Man Uses His Stolen Laptop to Spy on Supposed Thief

dellfindLaptops are quickly becoming a favorite on thieves’ wish-lists. But what if you could use the technology already available in your laptop to spy on the person who stole your laptop and help get it back? That was the case for Clair Fleener, a chief executive of IT outsourcer InertLogic, who was able use her stolen laptop to spy on the thief who took it and determine his location.

Fleener monitored the activities of the laptop for two weeks and was able to see what the new user was doing do to technology installed on the laptop by Kaseya. Fleener saw that whoever had the stolen laptop was visiting Facebook, MySpace, and other social networks. He used Google to search for auto parts and did queries on how to remove security tags from merchandise. He also looked at porn and made pirated copies of DVDs, including “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Every time the laptop went online, typically on weekend nights, and never on Tuesday, Fleener and others got paged.


This screen shot shows an AT&T store and a nearby Burger King on Google Earth, helping investigators pinpoint the location of the stolen laptop based on Wi-Fi networks available. (Credit: Cnet & InertLogic/Kaseya)

With the help of Benjamin Lavalley, a senior engineer at Kaseya, they were able to track the nearby Wi-Fi access points and get a general location for the laptop. Soon after sheriff’s agents were able to drive by the area and found the laptop in a local mechanics shop where the laptop’s new “owner” worked. They were able to retrieve the stolen laptop, but no arrest was made as the man who had the laptop said he had bought it from a customer a few months back and had no idea that it was stolen. For now, the police are just content that the laptop is in the hands of the rightful owner.

(Via Cnet News)

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