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Man Uses Remote Logon To Help Find Laptop Thief

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the cyber-bloodhound dept.

Technology 251

After his computer was stolen, Jose Caceres used a remote access program to log on every day and watch it being used. The laptop was stolen on Sept. 4, when he left it on top of his car while carrying other things into his home. "It was kind of frustrating because he was mostly using it to watch porn," Caceres said. "I couldn't get any information about him." Last week the thief messed up and registered on a web site with his name and address. Jose alerted the police, who arrested a suspect a few hours later. The moral of the story: never go to a porn site where you have to register.

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Makes sense (5, Funny)

Kr4u53 (955252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229265)

What else would someone use a stolen laptop for?

Re:Makes sense (5, Funny)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229285)

What else would someone use a laptop for, period?

Re:Makes sense (4, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229427)

What else would someone use a laptop for, period?

Laptops get in the way...

Re:Makes sense (0, Redundant)

Worthless_Comments (987427) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229561)

What else would someone use a computer for, period?

Didn't you want to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229887)

What else would someone use a laptop for, period with a squiggly thingy over it?

Re:Makes sense (0, Flamebait)

arrenlex (994824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229315)

Whacking the guy you stole it from over the head with it to stop him being a crybaby about it.

Re:Makes sense (5, Insightful)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229375)

Note to self: Remove remote access after stealing laptop!!!!

Re:Makes sense (5, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229449)

If not reformat completely.

Not all reformats help (4, Interesting)

apankrat (314147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229801)

Q. Can ComputracePlus be detected?

A. .. snip .. The Agent can survive a hard drive re-format, F-disk command and hard drive re-partitioning.

http://www.absolute.com/computraceplus/faqs.asp [absolute.com]

Re:Not all reformats help (4, Insightful)

setagllib (753300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229841)

Let's see it survive a Linux LiveCD.

Re:Not all reformats help (2, Interesting)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230075)

The same page say something like...

The Computrace Agent communicates with modems through the Microsoft TAPI interface.

So, probably it works only if you reinstall Windows (though I would love to know how do they do it).

I would doubt if it survives after booting Livecd, make hard disk complete ext3fs, and then reinstall Windows.

Re:Not all reformats help (3, Insightful)

lhaeh (463179) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229859)

I always found this hard to believe, someone wanna explain how that would work without custom hardware.Do they assume the bootloader will be left behind?

Re:Not all reformats help (2, Informative)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230037)

I'm not entirely sure, in general. Some laptops (including mine) have part of CompuTrace built into the BIOS, so it can persist across hard drive reformats and replacements. I have no idea how it actually manages to integrate with the newly installed OS and access the internet to continue tracking the computer after a hard drive replacement, though. http://www.absolute.com/products-bios-enabled-computers.asp [absolute.com] I discovered this by accident a few months ago when I was looking at a hex dump of my BIOS for fun and was quite surprised to see a "CompuTrace" message in there.

Re:Not all reformats help (2, Insightful)

deek (22697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230065)

Well, I don't know precisely how it works, but the bootloader is the only possible way it could survive a repartition. The code is definitely stored on the hard drive, as the FAQ mentions.

Re:Not all reformats help (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25230109)

An Option ROM is loaded into the BIOS that checks for the existence of the application. I can attest to the fact that it does get reinstalled and installed on a new Windows OS even if a different drive is used. This can be removed, however, with some BIOS editing apps.

We had a user's laptop stolen from an airport security check with Computrace installed fairly recently. The problem is that Absolute Software claim the system is out of their jurisdiction and, once reported stolen, you cannot see the IP address that a system reports in. This leaves no way to verify that the system isn't actually being used at your local Starbucks. Even though we're out of an investment, we can still see username changes as the tool continues to report in. It is like someone stealing your car and driving it by your house at 8PM each night. It's pretty frustrating to know that we have serial numbers associated to every component and have a 3 year warranty only to be told that "we'll let you know if something comes up".

Re:Not all reformats help (1)

ghostdancer (72944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229899)

Let me guess, you never play Linux before?

