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Can stolen computers be traced directly through the Internet?

  1. Jan 13, 2005 #1
    Does a virtual "LoJack" for computers exist? By means of their informational nature, does not a computer trade data concerning their identity with whomever they come in contact with? Such a communication, if it exists, could put an eventual damper on hardware cybertheft.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2005 #2
    if the computer has a network card there's alway the possibility of tracing it through the MAC address, which is unique to every network card out there. Not exactly a trivial task, but possible.

    In order for a computer 'LoJack' system to be effective, the computer itself would have to connected to a network or be able to broadcast a signal somehow. It would have to be something that's integrated into hardware and not easy to remove (software can always be deleted).

    Then someone would have to be able to detect the signal the stolen computer sends out. Locating it physically would be the next challenge. It's easy to tell if a computer is operating. Finding out where it's operating is the hard part.
  4. Jan 13, 2005 #3
    Well, you can always take the ethernet card out, or change the MAC address, Mac addys are administravely changeable
  5. Jan 13, 2005 #4


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    You can basically do what lo-jack does by installing a GPS device and a becon into the computer. If the computer is stolen you activate the becon and the GPS device will allow you to locate the computer.
  6. Jan 13, 2005 #5
    unless you rip of/out the becon ;-)
  7. Jan 13, 2005 #6


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    Not if it is built right into the motherboard.
  8. Jan 16, 2005 #7
    What's "lo-jack"? :confused:
  9. Jan 16, 2005 #8
    It is a beacon for your automobile that allows police to track and recover that automobile if you report it stolen. The name is a play on the word hijack.

  10. Jan 17, 2005 #9


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    A similar concept is the unique identifier now put on Intel chips. That was supposed to be for security purposes (internet ID theft deterrent) anyway.
  11. Aug 2, 2006 #10
    Ethernet ID

    How is that possible? Can my stolen Mac mini being traced by that?

  12. Aug 2, 2006 #11


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    Build a windows service that runs in the background, and at any time (like boot up) accesses a web page (a script) which logs information like IP, etc. I built such a service for my server, watch out. :)
  13. Aug 3, 2006 #12

    this company setup something like u sent an email to their server eveytime u log on to internet and they can trace where u from.
  14. Jun 2, 2011 #13


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    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2386305,00.asp" [Broken]

    No funny comments on necroposting either, hehe... and that includes you, Jimmy... this is a legitimate post.

    Nice to know such things exist, especially with students who fall victim to thieves in college and are tech savy, now, you have a way to protect yourselves and fight back.

    Rhody... :smile:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  15. Jun 2, 2011 #14
    Macs have similar software that has gained a lot of publicity recently.

    They track the computer and take pictures and a few reports have come in of people being arrested with it.

    I know iPhones have the same tech too, with a number of people being caught with them.
  16. Jun 2, 2011 #15


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    Isn't technology wonderful ?! Yep...

    Rhody... :smile:
  17. Jun 2, 2011 #16
    I've always been curious why nobody implemented it earlier. Seems like a no brainer now it's here...
  18. Jun 2, 2011 #17


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    There's a whole swack of device tracking software nowadays:

    The aforementioned PCPhoneHome is a rootkit that claims to be able to survive a format. LoJack resides in the BIOS / EFI.

    Nevertheless, sufficiently persistent thieves could probably work around these issues. It'd make theft cost-prohibitive (maybe), but it's not impossible to overcome.
  19. Jun 3, 2011 #18


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    I saw this story this morning and got a good laugh. These recovery stories are becoming more common as the software becomes more popular. Here's one of the snapshots that came from the stolen laptop. :rofl:
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/06/02/stolen.laptop.returned/index.html" [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  20. Jun 3, 2011 #19


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    That is almost as good as one of Jimmy Synder's zingers, thanks... You just made my day and it hasn't started yet ! What an ugly little twerp of a thief too.

    Rhody... :rofl:

    P.S. Long ago, on any home laptop I use, if I want privacy at home, I put a piece of tape over the camera in the top of the laptop. Now you can see why, even for rightful owners, too bad I can't disable the built in microphone as well.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  21. Jun 3, 2011 #20


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    Glad that you enjoyed it. He is pretty goofy looking.

    Here's another stupid criminal but, the owner didn't need tracking software.

    That's right. Not his own Facebook page but the victim's page. The picture should have included a sign saying please put me in jail.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  22. Jun 16, 2011 #21
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  23. May 4, 2012 #22
    As I know after computer is stolen it continue to run common tasks: check for email, go to startup page when browser opens, etc.
    And this activity is recorded to logs on mail server, startup page server, etc.
    You (or police) can contact these companies and ask for these logs/records so you will get IP address and time of connection - which point to new user of computer...
  24. May 16, 2012 #23
    Sorry, how can a "beacon" give GPS data?
  25. May 17, 2012 #24
    I am thinking to build a .NET based windows application that can send MAC id and IP information along with keylogs to a personal email address.
    I dont know how to take pics using webcam yet in .NET .

    Btw, My friend lost his laptop recently :(.
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