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Mac Thief Caught Thanks To Applescript & Timbuktu

CmdrTaco posted more than 12 years ago | from the funny-late-night-story dept.

Apple 367

el.cerrito.slasher sent in an amusing bit found on MacSlash. This story is a tale of a stolen iMac that just happened to be running Timbuktu (a remote control program like VNC I believe). Well the stolen box kept getting used, and the owner was able to track it down through a variety of amusing Timbuktu Fu. Funny story.

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ADC (0)

cstrommen (254974) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893440)

This shows how stupid people that steal really are..

AMEN, MY LITTLE DANISH FRIEND!!!! (-1)

L.Torvalds (548450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893480)

Only a fucking retarded ass-wad would steal a mac.

Wait, I think I've figured it out (-1)

the_furies (541751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893504)

It was an iMac, so I the thief probably wanted to use it as a signalling device to attract lonely homosexual men into his home.

A little poetry from a 3rd grader (-1)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893513)

Rickety rickety ram, Holy shit god damn, Idee didee, Christ Almighty, Rah rah, Shit.

Time for a beer! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893441)

Buuurp!

C'mere pretty boy Mac Thief (-1)

the_furies (541751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893471)

Anyone stupid enought to steal a Mac(!) deserves the ass-pounding [goatse.cx] this thief's gonna get in jail.

yippee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893446)

whee, apple

Why even bother in the first place? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893447)

Why bother recovering or even stealing one? Macs are pieces of flaming monkey shit anyways.

Re:Why even bother in the first place? (0, Offtopic)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893484)

Anonymous Coward

Re:Why even bother in the first place? (-1)

the_furies (541751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893494)

"Woops, sorry Peter, I didn't think it would go that far."
-Ron Jeremy

applescript strikes back (4, Interesting)

athagon (410963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893448)

What a brilliant idea. AppleScript - although simplistic and arcane - obviously has some uses. Forget getting the iTunes song or FTPing files, here comes the Timbuktu/AppleScript remote-disk-erase squad! ^_^

Re:applescript strikes back (2, Offtopic)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893551)

simplistic and arcane? do you prefer to speak to your friends in quadratic equations rather than English then? maybe you just speak Klingon

Re:applescript strikes back (5, Funny)

gazbo (517111) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893567)

set AppleScript's text item delimiters to {""}

Yikes! That is some urglee code. I mean come on, since when has code used a possessive apostrophe? It's just......wrong.

I'll grant it's wonderfully readable, but in people's experience, is it actually easy to write? I can imagine having difficulty remembering all of the exact 'easy-to-use' identifiers. Also, in some cases it seemed to match good grammar, whereas in other cases parts of verbs, plurals etc. were not used correctly. Is there a set of special cases you have to remember or what?

Re:applescript strikes back (5, Insightful)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893587)

AppleScript is UNBELEIVABLY easy to write. If you have any kind of logic in your soul and speak English, you can automate your plastic pal to death. We actually run our business on .as, it's just great to have a script that runs when you drop a video capure file on a folder, runs Cleaner to compress it, BBEdit to knock up some HTML, DeBabelizer to cobble together some GIF thumbnails, Fetch to upload it and IE to spring open to look at the site. All while preparing coffee or beating the crap out of some guards in Oni.

Re:applescript strikes back (5, Interesting)

Morth (322218) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893588)

Yikes! That is some urglee code. I mean come on, since when has code used a possessive apostrophe?

Since AppleScript was invented, obviously. (90-91?)
IIRC, set text item delimiters of AppleScript to {":"} works just as well. It's the versatility and its way of knowing where to put parentheses that makes AppleScript easy.

Re:applescript strikes back (2, Flamebait)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893660)

Yeah AppleScript can be more basic than BASIC. Of course no self-respecting programmer would ever code in applscript, not even to see what it was like. Why anyone would like to code like this when they can use more cryptic languages like perl or haskall is beyond me.

The scary thing is I'm not sure if I'm being sarcastic or not at this point.

Shit... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893451)

I need to take fucking dump!

Re:Shit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893519)

I have to drop some friends off at the pool.

Re:Shit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893638)

Wow! It's like... there's a party in my intestines and everyone's invited!

Re:Shit... (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893699)

I need to burn a mule.

