Stealth-cam software snaps laptop looter
What a mug
A laptop thief has been busted after a security application activated the computer's built-in camera, snapped shots of the crook and sent them back to the original owner.
A few months ago, Joshua Kaufman had his Macbook nicked from his apartment in Oakland, CA. Instead of wallowing in despair, though, he started to blog images of the thief captured using tracker app Hidden.
Getting away with it, for now
Hidden trails stolen laptops, collecting photographs of the rustler and screenshots of the computer in use. After posting pics online, Kaufman's blog soon grew popular and the feds started to listen.
The $15 (£9) Kaufman paid for the application turned out to be worth every cent yesterday after Oakland police swooped, arresting the man in question, based on the evidence supplied.
It's nice to see some tracking software on an Apple that brings no cause for concern. Unless you're a criminal, of course. ®
The software works, but the police don't.
I had a Windows/Intel laptop stolen back in 2008 which had a similar piece of software on it. The one on my laptop, like alot of these things, sits as an extension to the BIOS and also has a client installed that's hidden within the OS. Every time you boot up it looks for an internet connection and talks home and confirms if it's stolen or not.
Now because my hard disk was encrypted and password locked, the tealeaves couldn't get the data off the hard disk, and they couldn't even boot it, so they put in a new 2.5" disk.
(thus, Ru, why passwords don't mean anything - and on a mac if you know how to do it you can get around the login passwords on the OS and gain root access fairly easily. I now have a BIOS password on my Mac which is very difficult to circumvent and doesn't allow booting from alternative sources without a password)
The tracker software on the laptop is clever because if it doesn't detect itself installed in the OS when you boot, it installs itself into the OS for you like spyware (assuming you install something like Windows of course). It then calls the website and if it finds out it's stolen it starts broadcasting loads of it's details back to base. You can do things like remotely wipe the disk and groovy things like that.
Natch, we report the theft to the police and tell them it has a tracker on it. They seem disinterested.
So, the wazac in Lincolnshire who had my laptop plugs it into his Sky broadband and it starts calling home without him knowing. I have his email address, his broadband ID and the current IP address of his home router. Doing a bit of digging using this information, I find out exactly who he is, where he lives, his home phone number and so-on. In fact, by this time it had swept the disk for an image, so I can tell you the games he liked playing, which bank he banked with, what type of porn he liked, who he worked for and so-on. You name it, I had it. So I know all about this guy. I wonder if he worked out why one morning his laptop was duff - because I'd formatted the HDD in the background.
So I tell the police all this. They don't want to know at all. Even the company who make this software embedded on my laptop tried to get the police to go round and collect the laptop, but because the police are so inept at the moment when it comes to technology thefts, it was only when we escalated it that someone eventually went round. 3 months after it had been stolen. Biggest barrier the police said was getting the account details from Sky Broadband.
Guess what -when policeman knocks on the door, they find nothing. Laptop suddenly disappears (police never recovered it) and it, obviously being too hot to handle, disappears off the face of the earth and we've never seen it reappear.
So even though I have stacks of evidence to convict this guy, the police weren't interested. So although it looks like a great idea, we need the Police to be bought in to the idea of repatriation of kit.
I would not have called the police
Calling the police is pointless as you found out. Whatever made you think they give a toss about crime?
Given that I had the guys address, his porn collection, and probably a load of other private info, I would have spent 3 or 4 weeks collecting as much as possible. I would then have doorstepped the fool one night with a few mates. A couple of the bigger ones sit on his head while I nip upstairs and collect my laptop. I would then tell him that it had a web cam and that I've got a disk full of pics of him whacking himself off. I'd mention some of his porn tastes, just so he knows I am not kidding.
For a time I worked for a company providing vehicle tracking devices, we had a stolen JCB digger that alerted in 3 times from the same location - each time we called the police out there and "nope, no diggers around here". Then a different JCB alerts in from the same location, call them up and false alarm, so I used some initiative and asked where it was "oh it's at our depot on <whatever> road" which matched the map location, turns out the one that had been stolen the tracker had been removed the day before and was in their depot office (which they forgot to mention when asking us to find it for them...)
What I found amazing was that the police had apparently sent 3 different police officers on 3 separate occasions to a depot full of diggers and such and reported that they couldn't see a digger anywhere... so i'd hate to think how hard it would be for them to find a laptop.
Multi OS & Android software
easy this one
Pay mates for alibis. go and burn his fucking house down. Torch his car etc etc. Make sure you have alibis, dont use your own car, wear hoodies, dont take your mobile. Use disposable gloves, dont get seen on obvious cameras but DO get seen on local cameras wearing different clothes.
I hate fucking theives.