12 November 2009

Undercover 1.5 now uses push notifications

Last week we already announced the availability of undercovercenter.com, a redesigned web portal for Undercover iPhone. Today, we are introducing an update to the iPhone app itself. As promised on this blog, Undercover now has the ability to be remotely activated through push notifications. When reporting a device stolen, you can send it notifications that will trigger Undercover. When you lose your iPhone or iPod, you can use Undercover to display a message on the device.

If you already have Undercover installed on your iPhone or iPod touch, you may download this free update right on your device. If you aren't an Undercover user yet, please check out the updated website or view Undercover directly on the App Store.

04 November 2009

Introducing undercovercenter.com

We are delighted to introduce undercovercenter.com, the new web portal for all our Undercover iPhone users. When installing Undercover on your iPhone or iPod touch, you automatically receive an account at undercovercenter.com. By logging into your account, you will be able to view your device's location history. The web site makes it very easy to declare your iPhone lost or stolen. In case of loss, you can set a message for the finder.

This new website replaces the retrievemyiphone.com portal that has been in use since April of this year. All existing retrievemyiphone.com users have automatically been transfered. One of our aims with the redesign was to make it feel more like a desktop app. We have invested heavily in this new portal, and we hope you'll like it. As always, we welcome your feedback. Feel free to leave a comment or to contact us directly.

If you don't have Undercover iPhone yet, make sure to check it out on the App Store!

21 October 2009

Wanted: beta testers

We are in the process of completing a major update to Undercover iPhone. The upcoming update has an amazing new feature: it will offer the possibility to remotely launch Undercover on your stolen iPhone, in order to track the thief's location. In addition, we completely redesigned and improved the Web-UI, making it even easier to track and recover your lost or stolen device.

We are about to start beta testing and we are looking for testers. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch and are willing to spend about an hour to help us test Undercover and send us your feedback, we would greatly appreciate it. To enroll, please use this link.


UPDATE: We are no longer looking for beta testers. Thanks to everyone who responded!

02 September 2009

Undercover 3.2 update is here

This update fixes a problem of increased network traffic that a small number of our customers experienced with Undercover 3.1 on Snow Leopard. This update is recommended for all users. Simply grab it from our Undercover page and run the installer.

28 August 2009

Undercover welcomes Snow Leopard

Undercover has a tradition of innovation. It was the first theft-recovery app to:
  • snap pictures of the thief
  • transmit screenshots (it's still the only one)
  • simulate a hardware failure (it's still the only one)
  • offer a plan B, allowing you to completely block the stolen Mac (it's still the only one)
  • come out as a Universal Binary, running natively on Intel Macs

Today, the innovation continues, as we are introducing the first 64-bit theft-recovery application on any platform. With Undercover 3.1, we not only support Tiger and Leopard, but also Snow Leopard, which is about to be released within a few hours. When running on Snow Leopard, Undercover automatically switches to 64-bit if your Mac supports it. This makes Undercover even faster, more efficient and more secure.

In addition, Undercover 3.1 uses Apple's Core Location framework on all Snow Leopard-enabled Macs. It's the same framework that Apple uses on the iPhone to provide accurate location information.

Here is how to upgrade Undercover when installing Snow Leopard:

  • Install Snow Leopard (there is no need to remove Undercover first)
  • Download the Undercover 3.1 installer from our website and run it
  • There is no step 3

Undercover will automatically detect and remove previous versions of Undercover and it will install the appropriate version for your version of Mac OS X.
Undercover will also detect your registration information, so you won't be prompted to enter that again.

If you are currently running Tiger or Leopard and you have no plans to upgrade to Snow Leopard, there is no need to upgrade your Undercover. On Tiger and Leopard, Undercover 3.1 is exactly the same as Undercover 3.0. It only adds new features on Snow Leopard (64-bit and Core Location).

The innovation won't stop here: Undercover 3.1 is just a small update to ensure that our customers can protect their Snow Leopard Macs from day one. We are simultaneously working on a much more substantial upgrade that will be available this fall.

19 August 2009

Car wash recovery story

We just posted a new recovery story about an iMac stolen from a car wash in Bakersfield, CA. Head over to our recovery page to read how Undercover helped IT manager Brian to get his Mac back in less than a week.

