How can we help you?
Top questions and answers
What do you mean by activation SMS? How do I run Prey on my Android phone?
The activation SMS is the SMS message you need to send — containing the activation phrase — to your Android phone’s number from another phone. Once your Android phone receives an SMS containing the phrase, Prey will wake up and start sending its location, as long as you’ve enabled the Geo module. By default the activation phrase is GO PREY (in full caps), but you can change by clicking on the Prey icon in your phone.
So no SMS activation on iPhones?
No, sorry. iOS doesn’t let apps parse incoming messages.
I installed Prey but I can’t find any icon to launch it. Is something wrong?
The reason you’re not seeing anything is because Prey is made that way, so that the thief won’t be able to detect it. The best way to check if everything is fine is to log into your Control Panel (through the link sent to your email) and make sure your device’s status is OK. You can also mark it as missing and enable some of the report modules to see how it will work in real action. Once you get a report, you can safely delete it and set back the status from missing to OK.
My computer/phone just disappeared! What should I do now?
Holy shmoly! You should immediately tell Prey so that you start getting the reports. This is done either by marking your device as missing in the Control Panel, sending the activation SMS (if it’s a phone) or by deleting the generated URL by hand, in case you’re using Prey in standalone mode.
Ok, I know where the thief is and what he looks like. What should I do now?
Good question. If you know the guy, you could try contacting him by yourself and reclaim what is yours. Otherwise, probably the best idea is to contact the Police and give them as much information as you can. If they do recover your computer they’ll probably ask for its serial number or UUID, so if you don’t have that information you should request a hardware scan from Prey through the Control Panel.
My computer/phone was stolen but Prey wasn’t installed on it. Is there something I can do?
Not much, since you must install Prey before the actual theft takes place. If Prey isn’t installed (or if it wasn’t correctly set up) there’s no way we can track your device to see where it is. Sorry!
I marked my device as missing but nothing arrives. What’s wrong?
There’s a number of reason why this may be happenning, but the most probable is a connection issue (firewall, proxy). Please take a look at our Knowledge Base for more information. You should also check out the community forum if you’re still having problems.
What does reports per device mean?
Reports per device is the maximum number of reports that can be stored for each of your devices on the Control Panel. Whenever you activate Prey, you will begin to receive reports with all the information you request (such as the screenshot, webcam picture, geolocation, etc). Free accounts can store up to 10 reports per device, which means that when the eleventh arrives, the oldest one will be deleted since the maximum capacity has been reached.
The Windows installer has a virus! What the ****?
First of all, relax — it’s not a virus. It’s just a false positive and it’s actually not that uncommon.
Prey uses AutoHotkey (AHK) scripts for some of the stuff in Windows (i.e. cron.exe and the Lock module), and it so happens that some antivirus softwares don’t like AHK too much. You can add an exception on your antivirus or you can also let the files be quarantined, however in that case some stuff may not work. Please let us know if you get a false positive so we can get in contact with the antivirus vendor and get those files whitelisted.
Will Prey spy on me?
No sire. As long as you don’t send the activation signal to your PC or phone, Prey will calmly sleep without doing a thing. And when you do, it will only gather the information you request and send it to your inbox or Control Panel account (depending on the chosen reporting method). No information is gathered without your consent.
Does (or will) Prey include a keylogger?
That’s a big NO. If you want to install a keylogger on your PC you can always search Google.
What about my privacy? What do you guys do with my data?
Nothing — trust us. And even if you don’t, you can check the source code and make sure that Prey is doing nothing weird in your computer. The info is gathered and the report gets sent directly to its destination.
Now if you’re using the Control Panel you must know that your device’s reports are accessible to you and you only. Not even we can access the reports since each device gets its own unique key which only you have access to. You can also safely delete any reports you want from your devices, no evidence left.
What about running Prey on a device someone else uses? Is that a violation of privacy?
Good question. First of all, if the device doesn’t belong to you, you should immediately remove Prey as that is not only a violation of privacy but also a violation of our Terms of Service. Now, if the device is indeed yours (i.e. company, school, university, etc) then the answer really depends on the privacy laws in your country.
However, we do have the ability to completely remove modules from being used on devices under an account. So if you’re concerned about privacy issues please contact us. We can permanently disable any module you want (i.e. the webcam module for taking pictures), so you can rest assured that you won’t get into any kind of trouble.
Where are the images stored?
We use Amazon’s S3 service as our storage backend. We don’t keep any images on our servers.
Do you keep backups of the data?
We do daily backups of the data, but not of the images contained in reports, as they are stored externally.
And what happens when a report is deleted?
All records are completely deleted and so are the files in S3. No evidence left.
And when I delete my account? Do you keep my user information?
No, we do exacly the same as with reports. We don’t mark your account as deleted, we simply wipe off all information.