Re:Not all reformats help (1)

xous (1009057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230043)

Q. Can ComputracePlus be detected?
A. On most PCs, the Computrace Agent, which powers ComputracePlus, is silent and invisible and will not be detected by looking at the disk directory or running a utility that examines RAM. On many PCs â€" depending on their operating system â€" the Agent cannot be erased off the hard drive by deleting files because it is not visible in file directories. The Agent can survive a hard drive re-format, F-disk command and hard drive re-partitioning. The Agent can be removed by an authorized user with the correct password and installation software.

[b]On a Mac system, it is very difficult for a standard user to deliberately or accidentally delete the Agent as the files cannot be deleted by anyone other than the root user.[/b]

I call bullshit.

Re:Makes sense (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229693)

Note to self: Post Anonymously when detailing sinister plans!!!!

The moral of the story (5, Informative)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229273)

Never leave your laptop on top of your car when carrying other things home!

What, did you think this thing was portable?

Re:The moral of the story (1)

icj (852635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229401)

OR: Dont steal laptops no matter how easy it may be. Its still against the law.

Re:The moral of the story (0, Offtopic)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229533)

I hate being modded Insightful on Idle ;) Gives me bad Karma.. at least I live in Katmandu.

This is not the first... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229297)

This is hardly the first time this has ever happened.

Why is this on slashdot?

Heck there are even better stories of this, such as a woman who used the laptop's webcam to ! [boingboing.net]

Re:This is not the first... (5, Funny)

shbazjinkens (776313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229345)

This is hardly the first time this has ever happened. Why is this on slashdot? Heck there are even better stories of this, such as a woman who used the laptop's webcam to !

I wonder why he didn't just tap into the webcam on his computer while the perpetrator was... oh wait.

Re:This is not the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229903)

Are you kidding? Face-recognition software could just be...modified to identify other prominent parts of his anatomy. God help whoever has to make the database, however.

Re:This is not the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229531)

This is hardly the first time this has ever happened.

Why is this on slashdot?

It's under Idle, dumbass. "Idle" means "no fucking news today." :-P

Pft (5, Funny)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229321)

Talk about getting caught with your dick in your hand...

What remote access technology? (5, Interesting)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229325)

How could be this done? How could he connect to his laptop without knowing the IP address?

I use remote access, but I have to type in the IP address to connect. How could he knew the I address?

I read this story several times but nowhere the software name is mentioned.

Re:What remote access technology? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229355)

He was probably running a dynamic DNS client.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

primefalcon (1367925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229359)

hmmm interesting that the idiot didn't format it either or at least disable the guys account

Re:What remote access technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229549)

Not really, your average laptop thief doesn't have an IT background.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229743)

Sure they do, or they know someone who does, it's just that those thieves never get caught... It's only the extremely incompetent ones, as described in this story who get caught... It sounds like he was just an opportunist who found an easy target.

Any slightly more competent thief will research the crime he intends to commit, like a car thief will look into how to gain access to the types of car he wants to target, how to disable any alarm or immobiliser, how to bypass the radio code etc.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

andy.ruddock (821066) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229367)

Maybe he has the thing using a dynamic dns service.

Re:What remote access technology? (5, Informative)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229369)

Prob running something like dyndns or something that would automatically notify the server of the ip address when online, so he simply had to use his registered dyndns name.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

porkUpine (623110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229413)

I'm with you.. "Remote Access Software" means nothing to me... Does any one have any specifics?

Re:What remote access technology? (1, Interesting)

ZeroNullVoid (886675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229421)

H to the A to da M to de A to uh um for the C H I.

The Buri is the Japanese Yellow tail.
A fine sushi.

Re:What remote access technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229623)

Not slashvertisement, but just use gotomypc. You dont need an ip address. Everytime the server machine gets up it registers with the gotomypc server and you can log in to it.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

mbeans (1082073) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229707)

I've used that at work, it's really nice if you need to be able to log in from any random internet-connected pc.

However, if you don't need that, I'd suggest you save your money and just use dyndns + ssh tunnel + rdp/vnc.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

frost506 (1348383) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229667)

Max_W Try www.logmein.com that might do it for you.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229819)

If he used a dynamic DNS and had a task or cron job to update the DNS entry with every change in IP, it would have been simple.

LK

Re:What remote access technology? (4, Informative)

Schemat1c (464768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229827)

How could be this done? How could he connect to his laptop without knowing the IP address?

