tracking a stolen laptop

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tracking a stolen laptop

apologies if this isn't a good place to ask this, but i'm trying to track a stolen laptop (i was robbed :( ). whoever has it is logging onto my AIM and chatting with my friends. the police haven't been helpful and just said for me to contact AOL, though they'd "put it in the report".

my friends know what's going on and have been continuing the conversation with "me" to buy time while we figure out if there's any way to track this person down. i'm putting an ip tracker into a dummy myspace account that we're going to try to get the imposter to hit. but even then, will there be any useful info? thank you so much for any help and advice. it sucks to have your stuff stolen... but it kills to have it be your laptop!






Re: tracking a stolen laptop

try to get them to send you and email, you can get the ip address from that, which i think with a police report that your laptop is stolen, and proof they sent it from your own email, the isp might be able to give the police the address of the internet account they are using. 

Hortence Goss
Re: tracking a stolen laptop

Next you may want to time try a remote tracking software, like Lojack For Laptops which not only tracks a stolen laptop, but allows you to remotely remove sensitive data.


Re: tracking a stolen laptop

This is completely random thinking and would require quite a bit of fact, I'm not even sure it will work.

Try to see if the person will install a remote keylogger for access to his email and possible myspace account.

Have the friend say hey I've got some pictures of (female name...maybe your girlfriend) getting down and dirty at that party a couple of weeks ago but the way my camera formatted it requires a separate media want to see them?

Since I'm pretty sure you cant IM .exe files it will have to be renamed to something like "kodiakphotoplayer.exc". In fact, I'm not even sure you can attach files to an IM message.

If the f@ing thief agrees (my laptop was stolen last month), tell them to rename the file when downloaded to .exe and run.

With any luck, the current antivirus on the system wont catch it.

I will say, this will require a tremendous amount of luck. Try this out with a friend first. Have that friend use the same antivirus that you had and make sure you know how to remove it.

Maybe it will work. You may also want to research boot sector viruses and see if that will attach using the same method. If it installed, the hard drive might crash and protect your data.

"A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Re: tracking a stolen laptop

I'm with ashton on this one, a keylogger or spyware program sounds like the best idea.

I recently purchased win-spy, which allows you to choose between the attachment being .exe, .ppt. or .xls. So if you have office on your pc, the thief would be able to open the files. If he's chatting with your friends, he's likely going into your email as well. If that's the case (have friends do test emails to you to check out) then one of your friends could do the naughty pics idea and package it as a powerpoint slideshow. Once the spyware is on---I'm sure the bastid is also logging into his own email and other once you have that, you have his identity...and hopefully more cooperation from the cops.

Re: tracking a stolen laptop

if you want to get an IP address google "Network Active Sniffer", or you could just go to Majorgreeks and look for it there. Download, install and run that. Then all you need to do is get him into "direct IM"; I can't remember what it's actually called exactly, but it bypasses AOL's server and set's up a direct IP connection between yourself and the person your talking too. This will be easiest by enticing them with promises of naughty pics or whatnot... but then all you have to do is check the logs Network Active Sniffer makes to figure out what his IP is. I'd be willing to bet that this dude is using an internet Cafe; which poses one advantage and one disadvantage. Firstly, the IP will probably be Static and it won't be hard to locate him. Just have your friend keep sending naughty pics, as you drive up to confront the little shit.... but the bad thing is that the Internet Cafe's router will almost deffinately be acting as a NAT, and it will be difficult for him to set up the direct IM. if this is the case, tell him your own IP address and ask him to ping you. In Network Active Sniffer's logs you'll see a packet type "ICMP" which will most likely have his IP as the starting point.

Re: tracking a stolen laptop

Hey snitch,

So sorry to hear about your laptop. All three suggestions from tatt, Isaac, and Ashton [heart and wallet in the same place makes a more interesting hoops bracket], will work well in concert.

If the perp (thief) has sent an email via your laptop's email client to one of your friends, you may be able to derive the originating IP addy from the headers of the email received [reply if you need help with getting the email headers].

Using the info Isaac offered, you can locate the IP addy and with any luck, it's a local i-net cafe or other wifi hotspot you can visit. Most of us can visually recognize our laptops like they were our own kin.

Another idea is to get the perp to send to you a Remote Assistant invite. Perhaps tell him that you can help him/her extract some banking (or other) info from the hard drive, and via Remote Assistance, once you have that remote invite, you could at least go in and lock him/her out of the computer.

Best of luck recovering your laptop. Use different passwords for your login and applications - passwords are like relationships: tough to break when complicated, better remembered when changed frequently. Wink


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle

Re: tracking a stolen laptop


passwords are like relationships: tough to break when complicated, better remembered when changed frequently. Wink


:-D thats the best advice i've heard all week  

Re: tracking a stolen laptop

I have some non-tech advice for you that I hope will help. Over the years I have always heard that most robberies are committed by someone the victim knows. (Of course I am not trying to sound rude or put down any people you know.) Because it could have very well been a stranger who stole it or someone who knows your routine. Or maybe a friend of a friend.

But my suggestion here is that you only let a few people (that you trust 110%) become aware of your exact ideas of how you are going to get it back. You just never know who you could be tipping off about your ideas. I hope that you don't become suspicious or accussive against the wrong person or group. It would be a big bummer to lose your laptop along with a few people or friends that you have in your life.

**By the way, the person is obviously not "computer smart" since they are taking a risk by interacting on your laptop with people you know, because it leaves a trail to them. That makes me think even more that they know you somehow because if they didn't know you then they would be least likely to be interacting--due to the common fear of not knowing you and not knowing if you have high tech capabilities of tracking them. And they are probably totally unaware of all the ideas that were mentioned to you here in other posts if they don't know much about computers. 

What it all boils down to is that this person doesn't appear to be "computer smart" as I mentioned. So, maybe you can use that in your favor. Use a scare tactic that will cause them to give it back...For example, such as leaving a message to them that you have located where the laptop is from a custom gps device and they have a certain amount of time to return it to a "such and such" location before the police take action. And that there will be no charges filed if it's returned in good condition. (You certainly don't want to them to dump in a dumpster out of fear). I have never heard of gps used for computers, but they may fall for it.

Well I hope this helps. This is just my opinion and I could be totally off track and wrong, but I just felt compelled to suggest this to you. Good luck.

Re: tracking a stolen laptop

uhm.... just as a computer savy person knows the risks they run in contacting your friends on AIM, a computer savy person knows how to reduce or eliminate those risks.

Re: tracking a stolen laptop

Thiefs are usually dumb and make mistakes, regardless of how computer savy they are. There is no perfect crime. But, yes, people can reduce most risks if they know what they are doing.

Anyways, for people who use laptops--I read today that 95% of stolen laptops are never recovered. The ones that are recovered are use tracking software that were installed prior to losing the laptop. So, if you have a laptop, consider getting tracking software.


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