Suggestions are crap (-1, Redundant)

seizer (16950) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893452)

If the poster wanted to do something constructive, it would be along the lines of making the modem on the old box dial his number. Caller ID would then snag the crook's phone number (something along the lines of... cat ATDT5551234 >> dev/ttyS3 would be simple enough, and there must be a mac equivalent to that).

Then, you head over to Infospace.com, do a reverse lookup on the phone number you received, and get over there to, uh, politely request the box back :-)

Problem solved.

Re:Suggestions are crap (2)

Pathwalker (103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893458)

And that is what he did, by setting the default AOL phone numbers to two numbers with caller id, and watched for a modem to call both.

Re:Suggestions are crap (2, Funny)

dair (210) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893462)

Which is what he did:
Probably the best news so far, I was able to insert a modified AOL connection file into the stolen machine today, with my home number as the primary dialin and my sister's number as the secondary. Coincidentally, I've since gotten about 15 calls from a particular person I don't know, and my sister has gotten about the same amount of calls from the same person.
Unfortunately the number was unlisted.

-dair

Re:Suggestions are crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893463)

I do not use Windows 9x. What does your sig do?

Re:Suggestions are crap (1)

Kamran (109309) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893470)

Did you actually read the article. It says that's what he did. But the number was unlisted. The suggestions later on are also a lot better, with some ideas of scripting OE to email details etc... Perhaps read the full article next time.

Replying to myself.... (0, Offtopic)

seizer (16950) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893472)

Bloody morning classes. They distract me from paying proper attention to Slashdot :-)

*oops*

Re:Replying to myself.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893536)

what does your fucking sig do?

Re:Replying to myself.... (1)

posmon (516207) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893563)

cool. it kicks off a couple of bsod's and then returns you to the desktop with ie dead.

Re:Replying to myself.... (0, Offtopic)

gazbo (517111) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893572)

People tend to overuse the term BSOD. If you get a couple of BSODs and then return to the desktop, it was not a BSOD.

Install NT/2000, then play with your hardware while the computer is on. Then you'll see what a *real* BSOD looks like, and understand the 'Death' part.

Re:Replying to myself.... (-1, Troll)

posmon (516207) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893595)

the screen was blue, internet explorer had died. blue screen of death. maybe the error wasn't as severe as when nt *really* blows up, but who cares, you pedantic faggot?

Re:Replying to myself.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893611)

No, you are a stupid fucking moron. If the computer doesn't lock up, it is just an ERROR, not a BSOD. Win9X frequently gives errors with a blue screen, but it is NOT the Blue Screen Of Death. When NT/2000 gives a BSOD you can not do anything except hit the power button.

Re:Replying to myself.... (-1, Offtopic)

posmon (516207) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893653)

i exactly what an nt bsod is like, you dumb cunt. now follow this logic:

blue - it was blue, alright
screen - it was on a screen, too
of - reduntant
death - the error took out internet explorer. it died. dead. death

now grow up and stop playing the 'my bsod is more dead than yours' game. it's not funny, and it sure as hell ain't clever. you spastic.

Re:Suggestions are crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893568)

That line woulnd't even work. Cat looks for a file, it needs to be an echo command to output that argument.

Hey CmdrTaco! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893466)

Dude, it's fucking 5 AM. What the hell are you doing posting stories to /.. Gee, don't even have a girl to fuck or something?

Fucking pathetic.

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893473)

Well, here's the perfect site:

Coincidence Design [coincidencedesign.com]

I read it and was laughing my brains out. Perfect for Taco, someone with more money than brians. The faq even says that a lot of the clients own companies in the IT sector -- yep, I guesss that's CmdrTaco!

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893582)

not knowing much about Taco's physical characteristica, I do know about yours, and I gather you were put on their "come back next spring" waiting list.

from their faq:
Q.
Why do you refuse overweight clients? Why not let the subject herself decide whether she likes me or not, after the coincidence has occurred?
A.
Our job is to design a successful coincidence. We are good at what we do, but we are not gods. Even a carefully engineered coincidence will be fruitless if the fundamental conditions are not right. If you are serious about finding the perfect love for you, first get in shape, and then come to us.

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (0, Offtopic)

cstrommen (254974) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893475)

There's something called the earth.. It's.. like.. divided into 24 time-zones... Hello?

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893477)

Well unless he's taking a vacation in Europe or something, it's 5 AM where he is right NOW!

