Short Essay 24
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
Secure Your Laptop and Phone Forever from Theft With N500 Only!
I lost a MacBook Air last week after enjoying it for just eight months. In just few minutes, $1,200 was gone!
The misfortune of losing a car, a phone, a laptop or other digital devices has visited each of us at least once, so far. The bitterness usually is not of losing the gadget itself, but of the information it carries. Some contacts are never recovered, some files are lost forever.
But not anymore. Thanks to the ingenuity of the human brain, today softwares have been developed to track your car, laptop, phone, and other gadgets. Today, these devices can be stolen only from the indolent.
The first tracking software I knew after the GPS was the car track from an American company that costs N70,000 or so, including installation fee. (MTN offers a similar service but with much less efficiency) With it you can know the location of your car anywhere it is in the world, anytime; its kinetic status; etc. More interesting is that you can ground it by switching its engine off through sending a one word SMS command. Nothing changes even if the car snatcher kills his victim or ceases the phone. The software enables them to save the GSM number of the car track with nine other people, who can also search for its location. If car owners will adopt this, car theft will become an unprofitable venture.
Then after the car track, a friend, Ismaila Zakari, told me about the laptop and phone tracking devices. I went on the Internet to search for them. Though there are many promising ones developed in the past two years or so, my checks show that they are still largely unknown here, except the Blackberry facility. Due to its excellent ratings and ease of use, I think Gadgettrak will be good. It costs $1.99.
Gadgettrak allows its user to know, through updates or query, at any time, the location of an iPad, for example, and even a picture of who is using it. It sends to its subscriber's email inbox the coordinates of the location and a link to Google Map that helps identify the coordinates easily. Users can downloaded the software from Apple Store. I has a provision for adding a facility that will include in the report a picture of the user - or the thief as the case may be - for a paltry sum of $0.99. Other details about services, registration and safety measures are available on the site of the company: www.gadgettrak.com.
I advise my readers to go for these things without delay, especially given the insecure nature of our environment. If I had this on my MacBook Air, I would have located it easily. Even now, it could be just some few meters from me. I would have just taken the report to the police, who would help in visiting the location and retrieving the MacBook in addition to arresting the thief.
But I must also hasten to warn that they could equally be dangerous. The people you share your car track number as backups, for example, can also know your location. You may not be able to lie to your parents or wife about that anymore. And since car track mostly involves using a SIM card from one of the local GSM operators, professionals can easily trace you.
For these reasons, if you have something to hide from some people, you need to escape this exposure by being clever when registering the gadget such that they encounter more difficulties when they try to trace you. You can create a dedicated email account, for example. If you have nothing not hide, then feel free.
Technology will never cease to fascinate me. I have always said it is our saviour. Yet, let us just remember that your phone, computer and all digital gadgets are identities that can easily be used to locate you. Kabiru Sokoto and Abu Qaqa have known this lesson now the hard way. The ATBU undergraduate chap who registered the Al-Mansoorah website through which Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the 2010 Christmas bombings in Jos was promptly traced and arrested with ease. His Facebook postings did not help matters either. Actually, it is not the informants that betray Boko Haram most, but the phones and computers the group often use in coordinating its activities. In the same vein, kidnapping could not go anywhere because in all cases it was easy to trace the location of the kidnappers.
That is why many of us do not believe that our government is putting enough effort in stopping crime and subversive activities in the country. These technologies - and even more sophisticated ones for surveillance and espionage that can be acquired by governments - are cheap, available in abundance and user friendly. But corruption or unpatriotic intentions of leaders are preventing our government from allowing the police to acquire them. Yet, I am optimistic that the government has to finally yield to their necessity.
I am waiting to see tracking chips implanted in cows, somewhere in their tissue, beyond the present detachable types that dangle on their ear. Wao! The Fulani will embrace that revolution wholeheartedly.
Also, the imperative of making the national identity cards project succeed will soon dawn on the Nigerian government. And I will not be surprised if the new one would carry a tracking chip. With the ever increasing security challenges, this is a temptation that government can hardly avoid contemplating, despite the serious challenges it will pose to our personal liberty. I doubt if we will welcome that.
Without waiting for the authorities, you can go ahead to help yourself now by googling your antitheft software. With less than N500, you can buy it, download it and enjoy the wonderful feeling of safety.
5 February 2015
A reader just asked how to acquire the software in Nigeria. Simple. I got mine within 10 minutes, with a card. This is how it goes.
To buy anything on the Internet, you need a card, Visa Card, for example, from your bank which you can use to purchase different things online. You use the same card for ATM and points of sale in Nigeria and overseas. It will require you to open a dollar account with a deposit at least $200.
Once you have that your pocket is the limit on what you can get online. You can open accounts with online shops like Amazon and iTunes. Once you want a software like Gadgettrak, all you need to do is to go to its website. There, it will lead you to iTunes store, for example, where you just click install on the icon of the software. It will seek a confirmation from you by asking your iTunes password and once you input the password correctly, behold, it will deduct the money from your account and start downloading into your computer instantly.
Better informed readers can make further clarifications below, please.