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bigjnyc

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,619
3,969
After a quick search didn't see this posted anywhere.

Brooklyn man tracks stolen laptop using anti-theft software ... and finds its new owner surfing porn

By REBECCA HARSHBARGER

Last Updated: 6:00 AM, August 9, 2012

Posted: 2:07 AM, August 9, 2012

A Brooklyn man who lost his $3,000 MacBook to a burglar used anti-crime software to track it down — but then watched helplessly as a smut lover used it to surf porn Web sites.

“I spent three weeks knowing where my computer was and couldn’t do anything about it,’’ said 27-year-old Bryan Neilon. “It was extremely frustrating.’’

Neilon, a supervisor for Hearst Digital Media, hacked into the computer and tracked it to 100 feet or so from its actual location.

He also learned more than he ever wanted to know about the user and what turned him on.

“He was using my computer to look at porn,” said Neilon.

“He was [also] looking up real estate in Buffalo and how to get a Bangladeshi passport,’’ Neilon said. “He was looking up someone’s school grades in Bangladesh.

“She was failing three classes,” he disclosed.

Neilon said the thief who stole his computer in November had climbed a fire escape and gotten into his apartment on Pacific Street in Crown Heights through a window. The burglar also made off with guitars, credit cards, a passport and Social Security card.

Neilon replaced the computer.

But he forgot about the free anti-crime software he had installed on it until last month — when the company sent him an e-mail asking him to renew the subscription.

When he logged into the program, called Prey, it began sending him reports about activity on the computer, sometimes as often as every 10 minutes.

“The reports give you all kinds of info about what’s happening on the computer — current users logged in, screen shots, GPS stuff, Webcam photo, open programs, wireless info,” said Neilon.

Within minutes, he had pinpointed the machine’s location on Crescent Street, produced screen shots of the sites the user had been accessing, and even snapped a picture of the man. “It was really unnerving that my Web cam was taking pictures of him and he’s looking at porn,” said Neilon.

He turned all the information over to cops in the 77th Precinct, but grew frustrated when police did not immediately recover the computer. The camera showed the computer in an apartment, but there was no apartment building at that location.

“The software helps. It’s a huge help. [But] it’s not exact,” said a police source familiar with the case. “Part of the trouble was finding a good address.”

Last Friday, detectives located the right building, camped out in front of it and confronted the user — a construction worker — when he returned from work.

The man, whose name is being withheld by The Post because he was not charged with a crime, said he’d been given the computer by his 14-year-old nephew, who paid $500 for it on the street.

He gave back the computer, apologized and was not arrested.

Both he and the boy are now cooperating with an investigation to find the people selling stolen property, a source said.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/mac_jacked_n0Su3Thgg5pOr676Yl0qkK#ixzz233MH10xX
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 604
Original poster
Apr 10, 2008
6,619
3,969
That's great to see. I have Prey running on my rMBP. Can't go wrong. It's free after all.

wow it's free, that's pretty cool. Combine that with iCloud's find my mac which I think will pinpoint the location a little better, and you give yourself a chance to recover your lost macbook.
 
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Auzburner

macrumors 65816
Apr 11, 2008
1,255
1
Syracuse, NY - USA
wow it's free, that's pretty cool. Combine that with iCloud's find my mac which I think will pinpoint the location a little better, and you give yourself a chance to recover your lost macbook.

preyproject.com

There are some additional paid features, but not necessary.
 
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Interstella5555

macrumors 603
Jun 30, 2008
5,219
12
But he forgot about the free anti-crime software he had installed on it until last month — when the company sent him an e-mail asking him to renew the subscription.

He turned all the information over to cops in the 77th Precinct, but grew frustrated when police did not immediately recover the computer. The camera showed the computer in an apartment, but there was no apartment building at that location.

“The software helps. It’s a huge help. [But] it’s not exact,” said a police source familiar with the case. “Part of the trouble was finding a good address.”

Last Friday, detectives located the right building, camped out in front of it and confronted the user — a construction worker — when he returned from work.

Neilon, a supervisor for Hearst Digital Media, hacked into the computer and tracked it to 100 feet or so from its actual location.


Sorry, reading between the lines I'm not quite as inspired by this story as the rest of you.
 
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MTShipp

macrumors 6502a
Mar 25, 2009
710
106
Raleigh, North Carolina
I was debating myself between Prey and Undercover for my new rMBP.

I settled on UC and installed it on all 4 of my Macs. Yes, I know Prey is free (non-Pro) but the recent v5 update to UC made it more enticing to me. Plus installing it on 4 Macs which effectively makes the cost $14.75 per device a good deal IMHO.

Seeing these stories of recovery is good to know. I just wonder how many are "protected" by Prey, UC, or anything else, and are not able to be recovered?
 
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Rocky244

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2012
162
1
This title makes it sound like the man tracked down the laptop and walked in on this guy doing the dirty...

While still significantly weird, DEFINITELY not as weird as it seemed.
 
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striker33

macrumors 65816
Aug 6, 2010
1,098
2
Tbh I wouldnt feel safe having all that software on my computer either.

Yeah you might have your laptop stolen one day, but thats what house insurance is for.
 
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Rockoar

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2012
193
9
Not all house insurance cover a stolen laptop, and specially not one that cost $2800+.

When using things like Pray or Undercover, you must create a guest account right? if not how are they able to use the computer? :confused:
 
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cookiesnfooty

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2009
421
11
Harrogate
What I don't get with this software then is the fact if your Mac is passworded you either need a complete reinstall or to do the admin password hack.

Surely this would wipe out the ability to use this software?

Also as others pointed out if the software is free why would they receive an email about renewing?
 
Comment

Rockoar

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2012
193
9
What I don't get with this software then is the fact if your Mac is passworded you either need a complete reinstall or to do the admin password hack.

Surely this would wipe out the ability to use this software?

Also as others pointed out if the software is free why would they receive an email about renewing?

This type of applications only work if you create a "guest" account which will allow the thief to use the laptop and then be able to be tracked down. If you only have one account -admin account- then it doesn't matter how good your retrieving app is, it will be useless.
 
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kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
"Hmmm, even though the serial numbers match, mine was a black MacBook and this one is white. Wait a minute..."
 
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whoknows87

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2012
675
30
S.Florida
the name of the software scares me lol, I'll settle for find my Mac, interesting read sounds like the guy didn't have a clue it was a stolen laptop happens all the time , craigslist, eBay is filled with stolen goods you the buyer might know, in this case it was a giveaway who sells a a Mac for 400-500 unless it's stolen or something is damaged
 
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