One word, DynDNS.

Re:What remote access technology? (2, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229861)

Several remote access apps have an option to notify via email when your IP address changes.

Re:What remote access technology? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229905)

How could be this done? How could he connect to his laptop without knowing the IP address?

Odds are pretty good we're talking about a dynamic dns client. I know I install one on laptops for the purpose of remote login.

Even if not a dynamic DNS client, then the gent might have his e-mail being checked on his own domain. If not his own, then he "could" get this information from his mail provider. There is so much software being run the demands updates it's impossible to tell from the story how the person was able to narrow down the IP address.

But regardless once you narrow down which ISP the thief was using, one could easily scan the netblock for all addressing running a given service. Even for something like port 23, often you can narrow it down to a few machines.

which program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229329)

i was wondering which program could he have used to view activities in a way which didnt interfere with thief's activities? any clues
also did he not have a password or was the thief easily able to crack it?

Re:which program (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229709)

Most remote desktop programs have an observe-only mode (alternately, just don't move the mouse or type), and it's not likely that many thieves would realize what's stealing their bandwidth.

He probably didn't have a login password or set his system to auto log-in. It's pretty typical for home users.

sintacto (1)

sintacto (1373853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229353)

you know that laptop is all sticky!

I'm surprised that the thief was so dumb. (1)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229377)

Whatever happened to reformatting?

Re:I'm surprised that the thief was so dumb. (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229429)

hehe. surprised that thieves are dumb? who would have thought that thieves are fucking idiots.

They want easy (4, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229763)

Yeah. Thieves who steal laptops want _easy_.

If they didn't mind hard they'd have got a job or started their own companies, or stolen something more challenging and rewarding ;).

So what you do on your laptop is to create an account specially for thieves to use. Call it Honey if you like - with no password, or the password hint = instructions on how to get in.

Then your own account has a password, to keep the thief out, from deleting your encrypted stuff etc.

This way when the thief steals the laptop, they turn it on, click on "Your Account", get password prompt, click on Honey, get in straight - whoopee.

Immediately the stuff is launched to log data about the thief and his surroundings - webcam, microphone set to record, and then the data is uploaded.

Re:I'm surprised that the thief was so dumb. (3, Insightful)

darkonc (47285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229487)

We're talking about a thief here -- and a thief of opportunity, at that. This is no braniac master-criminal. They guy probably didn't know enough to create a new account, much less reformat the machine. Hell, even slightly above-average users might have a problem with that idea.

I've seen a thief who was so stupid, that he stole a kid's bike from (directly!) across the back alley, and then left the stolen bike by the back door.
He was, apparently, both surprised and indignant when the father of the child whose bike was stolen came over for a visit.... wielding a baseball bat.

You think you've seen stupid? (3, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229579)

In nearby Oroville, CA, a thief robbed a bank at gunpoint, took off with several thousand dollars in cash, and then returned later in the day - to the same bank - to deposit the cash into his own bank account.

no, I'm not kidding.

(And this text box for idle just teh suxorz)

Re:You think you've seen stupid? (1)

Pax00 (266436) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229689)

nearby oroville? are you in chico?

yeah.. I think I remember hearing about that one.. at least they didn't have to take him that far to lock him up... hehe

Re:I'm surprised that the thief was so dumb. (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229729)

This is no braniac master-criminal

It sounds like the owner of the laptop was no genius either.

Re:I'm surprised that the thief was so dumb. (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229735)

really? Okay, first someone that steals a laptop off someone's car roof isn't a professional laptop thief. Those people are at the airport. Second, there might be data on there for banking and credit cards and stuff or blackmail or more downloaded porn lol. And thirdly, you never know how many activations of XP are left and most laptops these days need a screwy, dumbed down restore disk and the license key literally won't work with a standard install disk. I heard Dell is at least like that.

Re:I'm surprised that the thief was so dumb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229959)

not true on any of the 5-6 models i deal with

If it was a mac... (1)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229385)

then by using the "Back to my mac" feature it's possible to log into other Macs that are logged into your ".me" account. http://images.apple.com/mobileme/docs/L358808A_BackMac_UG_070708.pdf [apple.com]

Re:If it was a mac... (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229737)

Which, for the record, is just a flaky version* of DynDNS + VNC (specifying the vnc:// protocol in the OS X Connect To Server dialog box uses the same built-in "Screen Sharing" client). You do have to explicitly turn on Back To My Mac access in System Prefs though, it's not automatic.