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893496)

Rob lives in Holland, Michigan...jackass!

PARENT POST OFFTOPIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893541)

Please mod down before more trolls reply to it.

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (1)

irlbinky (534552) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893570)

Do i get the feeling that some American has forget that there are other countries in other time zones??

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893524)

That is right. CmdrTaco should be fucking his girl [realdoll.com] right now.

Re:Hey CmdrTaco! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893528)

You give me a HEADRUSH. [perverts.nl]

_NO_ Goatse shit there.

This story gives me a (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893476)

This story gives me a headrush [perverts.nl]

Some people (-1, Troll)

obi-1-kenobi (547975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893482)

Is it that hard to format the hard drive i mean really some people must have brain damage

Can I do this with my laptop? (5, Interesting)

bildstorm (129924) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893483)

Personally, I'm slightly security paranoid, but I don't believe that anyone who steals my machine is going to care what's on it, but more likely swap drives. Ok, that's what I'd do, at least.

But, looking at this, I'd love to have something like this running. Are they any current security programs that do things like this? I would need it for Windows and Linux.

Now if only I could have it run in the BIOS. Imagine if on the bios level, without a proper key or password or whatever, if the hard drive was removed and replaced, it would then call a panic number whenever connected. That'd be neat.

Re:Can I do this with my laptop? (5, Funny)

MaxH01 (415822) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893515)

Isn't that what Windows XP does - except it phones Bill Gates?

Re:Can I do this with my laptop? (3, Funny)

IceFox (18179) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893543)

My Compaq persario 800 (dual Ppro) does just this anytime it is rebooted. In the lovely bios that they put on 4 boot floppies which means it takes forever to do anything.

Excuse me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893549)

Excuse me, but do you have some sort of mental problem where your brain turns into shit everytime you decide to shit down and post at Slashdot?

Re:Can I do this with my laptop? (2)

mESSDan (302670) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893555)

A better idea; if the bios password entered was wrong, let the user in but have a tiny program chilling in the bios that would wait for a network connection and send out some data from there.

A few problems with this? Firewalls could easily stop it, although sending out the data on a common port like 80 would probably solve that. Also, just like a modem, a network card can be unplugged.

Ugh, this is starting to sound like an Outlook virus ;)

Re:Can I do this with my laptop? ... Yes, In theor (5, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893647)

Don't bother with BIOS Passwords - that would require a bios hack, to say the least.

The boot sector is replaced with a BSD style boot selector, set to boot from the "stolen" partition by default (ie if you are using the machine yourself, you select BSD or Windows - thief has 5 secs to figure out what is wrong, and cant, so gets default behaviour.

After the initial boot sector process, control passes to a next stage, "Stolen" ... This displays a message "Unable to start Windows ... perhaps modem cable is not connected to the phone? ... Please connect cable to phone, and press return"

The average thief will understand this, and connect the phone cable. The real owner would press CTL-ALT-DEL.

When the thief connects the cable and presses "enter" the phone dials the owner, his mates, his mobile, his dog, cat, ma, pa, and the 911, 999 (in case its in Europe), FPI's private number, SWAT, the US Marines, Bin Laden, the Mafia hit-man hot line, and that number the Gas Company reserves for reporting leaking gas mains.

Not only that, the boot sequence will auto-hack so this is the ONLY boot option, and disable CTL-ALT-DEL. The dialling sequence will repeat till the battery runs out.

Someone will be pissed enough to find out who owns the unlisted number and send the boys with big sticks round for a visit.

Re:Can I do this with my laptop? (5, Insightful)

athmanb (100367) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893577)

Rule Nr. 1 in criminology: 95% of criminals are idiots. If they weren't, they would risk a year long jail term e.g. by robbing a liquor store for 100$.

You would be smart enough to swap hard drives to evade detection, but you'd also be smart enough to not steal a computer...

Re:Can I do this with my laptop? (1)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893617)

I think Microsoft is working a similar feature. But the panic number calls Redmond, not your house. Just wait for the next XP security update.

I'd love to have something like this running. Are they any current security programs that do things like this? I would need it for Windows and Linux.

Now if only I could have it run in the BIOS. Imagine if on the bios level, without a proper key or password or whatever, if the hard drive was removed and replaced, it would then call a panic number whenever connected. That'd be neat.

