented any further other than just including it on the MB.
Certainly:

http://www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/vssdrives/index.htm
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Old 09-04-09, 07:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post


If you don't use a combination lock, use this. A lot of laptop cable locks still use round key locks.
I swear I haven't been living under a rock but do most mid-to-high end laptops come with an orifice (like the one pictured above) that will allow you to cinch it down with a cable? I've never seen something like that before.
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Old 09-05-09, 02:00 AM   #21
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I swear I haven't been living under a rock but do most mid-to-high end laptops come with an orifice (like the one pictured above) that will allow you to cinch it down with a cable? I've never seen something like that before.
Virtually all laptops made since the late 1990s have the Kensington lock slot. A lot of printers and external hard disks have this slot as well. The only notable exception to this is the MacBook Air.

The Kensington lock slot is good for a theft deterrent, where forced removal will trash the case enough for the damage to be obvious and perhaps make the item unsalable as a whole. However, against a laptop thief that is looking to steal laptops in order to get parts or data (LCD screens are big cash), the lock slot may buy the laptop a few seconds of time, but that's it.
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