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How To Catch a Laptop Thief?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the dirty-rat dept.

Security 485

First time accepted submitter otaku244 writes "I spent a day in Vancouver this week while working in Seattle. While I enjoyed the area, some Vancouver citizen decided to enjoy my Macbook Pro. Unfortunately, I didn't discover this until I was already back at my Seattle hotel. Needless to say, I am quite miffed at the whole experience. Fortunately, I have LogMeIn installed on that machine. I provided the IP address to the VPD, but they say that laws don't allow warrants solely on the physical address tied to an IP. It sounds like the silver bullet is to take a picture of the person using the laptop. The question becomes, how do I convince the guy to run a script that will take a picture of him and smtp it to me? I promise to post pics of the guy if this gets pulled off successfully!"

cancel ×

485 comments

Be Proactive (0)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731438)

Use a bungee chord to connect the laptop to your belt at all times. Problem solved.

Re:Be Proactive (0)

planimal (2454610) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731466)

i bet you wear a fanny pack, huh? i'm quite sick of this metrosexuality fad. you should just start going gay for coke, it's a much more believable argument. that or come out of the closet

Re:Be Proactive (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731544)

i bet you wear a fanny pack, huh? i'm quite sick of this metrosexuality fad.

Huh?

The majority of fanny packs I've seen (including mine) are holsters. I wasn't aware that carrying a Glock around was the new trendy fad.

Re:Be Proactive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731988)

I think he was addressing his hatred towards the anti-basement dwellers types who actually bed women. The term "metrosexual" (AKA guys who practice good personal hygiene) was popularized by filthy, shower-a-month, neckbeards.

Re:Be Proactive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731588)

he is already using a macbook, a fannypack wouldn't make him look much gayer.

Re:Be Proactive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731640)

So true. After I read Macbook Pro, I stopped giving a shit. /thread

Re:Be Proactive (0)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731646)

I hate macs actually. Linux forever.

Re:Be Proactive (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731962)

Then I'll just pull a gun on you and make you cut it loose.

The only real defense against getting robbed is to not have anything worth stealing.

I guess you could (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731446)

make the script tell him he could trying suing you for invasion of privacy if he clicks the "take picture and upload" button.

Just lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731452)

Write a fully automated script, and send it to him, claiming it will make an auto backup of your data to the smtp, and then he can keep the comp with no trouble. Click click boom boom. You win.

:0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731464)

Consider it a favor

Hate to say it... (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731474)

But the best moment for you to take action is long gone - when you had your laptop in your possession.

Let this be a lesson readers, do something to secure your possessions now, install something to allow for ease of tracking and identification now, not as an afterthought when it gets nicked.

To the op, can't you just log in with LogMeIn and set a script running which takes a photo every minute or so?

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731558)

Yep. Whenever my MacBook is with me outside of the the apartment, it is either in in the shoulderbag (which looks NOTHING like a laptop case), actually under my fingers as I'm typing, or, in the case of out of town events, locked in the room safe when I am not using it.

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

otaku244 (1804244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731666)

Very true. Yeah, it is possible. I can file transfer a script to the machine silently, but I can't execute it. So then the trick becomes how do I pull off running it?
One option is to log into the session and run it. He will definitely see me snooping around.
The other option is to convince him to run it for me.... like attaching it to a video called "lesbian canadian mounties". The problem is that I don't see any scripts readily available to conduct the feat and I'm a little unfamiliar with working on the OS at this level. So taking a crash course in this sort of work will not be easy... especially without the benefit of a Mac to test it on. The one thing I have going for me is that there are numerous Automator and AppleScript guides for building an iSight capture script. I just lack the hardware to test it on.

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731722)

You don't have ssh enabled, then? If you did, then you could run it from the terminal. What does logmein let you do?

Startup Items Folder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731846)

\\System\Library\StartupItems

Any way you could use this?

Re:Hate to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731696)

Use LogMeIn and run the script yourself. Then when the perp isn't using the computer, quickly send it to yourself. Use the command prompt if possible because then they won't know what is happening.

