I have to be able to wipe a stolen laptop remotely (contractual obligation), and the only product I found that supports that on Ubuntu is Prey Project. (Also appears in some other stack exchange questions, e.g. this.)
However, besides the wiping feature having a moderate price, it seems to me that by just installing SSH to remotely log-in if needed (and do the wiping myself), I get a result which is at least as good, both "feature-wise" and "risk-wise". So the only advantage would be some convenience.
Same feature-wise: Well, if I can ssh into the laptop and know my root password, I can certainly wipe everything. (Or, if the attacker is so smart as to change the root password, he could then also disable Prey.) (Although I'm only interested in wiping, I guess this is more or less true for all the other features of Prey: if I log in as root, I can surely block the screen, sound the alarm, show random messages, or transfer files. Of course this would require a bit more work in some cases.) And, most important, both need an internet connection for work. (So if laptop is not turned on and connected to the internet, then they can't do anything.)
Same risk-wise: I did not find a description of what Prey does on its site, however, in this answer they state that it "pings regularly a server owned by prey". And the answer also states, that is is open source, and thus probably does not steal any data, or do "weird things" on the machine, but I think this could still be a risk. In contrast, the risk of opening an SSH port could be that someone finds a way to hack in and steal data or do other "weird things". That is indeed less likely with Prey, since it is pinging out, so does not need to open any ports on the host. However, one could still somehow gain access to Prey, and use it to steal files or wipe data. (And as said before, Prey could do it itself as well.) Therefore, I consider the two to be equal in terms of additional risks as well.
Question: is the above reasoning and conclusion correct, or am I missing something? In other words, does Prey provide more either feature-wise (can I do something with Prey that I can't do with SSH), or risk-wise (does using Prey have less extra risks than opening an SSH port)?
P.S.: Since the wiping, as I said, is mandated, please don't focus on whether this is a good practice or not (or alternatives, like "you should encrypt instead, and then wiping is not necessary" are also out of scope). However, in case there are any other products/solutions to do the wiping, that would also be interesting.