Re:Can I do this with my laptop? (3, Interesting)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893652)

but I don't believe that anyone who steals my machine is going to care what's on it

Well I'm sure plenty of people would want my massive pr0n collection ;-)

Are they any current security programs that do things like this?

Well I looked into this last year when I was flatting with 5 new people. It's not that I didn't trust my roommates but when flatting with so many people they're bound to at least have a couple of pretty dodgy friends amoung them.
Linux is pretty straightforward, I mean if your using a dial out you can just use pppup to launch a script to mail you when they're online or whatever.
Problem is most theives aren't likely to be able to pring up ppp on my box, oh well.
For windows I don't know. But it shouldn't be too hard to set something up like this, even modify back-oriface 2k or something to give you the functionality you need.
In the end I decided the best way to do this was to get a prepaid cellphone with GPS (charged by the 5v line with a regulator), have it send an SMS message every day or so. The benefit is it doesn't matter if the machine is dial up/lan, or even if it's not used by the theives. Of course the problem with this system is a GPS cell phone isn't cheap.

Congradulations.... (1)

Mr.Ned (79679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893701)

Congradulations, you've invented Product Activation!

Reminds me of Cuckoo's Egg (4, Informative)

Tony.Tang (164961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893486)

For those of you who got a real kick out of this thing, you may want to read Cuckoo's Egg [amazon.com] . Cuckoo's Egg is a little older (he talks about using the teletype), and follows a real life story of an admin who went and tracked a bad hacker (or thief? -- sorry it's been a while). It has the same sort of "you out-think me, i'll out-think you!" back and forth flavour to it. Give it a read, you won't be disappointed.

Reminds me of Distributed.net (5, Interesting)

realdpk (116490) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893554)

<Karma whore>
Wired Article [wired.com] on how d.net helped someone track down their stolen computer.

Re:Reminds me of Cuckoo's Egg (2)

kfg (145172) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893646)

Here's the author's homepage:

http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~stoll/

Here you'll find reference not only to Cuckoo's Egg, but also his later work Silicon Snake Oil, which I also highly recommend.

Slashdot did a story on his klein bottles a couple of years ago. I've got the coffee mug myself.

It's, like, totally cool, but a bitch to clean.

KFG

Good Idea (1, Interesting)

TurboRoot (249163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893487)

Any professional would have wiped the hard drive. An easier solution would be along the lines of what they do with dogs. It would't be hard to make a tracker device/PCI graphics card that looked pretty mundane.

Re:Good Idea (3, Insightful)

Alan Partridge (516639) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893559)

maybe, but then you'd have to get a load of Mac install disks and a bootable disk to ake the computer useful again - no-one's gona want an iMac with no software on it, and no theif is gonna want to steal something worth a few hundred only to have to spend money on it to get it going again. This isn't Lex Luthor we're talking about here, this is probably some kid theiving to buy crack.

Re:Good Idea (1)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893655)

Any professional would have wiped the hard drive.
Professional computer user maybe. But these are just petty theives who more than likely don't have a real clue about using a computer.

People like you and I see something like this and think - I would have done this that or the other - probably with a great deal of success toward getting away with the crime. Hell, look at the Texas 7 that escaped about a year ago. I thought "If I were them, I would have split up and not hung together" But what did they do? They stuck together and all got caught together.

The first thing that should tip you off is that we all know better than to resort to crime. These people don't and thus stories like these come to pass.

You want a story about criminal stupidity - read this article in the Lawrence Journal-World [ljworld.com] about two Kansas football players who stole a credit card, and used it to order a pizza - DELEVERED.

RonB

Goole usenet archive thread (0)

k-flex$ (315275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893489)

Re:Goole usenet archive thread (1)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893523)

you shameless whore!

Re:Goole usenet archive thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893598)

"Web" not "usenet".
"Google" not "goole".

You're a stupid whore, but thanks anyway.

Neat! But . . . (5, Interesting)

Selanit (192811) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893497)

All it would take to permanently disable this sort of thing would be to format the hard drive and reinstall the OS. And that would be very likely to happen on a Linux box. I mean seriously, how many thieves are going to be willing to sit and work at a Linux box till they come up with a valid Username/Password combo?