Re:Hate to say it... (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731754)

Agreed - I installed Prey months ago and my Mac never leaves my house....

Re:Hate to say it... (0)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731972)

Better yet don't take your laptop abroad in the first place.

If the thief hadn't stolen it, customs would have confiscated it anyway.

Pretend to be a chick? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731486)

First, I don't get it .. if you have something like logmein why can't you log in and start Facetime or something like that .. before you do it .. test it with a friend cause you probably wont get many chances.

Anyway .. if that fails, tell him you're a chick? Most likely the thief is male, so you could entice him to do it that way. You have his email address of something? how would you communicate with him?

Btw, rather than hand him over to the cops .. just ask for the laptop back and tell him you're keeping the photos of him. Also, check with law enforcement if you are allowed to take pictures like that .. it may be against the law .. stupid as it sounds.

Re:Pretend to be a chick? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731506)

Also if you are starting facetime make sure u have it recording .. either with software or aiming a camera at the screen

Old trojan trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731500)

if you have a way of dumping somthing on the desktop, just call it somthing along the lines of "Safari" or "Pages"
he'll click eventually.

you should've gone with Prey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731502)

www.preyproject.com

Re:you should've gone with Prey (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731604)

And installed it BEFORE it was stolen.

I run 3 versions of prey. 1 controlled by the website. 2 controlled by a web page one that scps me the results and another e-mails.

I also run Orbicule. I've tested it numerous times (Nothing sucks more than having a solution that doesn't work when you need it.)

I ALSO run autossh with a reverse tunnel to SSH, if it has internet, I can ssh to it.

The computer also has "guest" enabled, so if it's stolen it's not a paperweight to the person using it and hopefully they will try to.

Virus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731504)

You could pull the typical "You're computer has a virus!!!11!!" thing. Just use that to a) Get a picture, and b) if you haven't install an SSH server. With the SSH server you can transfer programs onto the computer and execute them entirely in the background.

SSH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731508)

If you have the IP address, You can SSH in and use the screencapture utility to take a picture.

I'm pretty sure that to smtp it to yourself you'd have to do something visible or install smtpd, which is a lot of work to configure. You'd be better off just scp-ing it to another computer.

Re:SSH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731536)

if the SSH daemon has the SFTP-server process, just "SFTP" the file, otherwise yes, scp.

And I'm pretty darn sure there's a way to trigger the camera without a GUI tool.

Re:SSH (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731738)

If you have both sftp and scp, then why would you use sftp... ever...

Re:SSH (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731760)

if the laptop has an "iSight" camera (what ever that is...)
then he needs to look here
http://www.hackmac.org/hacks/hack-and-disable-the-isight-camera/ [hackmac.org]

ssh into the system upload the file and run it to capture images then use any command line mail application to send it to you.

just remember their comment.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731510)

Should the riaa ever comes looking for

Photobooth (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731522)

This exact same thing happened to me and I used photobooth to put his image onscreen and then used a screen capture on my other machine to get a shot of his face

Case Study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731528)

I don't have any personal experience, but here [defcon.org] 's how a presenter at a previous Defcon did it.

DEFCON Must watch (2)

David89 (2022710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731532)

I haven't learned how to code links, but this video is pretty similar to your situation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4oB28ksiIo [youtube.com]

Police comments don't make sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731538)

"laws don't allow warrants solely on the physical address tied to an IP"

So how has the RIAA managed to push their lawsuits forward for all these years? Seems that the only "evidence" they use is the IP address, and that's been plenty good enough to unleash the full force and effect of the US court system on their targets.

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

Scaba (183684) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731594)

When did Vancouver become part of the US? Did I miss some recent war between the US and Canada?

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731694)

When did Vancouver become part of the US? Did I miss some recent war between the US and Canada?

"Vancouver this week while working in Seattle"

There's ALSO a Vancouver in Washington. Which is where Seattle is. Don't think it was specified WHICH Vancouver.

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731700)

Nope, the White House isn't burning yet.

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731712)

When did Vancouver become part of the US? Did I miss some recent war between the US and Canada?