*Typically the router's fault, but opening the ports manually always works better than UPNP/NAT-PMP anyways.

Plans within plans? (2, Interesting)

TiberSeptm (889423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229431)

Doesn't this mean that the guy who had his laptop stolen also didn't bother to set a login or boot password? One might argue that he deduced that a boot password or login password might just get his drive wiped by a clever thief. He may have even st up the remote access partly to act as a way to catch thieves and get it back if it was ever lost. He could have even used fairly strong encrpytion to protect most of his data. Of course anyone arguing for the assumption that his sercurity plans were a series of complex plans within plans must have missed the part where he left it on and in his unlocked car.

Perv who lost his laptop... (1, Troll)

ZeroNullVoid (886675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229457)

Was the person whose laptop was stolen jacking it while watching a live webcam feed of the dude who stole his laptop for porn usage?

Re:Perv who lost his laptop... (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229469)

only you can answer that, Jose :)

Re:Perv who lost his laptop... (1)

ZeroNullVoid (886675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229495)

shhh..

Re:Perv who lost his laptop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25230101)

Shame he didn't activate the WebCam like that other one did and capture him in the act, hehe

"Bring my laptop back you bastard or I'll put you all over the Internet wacking off! oh and give me all your money too."

automatic login? (1)

orthod0x (938547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229459)

I don't get it... if my laptop were stolen the thief wouldn't be able to login without my credentials. They'd have to reinstall the OS which would erase any remote connectivity function.

Re:automatic login? (1)

ZeroNullVoid (886675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229477)

um, on what world?

Most OS's passwords are easily bypassed.



Single user mode and bootcd's.

I doubt you even lock your harddisk with that comment.

Re:automatic login? (1)

orthod0x (938547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229583)

True... but does the perpetrator sound like someone with that sort of competency? No. If he did he'd probably have the sense to see if the machine was phoning home. I doubt he hacked into this guys account so he could download porn all day.

Re:automatic login? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229723)

They'll get it reformatted or get someone to.

What this might mean is if you set a password you are less likely to recover your computer from the typical idiot thief.

Perhaps what you could do is create a special account and provide an obvious password hint.

This way the thief might not be able to get into your normal account, but if he figures out he can easily get into the Thief account (which is clearly visible in the Logon screen - and probably not called thief ;) ), he uses that instead.

You set the Thief account up to make it easier to catch the thief, gather evidence and also reduce the exposure of your personal data (harder to delete your encrypted partition).

Who is more clever (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229581)

I don't get it... if my laptop were stolen the thief wouldn't be able to login without my credentials. They'd have to reinstall the OS which would erase any remote connectivity function.

So in other words, you are admitting that if your laptop gets stolen you are never seeing it again, vs. this guy who got his back and got a thief arrested.

Yours is a better plan why again? If you go to that effort, why not focus instead on encrypting key files instead of locking down a system to which a thief has physical access?

Re:Who is more clever (1)

piquadratCH (749309) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230007)

Yours is a better plan why again? If you go to that effort, why not focus instead on encrypting key files instead of locking down a system to which a thief has physical access?

I don't know about you, but I would prefer not getting my laptop back over some idiot looking through all my private stuff and posting the funny bits to youtube any day.

Encrypting only important files sounds nice in theory, but in practice you have the swap file, you have temporary directories and all kinds of other holes where your private files can slip through your encryption scheme. If you want encryption, do it over the whole disk.

Re:automatic login? (2, Insightful)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229621)

So the moral of the story is to not have passwords or you won't get your computer back.

Re:automatic login? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229635)

>if my laptop were stolen the thief wouldn't be able to login without my credentials

Yeah buddy, keep telling yourself that...

Windows
1. Use ophcrack [sourceforge.net]
2. There is no 2

Linux
if Ubuntu, see OS X below; otherwise,
1. Insert live CD
2. chroot
3. passwd

OS X
1. Boot in single-user mode, it drops you at a root prompt
2. passwd

 

Local access + unencrypted disk = you're fucked.

