IP address to recover stolen computer?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by chainprayer, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. chainprayer macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #1
    How easy is it to use a currently known IP address to recover a stolen computer? If I can get a ping from my computer telling me its IP address is this something the police can use? Do they even know how to use it?

    Thanks!
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Given the fact that most ISP's don't assign a static IP address to your computer, but rather [re]use dynamic IPs, I'd say the odds are very small.

    If this was remotely possible, the police would be doing this more often but given the fact you never hear about such recoverys also lends to the idea its not a feasible solution.

    On paper it makes sense but actually implementing is another story.

    Sorry about your loss :(
     
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #3
    That does suck. I take it you didn't have any lojack type app on it? I know I don't so I am not sure how they really work.
     
  4. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #4
    ISPs keep logs of who has what IP and when, so if they know someone had a certain IP and at what time they had it, the ISP could go back and find out who had it. But it's not that simple because police departments usually don't bother, it usually requires a subpoena, ISPs just won't hand that information over easily. So it's possible, but laptop theft isn't a big enough crime for them to do it.
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    I'm not sure if the ISPs can really help you.

    Maybe I'm not understanding things, but say I have verizion dsl and at the moment I have an IP address of 155.00.00.10. The thief has comcast and when he hooks the stolen laptop to his cable modem, he's assigned an IP address of 170.00.00.10

    How will knowing the old IP address be helpful to the police when verizon already reused the IP address. If you know the MAC address and possibly the ISP the thief is using, then maybe its more feasible but I don't think you can view the IP address and a permanent and static identifier.

    Again, maybe I'm missing something in the whole equation, and if so, please let me know - I've been wrong before ;).
     
  6. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #6
    I think the idea is if you get the new IP, the 170.00.00.10, could it be useful for anything, and while it could be traced back to a user, an ISP won't give up that information easily.
     
  7. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #7
    yg17 mentioned it, but Internet providers keep logs showing who had which IP address, and for how long.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    But how would the victim know that his stolen laptop now has an IP address of 170.00.00.10? All he knows was his old address of 155.00.00.10 which his ISP already reused.

    I understand the point about ISPs keeping logs, but I'm missing something about how useful it will be, because in my (twisted) logic, the 155.00.00.10 isn't going to help you since the ISP may have reassigned it and/or the thief is using a different ISP in which case the victim has no idea what his laptop's IP address is.

    Just because he can ping his old IP address is not sufficient to jump to the conclusion its his computer - at least I don't think so.

    I'm not trying to be difficult, its just that I'm missing something.
     
  9. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #9
    If he set something up on his laptop (before it was stolen) to ping something or send out its current IP he can get it. If no such thing was set up, he's SOL.
     
  10. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #10
    Maybe Using Back to My Mac? Or maybe his Mail.app uses gmail (which will show you the last 5 IP addresses used to access your account)?
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    That sounds feasible, I suppose.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Agreed, and based on the OPs post, its not entirely clear that was done.
     
  13. toolbox macrumors 68020

    toolbox

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Location:
    Australia (WA)
    #13
    Having said that from past experience they will not give them to the general public, i have tried this in the past may be its just the ISP i am with !
     
  14. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #14
    You've either got a rookie or an idiot on your hands if they boot in and connect to a non-public wireless network. Having had computers stolen from my house before, I suggest you keep an insurance policy and a strong password for your files rather than trying to track down the goods after the fact - its just not going to happen unless you get a real dumbass.
     

Share This Page