With a Windows box, on the other hand, you could easily write a program to verify the computer's IP address at boot time, and if it doesn't match, send an email to you reporting the unusual IP address and any other useful info you can think of. At each boot thereafter (common with Windows, of course) it checks a particular file on a particular server for instructions on what else to do, such as activating auto-destruct. That way you never auto-destruct your own computer by accident, since it requires permission first.

If you were particularly ambitious, you could have it activate a keystroke logger and email the recorded info to you each time it boots.

Re:Neat! But . . . (1)

bunungs (536665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893542)

And that would be very likely to happen on a Linux box. I mean seriously, how many thieves are going to be willing to sit and work at a Linux box till they come up with a valid Username/Password combo?

if they have the boot loader set up with no password then you can just force it into single user mode then edit the /etc/passwd file
or if you are not so lucky you could just use a boot disk to get in.. my redhat 7.2 CD works wonders :)

Re:Neat! But . . . (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893576)

That's assuming your thief hasn't flogged your goods to some bloke down the pub who buys it for their kids to play games on...

Re:Neat! But . . . (3, Interesting)

alexburke (119254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893667)

Problem solved:
LILO boot: linux -s

To be precise, that should be whatever the name of the image is, followed by '-s'. You can hit TAB to view a list of images.

Now, if whoever installed Linux locked down lilo as well (with the restricted keyword in /etc/lilo.conf), then this won't work without a password. But a lot of Linux installs I've sat in front of are open to this...

NEEDED: new feature for Timbuktu (3, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893498)

Now if only there was a way to remotely electrocute the current machine's user when they touched the keyboard (this feature might be useful in a day to day network environment as well).

Re:NEEDED: new feature for Timbuktu (2, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893565)

It would be really neat - we could use it to reduce the amount of spam in circulation.

Mail filters could be really effective.

Or maybe that needs an embedded nuclear weapon.

Re:NEEDED: new feature for Timbuktu (2)

Raphael (18701) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893648)

You could also make it explode... See for example this article in New Scientist:

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns999 91795 [newscientist.com]

That article was mentioned in Risks Digest 21.87 (see the newsgroup comp.risks). Exploding chips are a dangerous idea. You would not like them to be triggered by accident...

Funny "story". (0, Flamebait)

satanami69 (209636) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893506)

I'd like to think this is real, but it sounds more like Bridges was making it all up. Maybe it's because I can't stand Macs.

Cliff Stoll flashback|easy tagging scritps forunix (5, Informative)

wildcard023 (184139) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893507)

I had flashbacks to reading "The Cuckoo's Egg" while reading this transcription. Does anyone else remember reading the commands listed in the book and quickly running over to a unix box to play?

Honestly, I'm not -too- surprised that this happened. My machine runs:

/bin/date | mail
/sbin/ifconfig -a | mail

(Running dyndns would be interesting also.)

on bootup. I originally did this so that I could keep track of my box and identify when it went down and what the current IP was so I could ssh in and look around more comprehensively, although it has crossed my mind that if my machine were to get stolen it might report back to me where it was. I'd happy to see that it's worked out at least once for someone.

Most ISPS keep logs of usernames and passwords on certain ips (especially if they're static/near static as in a cable modem or dsl connection). From there, it's fairly easy for the ISP for connect that back to a real name.

I'd be very intrested to see if this is enough information to get a search warrent.

No, the thief wasn't caught. (5, Informative)

rleyton (14248) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893510)

The article doesn't say the thief was caught. To quote the guy himself: "So the conclusion to the story is: iMac and Lexmark printer recovered, one female pled out to possession of stolen property and got a year's probation.".

Possession of stolen property is very different to theft. She claims to have bought the imac from "some guy". Ok, she might be complicit, but we won't ever know.

Exactly (1)

mike_lynn (463952) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893600)

That's why when *I* submitted the story to Macslash.com, my title said 'thwarted', not 'caught' ;)

Re:Exactly (2)

rleyton (14248) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893609)

Ah, the joy of editors. There's always that other place [kuro5hin.org] , as an alternative ;-)

Some thoughts (1)

Joe 'Nova' (98613) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893516)

On erasing the drive:Wouldn't it have been better to give some cryptic error message that prompts you to call the "service" number for some agency? If you just wipe the drive, wouldn't anyone know the drive died? I did like the idea of phone home, then get caller id. Just don't use *(remove call id!;)
Whoever the "fence" is(hot item buyer), they should know a few things.
However, I've known a few machines that had a hard drive crash due to heads hitting the platters, maybe that would be a useful "feature";) to implement.
I have another idea. ID the cpu somehow, so no matter if you pull the drive, unless you dissect the sucker, it will register itself, and the phone number connected, to a security co., then pay them a visit *weg*

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893571)

I believe Bill Gates has a aptent on that - its called WinXP.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893615)

Wasn't that Intel with PIII(?). They had a unique ID in their CPU, which I believe they deactivated after public pressure

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893628)

The problem with the way the Intel CPUID was implemented was that is turned out it could be used to track your surfing habits etc...