How does the data travel from Prey to your servers?
On free accounts, over plain HTTP. On Pro accounts, through encrypted SSL.
And what about the other way around?
From version 0.5 on, the instruction set is sent in encrypted form (128 bit AES) through HTTP. This option is available to all users, both Free and Pro.
Do people read the data from the reports database? Do you make copies of the images?
No, we don’t, and there’s always only one copy of each image from each report, which is destroyed when the report is deleted.
Come on, are you saying you’ve never seen an image from any report?
Well, actually we have, but only the ones we’ve been sent by users of Prey, either to tell us they found their computer or to ask for help in tracing its location.
So you guys really care about privacy, eh?
That’s right, it’s our number one priority, and that’s exactly why we offer the Standalone option in Prey, so you can have complete control over your data.
Does Prey work in my country?
But of course it does. Prey works everywhere in the world. We still need to check if it works in outer space, but there’s a pretty good chance it does too.
Does it work for desktop computers as well as laptops?
Yes, Prey works just fine on laptops, desktops as well as tablet computers. Remember though that if the desktop PC doesn’t have wifi capabilities, Prey’s Geo module won’t be able to get a geolocation fix.
What mobile platforms are supported?
Currently, Android and iOS. We’re working on other platforms as well, but we can’t give you an ETA yet.
And what about Nokia/PSX/Refrigerators/Cars?
Same ol’, same ol’. Please be patient!
How much system memory does Prey use?
In Linux and Mac, Prey doesn’t use any memory-resident agents so the answer is zero, until the program is actually run. In Windows we do use an agent but it only requires around 5 megs of RAM.
I’m using another anti-theft application, can I use Prey too?
Yes, both applications are independent from one another so there shouldn’t be any problem. We recommend you test Prey to see if everything is working fine, and if it isn’t, then you may consider uninstalling the other one.
Can Prey be removed by a thief?
Not unless he has your administrative password.
And what if he formats the computer?
That’s a different story. We encourage you to add a BIOS password and disable booting from removable devices on your PC, so that the thief will be forced to boot into the previous installation and thus, not be able to format your hard disk easily.
If you have a Mac, there’s a firmware password utility on your Tiger/Leopard Mac OS installation DVD (look for it in in Applications/Utilities). On OSX Lion you’ll find the utility by booting from the recovery partition.
Will Prey still phone home if there’s no user logged in?
The answer is yes, since Prey runs in the background as the root (system) user.
Now, if there’s no active session then Prey won’t be able to obtain some information — e.g. a screenshot — so we recommend creating a dummy account with no admin privileges and no password, just to lure the thief in. On Windows you can do this through the Control Panel, or even through the Prey Configurator (in Settings).
Can Prey trace a computer connected via Ethernet instead of a Wifi network?
Yes, it will, since Prey only needs to get a list of the nearby wifi networks to get a location, it doesn’t really need that the PC is connected to any of those networks.
I use a dual-boot system. Do I need to create two separate devices on the Control Panel?
No, you don’t. In this case you should set the same Device key for both installations of Prey.
To do this, start by installing Prey on your first OS. Once you’re set, install it on the second OS by selecting the “Existing user” option. The installer will create a second device under your account. Delete it and copy the device key from the other device’s management page (the one created by the first install). Then you need to open up the config file on the second OS and replace the device_key for the one you just copied. That’s it. Now, when requesting reports or triggering actions, Prey will do its job regardless of the OS being run at that moment.
What’s the Check URL for? Do I need a hosting service to use Prey?
Not at all. First of all, you can manage Prey and your computer from a Control Panel, avoiding the need to generate/delete a URL by hand.
Now, if you want to run Prey in Standalone mode, you can use your current blog or any web site that you currently own. And if you don’t you can still use Prey normally, just dont put anything in the URL field during the configuration. The only difference is that the report will be sent each time Prey runs. That’s all.
The point of the URL is to have a system to alert Prey the moment your laptop actually disappears, so that before that the program doesn’t generate and send any reports. It’s really quite simple: if you have a blog in, suppose, myblog.com, you can set up your URL as http://myblog.com/stolen_laptop so whenever it “happens” you just log into the admin panel and delete the page with a slug of “stolen_laptop”, so that if you type in your browser that same URL you get a 404 Not Found message.
If you set up a URL in Prey’s configuration, Prey will wake up only if it gets a 404 Not Found response. Getting any other response (200 OK, 500 Error, etc) or no response at all will make it shut down. You can also change this behaviour by changing the missing_status_code value in the config file.
If you really think so then great! It means there’s work to be done. Please don’t miss the opportunity to share your opinion or ideas with us. There’s no single email we don’t respond to.
Thanks! That doesn’t look like a question though. :)