There is also Vancouver Washington [wikipedia.org] . The article summary doesn't specify which Vancouver this person was visiting; both are reasonably close to Seattle Washington.

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

wysiwig3 (549566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731734)

Living in Seattle, I assume he did mean Vancouver, BC, Canada. However, I did have to stop for a moment and wonder about Vancouver, WA, USA (on the Oregon border). Though... I don't know who the hell goes to play tourist there ;)

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

jone_stone (124040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731606)

Except, perhaps, that this is in Canada. Do you know the rules for probable cause in Canada? I suppose it may be complicated even more by the fact that it's across an international border.

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

AaxelB (1034884) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731608)

Vancouver (/væn.kuvr/) is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver [wikipedia.org]

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731612)

Because the poster hasn't contributed to the Policeman's Beneficial Retirement Fund.

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (0)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731716)

... that's been plenty good enough to unleash the full force and effect of the US court system on their targets.

Pull out a map of North America, then locate Vancouver. See that 49th parallel below it? Do you feel that clue starting to tickle and rattle around in your head yet? Take your time. No hurry.

Re:Police comments don't make sense. (1)

The Infamous Grimace (525297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731780)

Try again. [google.com]

49th parallel? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731966)

54' 40" or fight!

Lazy police (5, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731546)

It sounds like the police just don't want to bother. If it was the MPAA, RIAA, or Apple asking, they would have a SWAT team there in under 5 minutes.

The IP address with location may not be sufficient for a conviction, but it does support probably cause. Why not see if you can go to the location, and then h

Don't you have sshd enabled on your mac with an appropriate 50 character password? Just use ssh to remotely do it.

Doesn't LogMeIn allow you to remotely control the machine? Use (ssh is preferred) that to set up a script that takes the picture, make several copies in several locations, copies the file via scp, and ftp to a couple of different locations. Then wait for him to log into different web sites so you can have his user ids, then have the computer take pictures.

Re:Lazy police (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731592)

50 character password on your private key...

Re:Lazy police (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731670)

You forget Vancouver is in a different country. The MPAA, RIAA and SWAT teams have no presence here. In addition, the RCMP have stated in the past that they will not be tracking down filesharers. [wikipedia.org] Further still, our privacy laws do not allow ISPs to share subscriber information based only on an IP address.

Way offtopic I know, but I think it's worth clearing up the issue.

Re:Lazy police (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731782)

Actually he doesn't say which Vancouver he visited. Seattle is roughly midway between the two.

To be fair, he does say he "enjoyed the area," so that probably rules out Vancouver WA.

Re:Lazy police (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731898)

Pardon? ??AA might not be effective in Canada, but you can bet they have a presence. How else are they going to lobby to change Canadian law?

You don't have SWAT? That's quite unbelievable. I'm sure they go by a different designation. Somebody deals with hostage situations, bomb threats, trains for dealing with rogue snipers, etc.

Re:Lazy police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731934)

I believe there is a Vancouver, WA as well.

Prey project (4, Interesting)

feranick (858651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731556)

... I know it's too late for you now. But, you should consider prey project. It does now what you are asking.

Re:Prey project (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731634)

It's worth mentioning that Apple's own iCloud also has a subset of Prey's features like geolocation, remote locking/wiping and sending a message. Doesn't support taking a picture or using the webcam though.

Re:Prey project (1)

otaku244 (1804244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731758)

This is a great suggestion! Both this and the iCloud mentioned are the way I'll go in the future

Re:Prey project (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731796)

If he can access the computer remotely, can install what he wants. His only problem is that he doesn't know how to access the camera without the GUI, which is not a problem for many of us.

The computer being a Mac means my Linux answer won't be helpful, but I bet there is something of the kind on Mac as well. Like, let's say, installing Prey.

Re:Prey project (1)

darkeye (199616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731902)

yes, Prey to the rescue, install it via LogMeIn, and then mark your computer as 'lost' - Prey will report the location of the laptop and make pictures with the camera.

of course, Prey installation is done via the GUI, so you have to pick a time when the thief is not using the laptop, but has it on...

