“Prey” for your laptop

Published by TheJoe on

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes


This article was published more than a year ago, there may have been developments.
Please take this into account.

In the previous post we have already talked about how important it is to maintain a certain safety margin on your PC, especially if they are inside sensitive data the Personal Information we do not want to disclose.

As already said Prey it is the best program I have been able to find among the programs for tracking stolen pc. E’ un software open source, released under GNU Public Licenses v3.0 and natively developed for Linux, but also supported by Microsoft and Mac OS X. Prey helps us to rediscover our computer stolen sending emails to our address containing a real "photography"The status of the pc. Prey sends us information about:

  • l'uptime,
  • the public and private IP,
  • the "route" packets,
  • il gateway,
  • eventuali reti wifi (clearly if the protocol is installed and wifi if the PC has wifi antenna Wink),
  • files modified in the last 60 minutes,
  • running programs,
  • open connections,
  • one screenshot of the desktop,
  • a photo from the webcam if available.

Prey works in background, clearly the thief will not have the impression of being "spied”. Statistically the thief "average" is not very computer savvy, more than anything else turns it on, and will tour in its webmail. Unlikely to make a scan of running programs, more difficult for them to find out what it's Prey. Conversely, if it is an average expert user who will reformat the computer just stolen, we will not be able to recover it, but as stated statistically it rarely happens.

How much of the park open source software, Prey offers no guarantee tracing actual computer. Even, eg, makes no warranties about the program, but it works equally very well and the number of users is constantly expanding. We can say that the software warranty is relatively cheap. The programs on which it relies such as "traceroute"And"iwconfig"Trusted system utilities are installed regardless of Prey and independent by the same.

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Download, installation and tips:

To install Prey is necessary to have a bit of familiarity with the terminal.

  • First we connect to the official website and discharge package,
  • Unzip the package into a directory of your choice:
           $ unzip
           $ cd prey*
  • Make it executable program "" and begin installation:
           $ chmod  x
           $ ./

The program will make us any questions about where we want the program to go to settle, at what time will start, the language to use for the installation and so on.

One thing not to overlook is the question about the URL. Operation of Prey is simple and I will explain in a few short passages:

  • At regular intervals after installation Prey is started through an entry on crontab,
  • at each startup Prey controls a URL passed by us during installation.
  • If the URL does not exist Prey sends no report on our email
  • If the URL does not exist Prey sends reports on our email. (sending the report is to detail the functions described earlier in this article)
  • composition of the email
  • forwarding

We may also decide to not specify any URL during installation. In this case Prey will send its report at each check. Communicating the URL to Prey means avoiding clogging up your email every time the computer is switched on for as long as it remains connected.


I keep this blog as a hobby by 2009. I am passionate about graphic, technology, software Open Source. Among my articles will be easy to find music, and some personal thoughts, but I prefer the direct line of the blog mainly to technology. For more information contact me.


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