If you were following the news over the summer, then one story you may have picked up on concerned an individual who had his laptop stolen during the London riots. What was remarkable is that he was able to track his laptop, identify the thief and alert the police enabling them to catch him red-handed.
Incredibly, this was achieved using a freely available piece of software. Recovering stolen goods is notoriously tricky. Even if thieves are caught, stolen property can be quickly passed on. This software overcomes this issue as it is a small monitoring program installed on your laptop, PC or android mobile phone. If your device goes missing, you log onto a website and register it as such and the next time the device is turned on its location is triangulated.
Even more astonishing is that on web cam enabled devices it can take a picture showing the person who is actually using the computer/phone. In this way the person can be identified and the police alerted to its location.
The name of this program is Prey a freely available piece of open source software which works with its website to track lost or stolen computers and android phones and tablets. The free version can track up to 3 devices and store an appropriate number of reports. If you need to track additional devices then upgrades are available from $5.