23 June 2009

Preparing for the future

Orbicule is highly committed to OS X. In fact, OS X is the only platform we write software for (both flavours: Mac OS X and iPhone OS). Undercover is not just some port from a Windows app, it has been designed from the ground up for Mac OS X and iPhone OS. Instead of only offering features for the lowest common denominator of all platforms (and we all know what that is ;)), Undercover adds unique functionality such as the iSight capture, screen capture, simulated hardware failure and plan B.

To underscore this commitment, we are pleased to announce that Undercover will embrace Snow Leopard. Not only will we make sure that Undercover runs on Snow Leopard, we will go a step further and offer unique Snow Leopard features. The updated version of Undercover will be available soon after the Snow Leopard release, due in September.

In the meantime, iPhone OS, our other pet platform, has received a major upgrade as well. We plan to have a new version of Undercover iPhone ready this summer. This new version will take advantage of Push Notifications to send alerts to a lost or stolen phone.

In case of loss, push notifications will let you display messages to the finder, and play an alert sound (this comes in handy if you simply forgot the iPhone under your couch).
In case of theft, Undercover will send fake message to the thief. If the thief accepts those messages, the stolen phone's location will be transmitted.

Following a good old Orbicule tradition, these updates will be free to all registered users. Have a great summer!

17 June 2009

Undercover is MacFormat choice

We are proud to announce that Undercover has received 5 stars in an extensive MacFormat review. In addition, our software was selected as an editor's choice.
The Undercover review appears in MacFormat's june issue, and is also available online.

12 May 2009

English version of Norwegian recovery story

Thanks to a spectacular MacBook recovery, Undercover made the front page of one of Norway's most popular newspapers. The amazing recovery story has now been translated and is available on our recovery page.

04 May 2009

Undercover recovers stolen MacBook and dismantles drug network in Norway

Undercover has recovered the stolen MacBook of Petter Røisland (23), living in Norway. By locating the thief, Undercover provided the police with crucial evidence that enabled them to dismantle a criminal network.

The story was published on the front page of 'Dagbladet', a major Norwegian newspaper. The story is in 'Norsk', but even the images alone are worth a look.

An english version of the recovery story will soon be posted on our recovery page.

16 April 2009

Bad news for iPhone thieves

Over the past year, we have received thousands of emails asking when Undercover would make it to the iPhone. We can finally provide a definitive answer: today!

We have been working for over 9 months on the iPhone version. It's not just a port of our Mac version, but a brand new application and - even more important - a brand new backend. Undercove features a secure, web based system that you can use to view your iPhone's last locations or open them in Google Earth. You can also use the system to report your iPhone (or iPod touch) lost or stolen. More information about the product itself is available at the Undercover iPhone page, so I won't repeat this information here.

Instead, I would like to focus on the features that make Undercover truly innovative:

  • Undercover is built to manage multiple devices per user: it provides a beautiful interface to easily manage several iPhones and/or iPods. This could be very convenient for a family, a school or a company.

  • The web interface is really easy to use. You can view the last 10 locations at a glance, without having to navigate cumbersome screens or entering arcane hex strings.

  • There is no way to prevent any iPhone app from being uninstalled (Apple apps are an exception here). However, Undercover significantly increases the recovery chance by pretending to be a game. That's right: when Undercover is launched on a device that is flagged as stolen, it will pretend to be loading game. This will win some time, so that Undercover can obtain the most accurate location.

  • In order to increase the chance of recovery even more, we will be releasing additional iPhone apps. These apps know how to talk to the Undercover server. So even if Undercover is removed from your phone, its location can still be transmitted. More information on these helper apps will be available soon.

  • Although we provide a web-based system, we still offer full theft recovery assistance. So just like with our Mac version, you still have access to our world-class recovery center.

  • In addition to reporting an iPhone stolen, you can also report it lost. In that case, the finder will see a message that you can set when you reported the iPhone lost.

Make sure to have a look at the guided tour movie at the Undercover iPhone page. Winnie will guide you through the process of reporting an iPhone lost or stolen and she will show you what happens on your stolen device.

We hope you'll like Undercover iPhone. Keep in mind that this is just the first version. We have some great ideas in mind for the upcoming updates (which will be free, of course).

30 March 2009

TidBITS goes Undercover

David Blatner has written an interesting article on theft-recovery for TidBITS. He has some nice things to say about Undercover:

Undercover in particular does some things I'd like to see incorporated into a future version of MacTrak, such as taking screen shots as the thief works and simulating a hardware failure to force the thief into bringing the machine in for repair

We could not agree more with David on Undercover's competitive edge.