The problem with CPU ID's is the ID per se but the way in which it can be used. If you make it easy enough to access for theft detection measures then you also make it easy for people to track your PC based activities.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893644)

Yes unfortunatelly true. One could though - if eager enough - just make one self his own 'dummy' PCI card containing a circuit which could be tracked. Hopefully the thieves wouldn't notice that xtra card. mind you, not sure how complicated the PCI bus is compared to ISA (which I used to do stuff for - gone more towards software now than hardware)

A Friendly Face for Magic Lantern (2, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893517)

From the "Have you ever flashy-thinged me? Kay? I ain't playin'. Have you ever flashy-thinged me?" department:

<SARCASM>
In related news, the FBI has announced that its stealthy "Magic Lantern" program is officially being launched under the name "fbiJack."

"This guy got lucky, but how 'bout you, Slick?" taunted Special Agent Kay. "Wouldn't you feel better knowing that fbiJack is running on your machine? You can pick up an installer disk at any U.S. Post Office or download it from Microsoft.com."
</SARCASM>

Re:A Friendly Face for Magic Lantern (0, Funny)

Sarcasm_Orgasm (535390) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893579)

I didn't see it on microsoft.com & I'm not aloud to ever go back in the local Post Office, can you please send it to me? btw do they make a linux version?

right-fucking-on! (1, Redundant)

spongman (182339) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893518)

what a great story. the geek fights back - and gets a conviction out of it to boot.

Mac Thief (3, Funny)

flumps (240328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893529)

I thought that his name was Hamburgler, not Mac Thief...

Oh THAT kind of Mac.

Very nice... (2, Interesting)

Eythian (552130) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893531)

This is quite a bit fancier than putting "logout" in someones .login when they leave their terminal unguarded.

The problem with doing something like this under a system requiring user accounts is that once the person discovers that they can't just turn it on and get a point-and-drool interface, they'll erase it and start from scratch. Perhaps if you wanted something like this (and had a bit of technical skill) you could have it boot from a small partition (I mean, how many users know much about that?) that checks to see if what its booting into is what it should be (ie has windows been installed where linux should be), and if so alters something on that OS to make it phone home (obviously, something different for every OS that may be installed would have to be done, but this is hypothetical), and then proceeds to boot the new OS normally.

In the case of many Linux machines on dialups with a dedicated phone line, they are told to dialup on boot anyway, so that would give you some oppertunity to trace it, by checking the number that it is calling from. However, that is assuming that someone sets everything up, including the modem cable, before turning it on the first time.

On another note, how come erasing everything didn't remove Timbuktu? Does it live in the System Folder only?

Now I understand... (2, Funny)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893532)

...why Windows XP is frequently calling "home" :-)

praise osx (4, Interesting)

banky (9941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893533)

Now instead of all that freaky AppleScript, the payload of the script is a simple
sudo rm -rf /

Applescript is my least favorite part of Macs. (shudder). it's nice to be able to integrate shell scripts as AppleScript now; just wrap the entire shell script in a single line of Applescript.

Who the hell... (0, Flamebait)

I.T.R.A.R.K. (533627) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893545)

...would steal an iMac?
That alone deserves public flogging and ridicule.

I hope this lunatic gets what's coming to him.

lamers (5, Funny)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893578)

Seriously.

If you were really serious about inflicting pain, how about:

setting up one of those $125 per call phone lines in the bahamas and then having the imac call it every 2 minutes...

repeatedly call 911 and play recorded message: "help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" over and over again

install a keylogger so you can post their most intimate conversations on your website.

those are just a few ideas that have popped in my head.. Hell, you could do that with VB email virii and make a mint with the first one...

Re:lamers (5, Funny)

buckrogers (136562) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893610)

I like your idea of having the iMac call the 900 number for cash. If it called enough times you could buy a brand new computer.