Really? (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731566)

"I provided the IP address to the VPD, but they say that laws don't allow warrants solely on the physical address tied to an IP."

Translation: You're a nobody, and we're not going to spend our precious resources tracking down and prosecuting a small-time thief. Come back when you've got a friend in politics or the media.

If an IP address alone is enough evidence to file civil suit against someone for copyright infringement, and under the new proposals enough to have them disconnected without so much as a trial, I find it hard to believe that it can't be enough to be at least reasonable suspicion and thus grounds for a warrant.

Re:Really? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731752)

Come back when you've got a friend in politics or the media.

Alternative: get a letter from a lawyer. That'll wake the police up a bit.

Re:Really? (5, Interesting)

otaku244 (1804244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731806)

Sorry for burring this update here, but I don't know how to update the article above.
I actually had my business partner on the hunt and we tracked it down to 4th District Vancouver. We also found out that the non-emergency VPD number takes you do a civilian call center. These guys seemed be misinformed about their own laws. So when we connected directly with 4th District, we got a call back from a detective who pulled the case. This happened on Friday. I had already submitted to Slashdot the night before.
Anyone know who to update the submission?

Re:Really? (1)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731946)

Translation: You're a nobody, and we're not going to spend our precious resources tracking down and prosecuting a small-time thief. Come back when you've got a friend in politics or the media.

so true. the presence of a police force definitely discourages crime, but once a crime has occurred, as an individual, you are pretty much on your own nowadays unless you have friends in high places or make it into the agenda of some politician. the police exist to provide and environment conducive to corporate profits.

even if he could run a script and take a picture, he will still have a hard time getting the police to care. your best bet is to use logmein to wipe your personal data and then brick (to the extent possible) the system out of general principle.

Too bad you can't .... (2)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731568)

Rig the computer remotely to blow the lithium battery up in the jerk's face!!!

Re:Too bad you can't .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731894)

Rig the computer remotely to blow the lithium battery up in the jerk's face!!!

Again, this is in Canada. We're not allowed to violently defend our property, nor are we allowed to set 'booby traps'. We even have to be careful how we use violence in civilian self defence or defence of others.

The other side (3, Interesting)

bozonian (1138651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731574)

Upstate New York: last weekend two Sheriff's investigators showed up at my house. They were looking for a stolen laptop and the "GPS on the laptop" had phoned home and told them the laptop was at my house. They just asked if we had recently bought a laptop blah blah blah. They left when it became obvious we knew nothing about it. Two days later 4 rednecks showed up at the house, my wife was home alone. They were looking for their "grandma's laptop that had family pictures on it and the GPS said it was at this house". They went away unsatisfied of course. I called the Sheriff back and told him what happened, and that MacBooks don't have GPS, that the GeoLocation was probably done off my WiFi Mac Address. Needless to say, I run DD-WRT on my multiple, Bridge Repeater routers and I changed the wireless MAC address immediately to break the link between my routers and my location in whatever database this link was stored.

SSH? (1)

feranick (858651) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731582)

If you have sharing enabled, you might be able to connect via SSH and install a script that activates the camera...

Re:SSH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731652)

Probably not. That would depend on his network being configured to allow SSH traffic to that computer.

Re:SSH? (0)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731708)

He's running LogMeIn, so that is not an issue.

Sneaky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731602)

Take some commonly used shortcut of something and redirect the location assigned to that to the script. Tries to open safari or something and boom, gotcha :)

Startup Folder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731616)

If you are worried he might see you running the script then stick it in the startup folder. I presume you have LogMeIn Pro so you can do file transfers without being seen but if not then you probably just have to run it yourself via remote control.

OS X 10.7.2? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731624)

Did you have the latest Lion update installed? When you install it and setup iCloud there is now a Find My iPhone for Macs, so they can report your location. I assume they use a WiFi geolocation database (since no Macs have 3G), but it would have given you and the police a good idea where the computer was. I believe it also lets you remotely lock the computer.

