Prey is a lightweight program that will help you track and
find your laptop
if it ever gets stolen. It works in all operating systems and
not only is it Open Source but also completely free.
Prey helps you find your stolen
laptop by sending timed reports to your email with a bunch of information of
its whereabouts. This includes the general status of the computer, a list of
running programs and active connections, fully-detailed network and wifi
information, a screenshot of the running desktop and — in case your laptop has
an integrated webcam — a picture of the thief.
Prey can use a web URL to check if
it should generate and send the report, so you have a way of alerting remotely
the program whenever your laptop disappears. It can (and should) be run as root
so it doesn’t depend on an active user session to run, but only on a succesful
You may be thinking “but what’s the
point of this program if the guy will probably just format the thing right
away?” and you’re completely right. However, experience shows that thieves tend
to look in stolen computers for valuable information, so there’s actually a
chance you can catch the guy (and there’s even some succesful cases!).
Besides, if by using Prey you can
keep alive a tiny bit of hope that you’ll recover your computer, isn’t it
already worth it?
You can also be safe about your
personal information. Prey only sends the data to the address you specify and
nowhere else. Best of all is that you don’t even have to take our word for it:
you can make sure by checking personally since the code is completely open!
How it works
When you install Prey, you set up an
email address and optionally a URL (i.e. http://mypage.com/stolen_laptop).
Prey runs at a specified interval
and checks the URL you previously defined. If theURL exists, Prey will gather
the information and send it to the email address you set up. You can also not
define a URL and in that case the program will send the data every time it
Of course, Prey needs to have an
active Internet connection to send the information. If the computer isn’t
connected, Prey will attempt to connect to the first public Wifi access point
Just download the
package, unzip it and run the install script:
$ chmod +x install.sh
Just download the
DMG package, mount it and run the installer.
First of all, if you’re using XP or
lower you need to make sure you have the .NET framework installed. You can
download it directly from Microsoft’s web site.
After downloading the package, unzip
and execute as an administratorPreyConfig.exe. Fill in all the
fields, tick the “Activar Prey” checkbox and then click on “Activar”.
We recommend you use the default
installation path for your system, since it’ll make it easier for updating or
removing Prey in the future.
You should use the full URL in
Prey’s setup, such as http://preyproject.com(not just
If you are using Gmail as your SMTP
server (smtp.gmail.com), the correct port is 587 an you need to activate SSL.
Same as above, just download the
package and run the installer.
In both systems, the installer
checks if there’s already a Prey installation in your computer and allows you
to skip the configuration. However we recommend you configure the data again
since the new version may have new features to configure.
Prey is licensed under the GNU
Public Licence v3.0. If you want to check or contribute to our repo
read further down.
In Windows you just need to open
PreyConfig.exe and untick the “Activar Prey” checkbox. Then you can delete
safely Prey’s files, wherever you originally put them.
In Mac or Linux you need to remove
the folder where you installed Prey (by default /usr/share/prey) and
aditionally the respective crontab line for executing Prey (root’s by default).
You can do so in the terminal:
$ sudo rm -Rf /usr/share/prey
$ (sudo crontab -l | grep -v prey) | sudo crontab -