I'm thinking that you need to turn off the speakers, turn off the modem sound and if there has been no activity for a few hours, at 4am have the system call that $125 number about 20 times in just a few hours.

With this scheme you could sell reconditioned iMacs setup with this software out of the back of a van for about $100 apeice and just sit back and rake in the cash. The people who bought what they thought was stollen property will never say a word as long as you only ripped them off for a couple of thousand dollars.

So, people, if you buy computers from the back of a van, don't complain when you get ripped off. :) You were warned!

If only I'd known it was this easy (0, Flamebait)

mike_lynn (463952) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893593)

.. to get a story posted on Slashdot.

And all it took was:

- Write a utility for OS X and submit it to Versiontracker.com
- Get bitched at for lack of user-friendliness and write a replacement program
- Accidentally find my replacement program listed at Macscripter.net through Google
- Submit an article about the story I noticed there to Macslash.com
- Get my article re-submitted by a third party to Slashdot !

Makes me wonder what I'll have to program next to get an article (re)submitted. I bet it'll be a Gnutella client or something.

Future warning: "How dare you list my program, eat flaming Slashdot!"

Record 'em! (5, Interesting)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893596)

Recovering the iMac at all is very cool. Every PC and Mac should have some "phone home" program installed; I bet most stolen computers aren't wiped. Anyone buying a Mac/PC on the super-cheap, is unlikely to buy or dig up a copy of the OS to start fresh.

The lack of a prosecution for the theft is disappointing. (As someone who has had their place robbed twice in the past two years, I find the low capture/prosecution rates depressing; it just doesn't seem to be a priority with law enforcement. Sigh. Oh well, if anyone tries to hit me again, they'll be on candid camera :-)

What might also have been cool, would be to use AppleScript to flip on the microphone, record the sound in the room, and send the recordings now and then, when connected. (Or use AppleScript to download a program that does the same; I don't know AppleScript.) That would potentially allow more "evidence" to be collected. If the lady didn't steal it, there's a chance you'd record something that would be useful. (Her thanking her brother-in-law for the Mac, or the like.) Having the Mac copy you on all incoming and outgoing mail may also be useful. (Not sure if the Mac could do it; Outlook almost does this by itself, with all the viruses it accepts :-)

Probably not admissible in court, I guess. Although using a stolen device for surveillance really *should* be a legal means of admissible evidence, in a perfect world :-)

-me

Fry em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893639)

I too have had my pace burgled before, and its really upsetting, that , after catching the thieves, *nothing* happened to them. Probation my ass.

My place is now wired to *fry* the next fucker who tries to steal my stuff, and even better iv'e figured out how to make it legal

the REAL story here.. (-1, Troll)

mESSDan (302670) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893604)

Honestly, who would steal an iMac? No SANE person, that's for sure. Stealing this iMac was a cry for help.

In the story, the cop went to the house to get the iMac, but the woman brought it outside, she wouldn't let him in. Surely you can see that its because the man in the house that let her out of the basement to answer the door would have gotten angry, and then bam, no cartoons for a week!

All you need to do is read between the lines here, and you'll see that I'm full of shit ;)

Re:the REAL story here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893683)

All you need to do is read between the lines here, and you'll see that I'm full of shit

Yes Dan, we're all aware of that

centered text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893662)

Ugh, why do people think that centering the entire text of the article makes it easier to read?

Didn't this happen before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2893669)

I believe, unless I'm hallucinating, that it has, and was even reported on Slashdot.

At any rate, this is an interesting idea. Boxxen security. Most computer thieves (Not counting those of us who, erm, dumpster dive. HEY! They threw it *away!*) seem to be your garden variety breaking and entering a house types.

Having software installed that blabs to a random server could be quite interesting and useful in hunting down boxxen that've gotten away from you.

Or not.

I hear geeks can get violent when someone steals their box. With all that FPS practice, think of the hand to eye coordination!

(*watches some geek bust down some hoser's door, filling him with lead, before walking off with the stolen box under arm*)

This reminds me.... (3, Interesting)

sawilson (317999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2893694)

Of an admin legend I heard once about an overzealous equipment cage guy that spent years doing tcpdumps scanning for the mac addresses that belonged to a shipment of missing ethernet cards, and eventually caught the guy that did it. Anybody ever heard that one?
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