Re:automatic login? (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229835)

I agree that having physical access to the disk allows anyone to read it, and that sensitive data should be encrypted. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth making things complicated. Set good passwords. Use BIOS/OpenFirmware/other pre-boot environment passwords to prevent non-standard booting. Lock/screw the case closed.

Now instead of having instant, one-click access they need a password for the OS, a password for the pre-boot environment, or to physically open the case (bypassing any locks the case may include). Can they still get at the data on your hard drive -- yes. Can they still do it in under 2 minutes -- no. It may not be an important difference for a stolen laptop, but for an unattended visitor at the receptionist's desk, adding 90 seconds to the compromise time can be a big security gain.

Re:automatic login? (1)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230061)

Here's a hint - have a guest account listed with the password in the description of the account. Make it non-admin/root (no user should have that access anyway, you're just asking for trouble).

Physical security is really everything anyway.

If someone steals my laptop, I want them to log in as my guest user. My PC is going to phone home and let me catch the thief.

Hey, that guy in the ski mask! (4, Funny)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229461)

CmdrTaco? Is that you?

prison cam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229481)

strangely the porn he was watching was a gay s+m site: prisonlove

which remote access program (1)

microhard_googler (1376563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229503)

how was he able to monitor activities without interfering in the thief's activities

Re:which remote access program (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229551)

log into VNC, don't touch the mouse

Re:which remote access program (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230055)

Actually, most VNC programs will allow you to disable sending mouse events.

Actually.. (1)

10bellies (978724) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229505)

The moral of the story is "Don't register for porn using your real details"

TISM! (5, Funny)

Director of Acronyms (232303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229509)

For those in Australia : looks like his laptop was stolen by TISM. Especially considering the lyrics to this TISM song :

http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/t/tism10923/beencaughtwankin434144.html [stlyrics.com]

Re:TISM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229821)

"No animal cruelty" they're likely to brag
But later they'll put a fish up some slag

Citation required. With pictures please.

So frustrated.. (4, Funny)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229513)

Yeah, it must have been sooooo frustrating to have to sit there and watch that porn. Poor bastard!

article icon (2, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229595)

They did a poor job of airbrushing the apple off the back of that macbook.

Why not just use the WAN IP? (2, Insightful)

Rick Bentley (988595) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229637)

Wait, shouldn't it go like this:

1) get WAN IP of computer being used at thief's house(e.g. 66.245.54.53)
2) do reverse DNS IP lookup, see that it belongs to Earthlink or whatever ISP
3a) if it's a fixed IP then we're done, have the Police ask the ISP to whom they assigned the IP (or get a warrant if we're good monkeys)
3b) if it's a dynamic IP then the ISP has to check their logs to see to whom they gave the IP at the time, but they should have that
4) Police show up at the door as above.

Why do you need to be able to remote login and wait for the thief to type his address? I guess the webcam could be useful because you can get a picture of the guy actually using it (instead of the police showing up and the guy saying "I have an open wifi access point, so the real thief must have logged onto my router, which has no logging enabled, w/o my knowledge with the stolen laptop"). But, seriously, shouldn't the WAN IP be enough?

Re:Why not just use the WAN IP? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229671)

Because both 3a and 3b require the cops to bestir themselves a lot more than giving them a picture of the guy so their computer can just do a matching on the database of prior-record thefts. You have to make it as easy as possible for them to track down the bad guys unless you have an angry investigative reporter or DA on your side. Which stolen laptop cases usually do not.

It is not a trivial task. (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229645)

Does anyone knows a software to do such a task?

I administer the PC of my father-in-law, who is almost 80 years. From time to time he does a mess with his PC, because he cannot understand why the icons disappear from the screen (unused icons feature and the likes). He thinks that they should be stable like buttons and dials on a good old phone.

Trying to "repair" his desktop he creates a mess. But since he communicates via this PC, via Skype, with his daughter, I have to keep this PC serviceable.

Anyway, he has got the DHCP ADSL modem, his PC is behind this modem.

All I want is to be able to have a look at his screen. It would be good to be able to administer too.

ISP provider makes it impossible to reach the ADSL modem by IP address. But there should be a software which sends me like an e-mail the screeenshots.