Well, there is a way to get the police interested. (3, Informative)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731642)

Tell the police that you connected to the machine to try to track him down and found that he had downloaded child porn with it. Then, when they bust him and take the computer, you can file a claim with them. Kind of the nuclear option, but I bet it would work.

Filing False Police Reports is a Criminal Offense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731736)

in most (all) jurisdictions. Not a good a idea.

So is planting false evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731868)

(Also, electronic intrusion and downloading child pornography.)

But as long as you're racking up the charges, why not go whole hog.

Re:Well, there is a way to get the police interest (1)

toetagger (642315) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731800)

If I were the thief, I would claim that those pictures were already there before, and deleted them when I first saw them. Doesn't sound like great plan...

Re:Well, there is a way to get the police interest (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731808)

When you consider jail time and court costs from file false paperwork with the police, you'd be better off just buying a new one and forgetting about the old computer.

Re:Well, there is a way to get the police interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731990)

Or the fact that the laptop will spend five years in an evidence locker before he gets it back....

Re:Well, there is a way to get the police interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731892)

That's only... filing a false police report and potentially harming a minor charge because there is no way to tell if you or the bad guy was putting the images on the computer...

Throwing down nukes is almost never the right thing to do in any case. Remote wipe your machine then file an insurance claim with home owners/renters insurance. You will have a nice new laptop which you can restore from your time machine. Then call Apple and let them know that your serial number was stolen. When he goes into a shop to get help putting stuff on it (because you killed the machine) they will call the cops.

Sorry, can't help you now. (1, Redundant)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731656)

You need to have a plan before the laptop is stolen, not after. I use a commercial solution that works directly with police departments to recover laptops. They don't just use IP addresses; they get a picture of the perp as well.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731720)

With the economy the way it is, walking around with a Macbook Pro is asking to get ripped off. Carry around an older Dell, preferably Pentium 4 or older with Windows XP on it. Prancing around with a MBP is basically screaming STEAL FROM ME BECAUSE I CAN'T PROTECT MYSELF AND I'LL POST ON SLASHDOT!

The theif deserves this (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731764)

Not saying I ever would, but if I ever did steal a Macbook pro, the first thing I would do is remove the HDD. Failing the option of replacing the HDD, I would wipe it and reinstall. I have bought and sold many a computer and to anyone I have ever sold a machine to, I always recommend the same: WIPE THE HDD -- it's just good practice.

People who fail to do this simple thing deserve what they get. They are trusting an unknown -- an computer with an OS and unknown software on it. One should know as much as possible about the machine they are using starting from the OS and then the applications.

In a way, I guess it is good that most thieves are simply stupid as software solutions for recovering property seem to work often enough.

But to me, it seems to be a fundamental failing of many criminals in that they don't plan to not get caught. Personally, I would never commit a crime without also planning not to get caught. This basic failure is just too common... I don't get it.

Re:The theif deserves this (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731948)

I would almost think this would be the only option, unless the owner of the laptop doesn't have a password. I can't imagine the average laptop thief would know how to crack a password anyway, but would pass it off/sell it to someone that was somewhat computer savvy.

Re:The theif deserves this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731954)

Antisocial Personality Disorder.
People suffering from this disorder are much more likely to commit illegal actions and they also don't think of the consequences. Some of them rob banks without wearing masks because they just don't think that far ahead. They're very impulsive.

logmein... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731802)

you said you have logmein installed on it. so whats stopping you from just remoting into the machine and running the script yourself?

Which Vancouver? (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731804)

Vancouver, BC or Vancouver, WA? Knowing which country this happened in might help.

Blue Bloods (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731818)

It was on Blue Bloods just the other night. Offer to buy it back.

Anyone remember this? (1)

filmorris (2466940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731822)

This remembers me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4oB28ksiIo [youtube.com] , you may try something he did and at least have some fun, if not your laptop back.

van police are still looking for the cup rioters (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731828)

Vancouver police are still looking for the Stanley cup rioters so just finding some one who took 1 laptop likely is under that on the list of things to do.

California Law (2)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731830)

Just had a cop come by the university to discuss this. In California at least, photos like that are not admissible as evidence. They may allow the police to get your laptop back, but if you press charges those photos, keystrokes, etc are going to be thrown out before they ever see the judge.

