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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 25, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Deal of the day: Free laptop recovery software, from UW

Here’s the best deal of the day: Adeona, a laptop recovery tool being given away for free by the universities of Washington and California at San Diego.

The tool helps locate a laptop in case its stolen, similar to the LoJack system for cars, except Adeona is free.

Adeona uses the Internet as a homing beacon, according to a UW news release today announcing its availability.

“Once Adeona is installed, the machine will occasionally send its Internet protocol address and related information to OpenDHT, a free online storage network. This information can be used to establish the computer’s general location.

On a Macintosh computer, Adeona also uses the computer’s internal camera to take a photo that it sends to the same server.”

The UW and UCSD announced today that they’ll give away the technology, which researchers will demonstrate at the ToorCon security conference in San Diego on Sept. 28. Since it was made available in June, it’s been downloaded by 50,000 people.

Adeona is the name of the Roman goddess of safe returns. Her namesake software is available from the UW here.

Adeona was created by Thomas Ristenpart, a UCSD doctoral student who attended the UW last summer, along with recent UW computer engineering graduate Gabriel Maganis; assistant professor of computer science and engineering, Tadayoshi Kohno; and Arvind Krishnamurthy, a UW research assistant professor of computer science and engineering.

“We wanted to build a tool that allows you to track the location of your laptop but at the same time doesn’t allow someone else to track you,” Kohno said in the release. “Typically when you create a forensics trail, you leave breadcrumbs that you can see, but so can everyone else. We’ve created a private forensics trail where only you can see those breadcrumbs.”

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