The software called “PC Phonehome”, fashioned after the loveable ET, is the brainchild of a New York-based company Codex Data Systems.
Launched in Sydney at Internet World today, the software teaches a stolen PC or laptop to call back to base once it's reconnected to the Internet.
The software claims to remain hidden to all known reformatting tricks.
Once it is rebooted, the software is triggered and a phone call is logged at Australian-based Web Internet Network Security (WINS) monitoring base and then passed on to the police for tracing. The police can trace the stolen computer’s location through the telephone number used.
According to WINS national director Les Ralph, “they then visit the owner of that telephone number--who is either the thief or the customer of the thief--and recover the equipment”.
The software can also be used as an asset management tool for large organisations, such as government departments, to keep track of thousands of computers on their inventories.
The software will retail in Australia for AU$100 (US$52).
Ralph claims it has the potential to save insurance companies millions in recovered PCs and laptops.