Don't you have Find My Mac or something like that on MacBooks? I thought logmein was more of a VPN thing.

Re:California Law (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731964)

I think Find My Mac is a new iCloud feature and he might not have set that up yet.

Did you just tip the thief off? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731838)

Hope you have changed the location and dates in your plea for help so that the thief reading Slashdot would not be tipped off.

XTract can be used (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731870)

I live in Vancouver. First, let me say I am truly sorry one of our fellow citizens did this. Inexcusable. To take the picture you would have to use social engineering tactics and it would be hit or miss. What is far more likely is that the computer will be recovered using XTract. I co-architected and read this system for the VPD and RCMP. Most stolen property eventually ends up in the pawn shops. XTract is a system of mandatory reporting that links an item to an ID and later to as crime. Every pawn store in Vancouver must use it (if it gets pawned in Burnaby or Surey it won't work). Make sure you have your serial number and contact them and request a flag on your item.

One other statistic I saw that was interesting is that many stolen Macs end up being brought in to the Apple store for service or repair. Apple doesn't help out here but contacting a few of the bigger chains in Metro Vancouver might help (Mac Station, Simply Computing etc).

Finally - back to social engineering. If you had your email set to receive without authentification challenge, there is a possibility that the thief may read your email. I would first change this. That can be used to leverage trust and attack others.

Take a lesson from DefCon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731872)

Presentation from DefCon 18 by Zoz: Pwned by the Owner - What happens when you steal a hacker's computer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4oB28ksiIo#t=3m15s

Thanks Everyone! (1)

otaku244 (1804244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731906)

I know this is a long shot. It just makes me mad. I am taking all your suggestions down.
I'm going to give this 30 days. If the work doesn't bare any fruit, I'll scratch up the money to buy a new one. If I catch the guy, you bet I will post an update on Slashdot!!!
Thank you, again!

Obvious (1)

thelonesun (2438194) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731916)

Since macs have a webcam, use photobooth, take a pic, screenshot the pic on your computer through logmein.

LOL yea your going to catch the guy (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731922)

That shit was in a pawn shop 20 minuets after it was stolen

Another approach (2)

whoisisis (1225718) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731952)

I just encrypt my hard drive. If a thief nicks my laptop, all he's going to get is a piece of (old) hardware and a disk full of seemingly
random numbers. While it's annoying, you don't need to put resources into tracking the bastard, just get on
with it and buy a new machine, which you would anyway.

Hardware is cheap. Data is your time, work and money, so protect it with encryption and keep backups.

Next time... (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731974)

When you have Lion, make an iCloud account and use Back To My Mac and Find My Mac to find your computer. Also, make sure to encrypt your computer and you can lock or wipe it remotely. Sure it's not perfect but it will help a lot with recovery or at least make sure you don't lose important data to others.

If you leave it in a hotel or so, there are those locks you can tether around a desk or so, some upper scale hotels have them at the front desk. It will help against unwanted removal of your device.

Why so much focus on putting files on the machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37731976)

Isn't it just as, if not more, valuable to get files off it? Perhaps the thief will have already taken a photo of himself, or someone he knows, with Photo Booth? Perhaps he'll have created some type of document with his name. Perhaps...

I can't help but think that there are thousands of files that could identify me on my computer and you just need the thief to create one.

Just wait and watch... (1)

anom (809433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731978)

Can logmein allow you to watch but without touching without his knowledge?

You know he'll log in to facebook at some point...

Cheapo Netbooks (3, Insightful)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | more than 2 years ago | (#37731986)

Incidents like these are one good reason I use a cheap netbook when on travel. Not only are they light and get substantial battery life, but if it breaks or gets stolen, I'm only out $300.

I also find that I rarely get much actual work done when on travel, so I don't have the need for a more substantial laptop. I guess if you've really got the need to travel with a full sized laptop, you could mod the case to make it look scuffed and dated and hence not worth stealing. Either that, or get a ThinkPad -- even the latest versions look 10 years old.

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