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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Adeona. "Toto, I don't thinkpad we're in Kansas anymore."

The other day I found a snazzy little software tool for tracking a stolen (or interesting) laptop. I usually don't care much about software anymore unless its open source and in this case it is, so guess what?...I care!

Adeona was written by a few students at the University of Washington, which also happens to be the birthplace of another of my favorite little apps, BitTyrant (incidentally both sponsored by one of the same professors there...Go Arvind!!!). It is a surprisingly simple concept for tracking the previous and current digital whereabouts of a roaming laptop.

Adeona does the usual in reporting IP addresses that have been used to connect to the Internet, but most notable is the fact that it stores all data in the OpenDHT network. Basically, this is a massively distributed online storage system that can be written to over Sun RPC or XML RPC, without the use of a specialize DHT client or an access account. What that means essentially, is that access to the OpenDHT system can be fully anonymous. On top of that, Adeona encrypts all data that is stored inside OpenDHT, so that only the cryptographic credentials provided when setting it up can be used to read the data it stores.

I found the service remarkably simple to setup on my Ubuntu Hoardy install. As mentioned here in the Linux install guide, I just had to untar the source code and compile it. I also had to install the libssl-dev package (OpenSSL development), but this was also indicated in the install procedures. Overall it took less than 5 minutes to get up and running. I then emailed myself a copy of the access credentials and we were off to the races.

I was interested to see what was being reported back by the system and how easy it was to retrieve, so I executed the following command as indicated in the documentation, and here are the results (I have removed my actual external IP. Yea I know the rest are there, but if you really wanted to know where I live, I'd probably tell you if you asked.):

compy:~$ /usr/local/adeona/adeona-retrieve.exe -r /usr/local/adeona/resources/ -l /home/bott/downloads/adeona/results/ -s /usr/local/adeona/adeona-retrievecredentials.ost -n 1
Please enter password for Adeona:
* These results are for informational, research and evaluation purposes only. *
* Do not attempt to recover your lost or stolen laptop yourself. *
* If you believe your laptop has been stolen, contact the appropriate *
* law enforcement agency. *

Searching for most recent 1 update(s) in time period [ 07/18/2008,22:54 (MDT) - NOW ]

Connecting to remote storage server...
Trying server 1...please be patient
Succesfully connected to remote storage server

Checking update scheduled on 07/20/2008,22:39 (MDT)
Succesfully retrieved update replica 0
Retrieved location information:
update time: 07/20/2008,22:39 (MDT)
internal ip:
external ip: *.*.*.*
access point: DAYS_INN
Nearby routers:
1 0.902ms (could not resolve)
2 12.265ms (
3 12.420ms (
4 12.701ms (
5 12.924ms (
6 13.191ms (
7 25.332ms (
8 25.964ms (
9 26.452ms (
10 87.022ms (
11 163.948ms (
12 177.269ms (
13 200.930ms (
14 200.401ms (
15 201.348ms (
16 202.461ms (
17 203.195ms (
18 193.745ms (

What I did find interesting about the results was the DAYS_INN access point registering in the system. I rarely use my wireless and I guess the last time I did was at a Days Inn a couple months ago when I was out of town for a wedding. Although, to be honest, as much family as we have had over this summer, its kinda starting to feel like one around here too... At any rate, I give Adeona a double thumbs up. Definitely one of the cooler utils I've seen in a while. Although it occurred to me just now that as secure as my password is, the dumbest of criminals may never find their way online with it anyhow. Oh well.

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Blogger gustavolk-swagen said...

I like that your command line is "compy". It reminds me of Strongbad Emails. Yay for Strongbad!!!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Bryce said...

True dat! Strongbad got me through many a late night of project coding in college :). Seems it has rubbed off on me.

12:05 PM  
Blogger wsxwhx701 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

4:23 AM  

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