I can install and setup this program on his PC. No problem. But does such program exist?

I mean a program for administration without good solid visible IP addresses? We can exchange e-mails, Skype, but why I cannot administer a PC without IP address?

It would be better if this is an open source free software, as I would not pay just to see that it does not work in this situation either.

Re:It is not a trivial task. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229739)

Not to advertise, but try www.logmein.com, its free, and the you can log in to the computer as if you where sitting in front of it.

Re:It is not a trivial task. (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229885)

I tried logmein. It works fine.

It was so simple after all (I can imagine how much work it was for the developers). Thanks.

Re:It is not a trivial task. (1)

guardiangod (880192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229845)

A DDNS service (I use no-ip) and TigerVNC should do the trick.

Install the IP monitor software provided by your DDNS provider, and you are done.

The only short-coming is you cannot remotely turn on the computer unless you spend thousands on IP KVM+power equipments.

Re:It is not a trivial task. (1)

SpeedyG5 (762403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229891)

Pretty easy to script this, its been done and done. Well on the mac laptops anyway since they come with a cam built in. See this process: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20080824185920426&query=laptop%2Bstolen [macosxhints.com] Course it could be used unscrupulously as well, but if your in charge of the server and the machine, its as secure as you are. I use it, though I modified mine to do a little more, what not.

seriously? (1)

keiofh (1223410) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229651)

the moral of the story is to be a better thief. just do a clean reinstall and no problem at all.

Incompetent thief... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229715)

Chances are this guy was just a casual thief who got lucky seeing an unattended laptop...
Either that, or he bought the laptop from the real thief.

There are people who regularly steal laptops, and most of them either sell the machine on immediately without using it, or they wipe the machine first and then sell it on with a clean install. Anyone so incompetent as to steal the machine, and then go on to actually use it online without erasing any of the data won't have a very long career of stealing laptops.

Nice image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25229753)

Guy should have used HeatSeek ( http://www.heatseek.com/ [heatseek.com] ) Btw -- Nice image for the article... same as: http://affiliates.heatseek.com/ [heatseek.com]

Thief changed hostname to beatbox01 (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229761)

Couldn't help myself.

Does he really wanna have his laptop back (2, Funny)

bjoeg (629707) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229769)

The ending of the story is missing.

"After police got hold of the thief and the laptop. Jose Caceres now has his laptop back at home..........with sticky buttons."

It's obvious he's a thief (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229871)

Why else a light-coloured tie on a dark shirt?

This hits close to home.. (1)

Christophotron (812632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25229941)

I recently had something like this happen to me, except quite a bit worse.. While I was at work in the mid-afternoon, someone pryed open the door to my apartment, breaking out the doorframe out around the deadbolt. They grabbed my laptop bag with lots of goodies inside, and another bag containing a Wii, PSP, Nintendo DS, etc. Police came but did not dust for fingerprints or anything. An investigator was assigned to my case but he said he had 70 other cases to investigate. Three days later, the entire town I live in was flooded with several feet of water from hurricane Ike. My second-flood apartment survived (luckily), but unfortunately the police station did not. My stuff's either flooded or long gone, and no one is going to find it. Basically, I am screwed.

I really wish I had the foresight to install this kind of software on my laptop. Might have helped...

Re:This hits close to home.. (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230035)

Three days later, the entire town I live in was flooded with several feet of water from hurricane Ike.

I really wish I had the foresight to install this kind of software on my laptop. Might have helped...

I think protection from hurricanes is beyond its capabilities.

watching pron all day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25230019)

I'm not sure I'd want it back...

which IP address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25230033)

How did he know which IP the thief was using? How could he log on?

Re:which IP address? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25230105)

Perhaps he knew what his MAC address in the built in ethernet device was. Granted, this would only work if the crook was not behind a NAT firewall, (which makes him double moronic, but I digress) since then the perp could be tracked using an ARP query search method to see what the IP address of that physical device was, by probing all the local ISP networks. A real pain in the butt to have to do, but it COULD be used to track down an unknown IP address for a KNOWN piece of hardware. This method would fail behind NAT routers however, because the exposed MAC address would be that of the perp's router, which would not be knowable by the person trying to track down the stolen laptop.
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