Orbicule Announces Undercover 3 with Location Technology

| Macworld Expo 2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- At this week's Macworld Expo, Orbicule demonstrated Undercover 3, the newest version of the Mac anti-theft product. Peter Schols, Creative Engineer, briefed us on the features of this product.

Undercover is software that you install on your Mac running Tiger or Leopard. During installation, you are provided with a unique ID. In the event that your Mac is stolen, you send the Undercover ID to Orbicule and report the theft to your local police. Then, if your Mac appears on the Internet, Undercover will do a number of things.

New in version 3 is the ability to locate your mac using Skyhook, the same service that provides location services to products such as early iPhones and the Eye-Fi Explore. Undercover will also take screenshots of the stolen machine, which can help identify the person if they are running applications like email or chat. If available, Undercover will use your built-in iSight camera to take a mug shot of the thief.

If the aforementioned steps fail, Undercover will then activate Plan B. In this mode, Undercover will simulate a hardware failure by dimming the screen over the course of 30 minutes, until the machine becomes unusable. This will hopefully prompt the thief to bring the machine to a repair shop, where it will hopefully be placed online so the location mechanism will find it. If it does get online, Undercover will then show a full-screen message stating that the Mac has been stolen, and provides Orbucule's contact info. Additionally, the Mac will start shouting this message.

Undercover 3 is priced at US$49, and will be available January 20.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

Comments

ctopher

Great headline!

I had no idea what this article was about, I’ve never heard of Orbicule or Undercover, and I had no clue what it had to do with Location Technology, but I so loved the way the headline read, I had to open the article. (I use FireFox’s RSS which just gives me headlines).

So read it again and see if it doesn’t sound like something you really want to know about, even it you have no idea what it is.

Oh and the product seems pretty cool too!

RexYgrek

How is this different from Absolute Software’s Computrace’s LoJack for Laptops (lojackforlaptops.com)?  Or is it basically the same thing and another company trying to get some market share from Absolute Software’s Lojack?  I bought the 3 year premium subscription of Lojack for Laptops for $50 on Black Friday (1/2 the normal price for a premium 3 yr subscription, I think) but I’ve yet to install it.  From what I remember this product does the exact same thing as Lojack.  I’ll check out the Undercover 3 website and see how many years of coverage the $49 gets you.  Competition can’t be bad, can it?  If I’m not happy for any reason w/ Lojack when my 3yrs are up and this product is better and/or cheaper then I’ll consider switching to it.

azarkon

I looked at Lojack’s website, and did not see a terribly in-depth description of how it works.  Here are some of the differences I noticed.
Undercover is mac-specific and mac-only.
Undercover offers lifetime protection of the mac for a one-time fee.
Undercover takes screenshots and webcam pictures to help identify the thief; as well as using skyhook.
Undercover has a “plan B” option which fakes a hardware failure; then when the Mac is sent in for repairs it identifies itself as stolen property.

Lojack has a BIOS daemon that allows the software to survive a drive being wiped on some computers?this feature does not work with macs.  Undercover suggests using a firmware password with their product to provide a similar safeguard.

Lojack claims a 75% return rate.  Orbicule no longer offers such a claim on their website, but when I bought the software about a year ago, they were claiming a return rate of over 90%.

I don’t think Undercover is a Lojack copycat (lojack is regional to North America whereas Orbicule is headquartered in belgium).  Undercover is a sophisticated and innovative leveraging of Mac-specific tools to offer a software mechanism for returning stolen Macs.  It appears more through than the Lojack system.

I’ve never had to use my copy, but I have friends who’ve had their laptops taken.  It’s a no-brainer, especially for students.

Eli In Bethesda

I have been a user and fan of Undercover for years, Earlier versions were known as LapCop and it was out before Lojack for Laptops hit the market. It’s flawless and protective. Thankfully I have not had to use the lifetime service because my laptop has not been stolen. Success stories are there, at http://www.orbicule.com/undercover/recovery.html

RexYgrek

I just saw another article that might be of interest to those, like myself, who want to compare Orbicule’s Undercover 3 to Lojack for Laptop and other similar products. Apologies to MacObserver (I check your site every day), but it is on another site (http://www.tuaw.com/2008/11/18/tuaw-review-mactrak-theft-recovery-software/) and is titled,“TUAW Review: MacTrak Theft Recovery Software”  The first sentence mentions the similar products, “There are several applications available that will help find a lost or stolen Mac. Here at TUAW, we’ve talked about LoJack for Laptops, Orbicule’s Undercover, MacPhoneHome, and iAlertU from Slapping Turtle.”  Maybe this will help.  And MacObserver, if you have a similar article, my apologies for including one from another site.  Actually, I found it at:  http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/podcast/mac_geek_gab_187_busycal_virtual_box_extending_wireless_limits/  when I clicked on the “Stuff Mentioned” MacTrack link.  At the MacTrack page click on the “Reviews” link.  There isn’t a MacObserver link on that page yet, but obviously it is mentioned in, Mac Geek Gab #187: BusyCal, Virtual Box, and Extending Wireless Limits
by Dave Hamilton & John F. Braun on January 12th, 2009 at 9:52 PM

Merick_D

It looks like Orbicule is copying the MacTrcak product with the wi-fi positioning, if you look at the Skyhook site, MacTrak is all over it, even featured in their developer spotlight etc.

November 12th:
http://www.skyhookwireless.com/press/skyhookgadgettrak.php

http://www.skyhookwireless.com/developers/

Imitation is the sincerist form of flattery I guess. I like the privacy angle of mac track though, the fact that they send the location and images to you directly I think is better than going to a server in Europe or wherever Orbicule is, it also makes me uneasy that they can activate my camera.

Log-in to comment