Are you concerned that someone might steal your laptop computer when you are traveling? It might be stolen when you turn your back for a second at a library or courthouse or even stolen when at the airport. I have heard all sorts of stories about stolen laptops. It’s pretty common for thieves to break into cars that they think might contain a laptop, and in my case they even broke into the locked trunk of my car. If you are using a Macintosh laptop, a program called “Hidden” is the one you might want. The company is offering a special right now: FREE until December 31.
If your Mac computer is stolen, Hidden will show you where it is and who has it. “Who has it???” That’s right. Hidden will even take a picture of the person using it with the Mac’s built-in web cam. You can read the location information and see the pictures on any other computer you own or are using temporarily. You can even forward that information, with attached pictures, to the police department.
Hidden will locate your stolen computer anywhere on the planet, collect photos of the thief, and even collect screen shots of the computer in use. The program collects network information and displays the location of the computer’s I.P. address on a map. When I tested it on my Mac laptop, the location displayed was within 150 feet of my actual location. And, yes, it snapped my picture as well.
The company that created Hidden will also help you work with the police when recovering your stolen computer. I didn’t have a chance to test that, however.
Hidden does everything automatically and remains, well, “hidden.” Once it is installed and configured by you, Hidden loads and runs automatically every time the Mac is turned on. However, Hidden does not display any icon or any other indication that it is running. A thief probably will not realize that any “special tracking program” is running. Hidden sits there, inactive, until you use another computer to go to the program’s web site, log in with the user name and password you specified when you installed Hidden, and then click on STOLEN. From then on, every time the stolen laptop is connected to the Internet, it reports its network information and takes pictures every few minutes. You can see that information and view the pictures at any time by returning to the program’s web site.
You don’t have to wait for an actual theft in order to test Hidden, however. At your leisure, you can log onto the program’s web site and click “Test Mode” in your control panel. Information will be collected whenever the laptop connects to the Internet the next time.
In my case, my laptop was already connected online when I clicked on “Test Mode.” I had to wait about five minutes to see the information and the location of the laptop. The status will then automatically change back after test data has been collected. Hidden does not collect any information whatsoever from your computer until you click “Stolen” or “Test Mode.”
Hidden works anywhere in any country across the globe. However, it is dependent on the network it is connected to for location information. In North America, most of Europe, and in many other countries, that information typically will be accurate plus or minus a few hundred feet. However, in some countries, accuracy may not be as precise. That should be a big help to police departments. If the laptop is connected via a wireless connection, accuracy is usually even better than with wired connections.
You can only uninstall Hidden if you know the password you created when you installed the program. However, a thief will not be able to uninstall Hidden without that password unless he reformats the entire hard drive.
Hidden works with OS X 10.5 and above. I suppose it will work on desktop computers also, but it seems like a natural for the laptop or MacBook Air.
Hidden normally costs $20 per computer, but the producing company is offering it free of charge from now through December 31, 2010. The offer is good for one computer only.
I believe Hidden is a great program for retrieving stolen computers. I can't say for certain until after my laptop is stolen and, of course, I am hoping that doesn't happen. However, if it is stolen, I'll let you know the results in a future article.
You can read more about Hidden at http://www.hiddenapp.com/