Digital tricks

Updated: Jul 1 2013, 00:25am hrs
Here are a couple of tips from among the 100 taken from ethical hacker Ankit Fadias new book on how to stretch the limits of emails, computers social networks, video sites and everything else digital

How to trace your lost or stolen laptop

If you are worried about losing your laptop or it getting stolen, it is time that you install a tracking software on it so that you can easily trace it back if it goes missing.

Prey is an open-source app that allows you to keep track of all your electronic devices (laptop, tablet and mobile phones). Once Prey has been installed on your laptop, it will silently run in the background and wait to receive a signal through the Internet from you. In case you have lost your laptop, you can log in to the web interface of Prey from anywhere in the world and send a signal to your laptop. Once the signal is received by the Prey software on your computer, it will allow you to perform the following actions, all remotely through the Internet and without physical access to your laptop:

1. Show the location of your device on a geographical map

2. Take a photo of the person using your device using the built-in camera

3. Lock down your computer, so that it cannot be used

4. Take a screenshot of your computer screen to find out more information about who is using your laptop. For example, you may be able to capture the email account or Facebook account that the user is logged into.

5. Set off a loud alarm on your missing laptop

6.Display an alert message on your laptop screen with the text of your choice

7. Erase all saved passwords and history from the browser on your missing device

After you have recorded the necessary information using Prey, you can try to find the missing laptop yourself or share this information with the police. It is important to note that you need to have installed Prey on your laptop before it goes missing. Download Prey on your laptop from and start the installation wizard. Make sure you select the Configure Prey Settings option in the last step. This will start the Prey Configurator wizard. Select the New user option and click Next to continue.

Enter your contact details and click on the Create button to create your Prey account and add your devices to it.

Log in to your email account to verify your identity by clicking on the link sent to you by the Prey Project.

Once you have verified your account, Prey will actively start tracking your laptop and allow you to trace it back in case it gets lost or stolen. You are now ready to log into your Web Control Panel to manage all the devices connected to your Prey account.

To manage the tracking settings related to a specific device, simply click on the device in the Prey Control Panel. This page will allow you specify what actions will be performed in case your device goes missing.

Make the applicable changes and click on the Save changes button.

In case your device goes missing, simply log in to the Prey Control Panel from their website, select your device and change its status from OK to MISSING. After a few minutes, you will receive a detailed report about your missing device via email from the Prey Project.

This report will contain a bunch of information related to your missing device. The actions that are performed and things that are included in the report will depend upon the settings you had previously chosen in the Control Panel.

Locate My Laptop ( is yet another website which allows you to remotely track your lost or stolen laptop. Moreover, it also allows you to remotely wipe all data from your missing laptop, if required.

Rewarding Return ( is a website that allows you to purchase labels that you can put behind your electronic devices (laptops, digital cameras and mobile phones), so that if someone returns your device, they can collect a reward for it.

Every label has a unique ID number and the contact details of the Rewarding Return company printed on it, so that anyone who finds your electronic device knows how to contact them to return it.

If someone finds your electronic device, they can go to or call them, quote the unique ID number and get rewarded for doing so. You can choose the reward amount initially when you purchase the Rewarding Return labels. In case you dont wish to give any cash reward, you can even choose to give free Rewarding Return labels to the finder. The Rewarding Return website will then arrange for your lost electronic device to be shipped back to you and will, on your behalf, reward the person who found it.

The limitation of the Rewarding Return website service is the fact that it depends entirely upon the goodness of the person who finds your device. This becomes especially limiting, since, on most occasions, the value of your missing device will usually be much higher than the value of the reward for returning it. Using these several laptop-tracking techniques, even if your laptop goes missing, you still have the hope that it can be tracked and be recovered.

How to make basic conversation in foreign languages using your mobile phone

Imagine that you are lost in a foreign country where no one speaks English and all attempts to communicate with the locals in broken English or exaggerated gestures also fail. Do not worryyou can communicate with non-English speakers with the help of Google Translate on your mobile phone.

Google Translate ( com) is a free app that translates text from one language to another and can also read it out aloud, using the built-in speaker on your phone. To use this app, open the browser on your phone or tablet to Google Translate and type in whatever text you wish to translate. You can type in English or in any other supported language.

From the drop-down list, select the language into which you wish to translate the input text and press the Go button.

Printed with permission from Penguin