|09 Oct 2012||#1|
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To catch a thief, with spyware
Identity of faux thief is revealed in a matter of hours in CNET experiment with LoJack for Laptops.
If you have ever had a laptop or smartphone stolen, you probably found yourself fantasizing about capturing the thief red-handed. I know I did when I lost my smartphone last year.
I used the Lookout mobile security service to locate where the phone was on a map and made it "scream" a few times. But I didn't want to knock on a stranger's door all by myself and ask if they had my phone, and the battery had died by the time I could take someone with me. I just wasn't sure I was ready for a confrontation based on approximate GPS location tracking.
But some device recovery services let you spy on whoever snatched your laptop or phone. For instance, LoJack for Laptops allows investigators to watch what a thief might be doing in real time, checking e-mail, conducting Google searches, and so on -- activities that in most cases can lead police straight to the device. Apparently, even thieves can't resist the urge to log on to social-networking sites.
"When they get to a password prompt, to get through they reinstall Windows," said Geoff Glave, a senior product manager at Vancouver-based Absolute Software, which makes LoJack for Laptops. "But the app is there and turned on when they brag on Facebook about stealing a cool laptop."
Curious to see how the monitoring worked, we got a loaner Dell Latitude E6430 laptop from Absolute Software that has the program on it. I had a colleague hand it off to her brother to play thief with it. He used it for a short while one night and by the next morning Absolute had identified him, figured out where he lives, who his family members are, what school he attends, and other sensitive data that must have surprised him.
To catch a thief, with spyware | Security & Privacy - CNET News
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