However, I don't entirely agree with one of the author's points: he states that he does not 'like the idea of a third-party company being the mediator between me and the tracking data'. This is odd, as every theft-recovery solution out there, uses a client-server system. In that respect, data is always mediated and copied to some sort of server before the victim can view it. Even if the software sends the information 'directly' to your email account, that email has been 'mediated' by their servers.

However, more than three years of theft-recovery experience have learned us that having a mediator between the theft-data and the Mac's rightful owner is actually an advantage.

Indeed, some theft-recovery software lets you handle all the recovery work yourself. They simply dump the iSight pictures in your mailbox and that's it.
We don't: we have a fully staffed recovery center that handles hundreds of thefts each year. We have a rich in-house expertise on how to work with law enforcement in each country, including the US and Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. As a result, we can handle recoveries more quickly and efficiently. We also assist the victim in extracting data from the screenshots he or she receives from the stolen Mac.

Having a mediator really pays off, and we consider that an important part of the service you pay for when purchasing Undercover. It's an asset, not a disadvantage.

That's not to say we handle everything behind the customer's back. Every single customer receives all the information we share with the police.

In addition, having us as a neutral mediator really encourages the police to work on the case and to take to court all the data we provide them with. This becomes much more difficult if the data is gathered by individuals, or shared on photo-sharing websites.

28 January 2009

More testimonials from Europe and the U.S.

We have just added three more testimonials from user who got their Mac back thanks to Undercover. This time, Undercover helped tracing stolen Macs in Italy, Austria and Maine, USA.

27 January 2009

Undercover 3 unveiled

It's here: the most significant update to Undercover since its introduction on January 18 2006. During these three years, Undercover has gone from 1.0 to 2.5 without any upgrade charge. We are continuing this commitment to our users, with the 3.0 release: it's totally free for registered users! Over the coming days, all current users will be notified of this update by email.

The landmark feature of Undercover 3 is of course the Skyhook Wireless integration. It is the same technology that powers location tracking on the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Thanks to Skyhook technology, Undercover 3 can now locate your stolen Mac within a range of 10-20 meters (about 30-60 feet). Having immediate access to your Mac's location will enable our recovery center to provide the police with more details about the stolen machine. In addition, the entire process will be much faster too. There will be no more need to work with the ISP.

Think about it: we can now provide the police with a report that shows where your Mac is being used, who is using it (thanks to the iSight pictures) and what the current user is using it for (thanks to the screenshots we take).

We are confident that Undercover 3 with Skyhook location tracking will make a huge difference in the field. It should enable us to be even more aggressive when it comes to recovering stolen Macs. We currently have a 86% recovery rate. Expect this figure to go up...

How to Upgrade?
Upgrading to Undercover 3 is easy: download and run the installer.
That's it. The installer will automatically replace any previous version.
Undercover automatically recognizes any previous registration, so if you have registered Undercover on that Mac before, you won't see the registration screen again. If it can't find a previous registration, you will be prompted to enter your license key. This license key can be found in the email you have received from Kagi after your purchase. The email is sent by admin@kagi.com, you may use Spotlight to find it.

Check whether Undercover is running on your Mac
If you want to be sure that Undercover is running on your Mac, please follow the instructions below:
- Launch the Activity Monitor application in /Applications/Utilities
- Select "All processes" from the popup menu in Activity Monitor's toolbar.
- You should see a process called uc owned by root

Lost your Undercover ID?
You can always have your Undercover ID delivered again by following these instructions. Make sure to store this Undercover ID in a safe place, we will need it in case of theft.

06 January 2009

Undercover 3: coming soon to a Mac near you

Orbicule is proud to announce Undercover 3, the newest version of our critically acclaimed theft-recovery software. Undercover 3 enables us to accurately determine the location of your stolen Mac within a range of 10-20 meters. This new version uses the same Skyhook Wireless positioning technology used in the iPhone.

Currently, Undercover boasts an industry-leading 86% recovery rate. We are confident that this new version will increase our success rate even more.

Undercover 3 will be available on January 20. It will be a free download for all registered Undercover users. Undercover licenses are available for $49 at our Kagi online store.

UPDATE: We will release Undercover 3 on January 27, not on January 20 as announced previously (see above). The reason for this delay is the presidential inauguration taking place on January 20. We don't want to compete for media attention with Barack Obama! ;)