Thieves beware: CSUF provides anti-theft software
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 01:09
Don’t try to steal a Cal State Fullerton student’s laptop. It might scream at you.
On Aug. 27, CSUF announced that the university is now providing free anti-theft software that can be programmed to shout at a thief and track the device through Google Maps.
The software enables students to locate the device once it connects to a network and remotely control it to verbally shout a programmed text or voice message.
“As far as I can tell, we’re the first Cal State to offer this — along with [University of California, Los Angeles], [University of California, Berkeley] and Cornell University,” Terry Jarmon, assistant security manager for the Information Technology department at CSUF, said.
CSUF’s IT department said they are also currently working on reaching out to other campuses in the Cal State University system to jump on board.
“We want to let them know how viable this can be,” Jarmon said.
Jarmon said the idea first came about when a representative from Front Door Software contacted a captain from their police department.
“The information eventually got transferred to the vice president of our IT department and then went down to research,” Jarmon said. “We found the price to be very reasonable, so we decided to give it for free as a community service to give our students extra value.”
For the past two years, CSUF has been using a program called Computrace to protect state-issued computers, selling it to students at $40 per unit.
Instituting the free anti-theft software for students with Front Door Software only cost CSUF $4,000 for a license to activate up to 37,000 devices.
The CSULB IT department formally declined to release any information, but students on campus agree with the benefits such a program can bring.
“If you’re able to track the person who has your device and contact the authorities for help, I can definitely picture an increase in the turn out of returned devices,” Mark Mendoza, a freshman computer science major, said.
Layla Lyle, a junior English literature major, said the program could be a good line of defense against theft.
“As people find out that they can get tracked, they might think twice about taking things that aren’t theirs,” Lyle said.
Junior psychology major Harrison Tabata said there are other undeniable benefits.
“If someone really wanted to steal something, I don’t think it would prevent them from taking it, but the shouting message would help people feel guiltier about doing so,” Tabata said. “It would definitely remind them that somebody out there wants that device back.”