New Mac Tracking, iPhone Smartcard Debut at MacWorld

Orbicule launched version 3.0 of Undercover, its theft tracking system for the Mac platform. The system features a new ability to connect with Skyhook, a geographical positioning system network that uses triangulation between participating WiFi access points as a means of locating computers.

Skyhook is the network used by Apple for its iPhone GPS. Orbicule's creative engineer Peter Schols explained that Skyhook would allow a stolen unit to be located to within 20 metres in a suitably-covered Skyhook area.

When installed on a Mac, Undercover 3.0 checks in with the Orbicule server using a unique ID code. When the machine has been stolen, the user informs Orbicule, which then flags the fact on the server. When the machine checks in and finds that it has been stolen, it sends its location to Orbicule, along with pictures taken using the built-in iSight camera.

It also takes regular snapshots of the machine's screen to pick up information that might help lead law enforcers to the thief.

If the machine is unable to connect to the Internet, there are other options. The software simulates a hardware failure by making the screen go darker until it eventually stops displaying anything, in the hope that the thief will take it into a service center.

When it detects that it is connected to a new network, it flashes an alert message, hoping to catch a technician's eye.

The software sells for $50, and is available as a one-off purchase. No subscription is required.
Charismathics also launched iEnigma, a PKI client for the iPhone that enables it to be used as a two-factor authentication device.

The software, which will be available in the first quarter for $9.95 per user, communicates with the German company's back-end PKI system and downloads a PKI certificate than can then be used to authenticate with a PC or Mac, enabling the user to gain access to corporate resources. It essentially turns the iPhone into a smart card, said CEO Sven Gobel.

Apple contented itself with updates to its iPhoto and iWork product lines, along with the launch of a refreshed 17in MacBook Pro with a non-removable battery.

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