If you’re going to steal a laptop, make sure you know who you’re dealing with — one London teenager accused of stealing a laptop during the recent London riots certainly didn’t do his homework on who he was robbing.
Greg Martin, an IT security specialist and former FBI and NASA employee, came home to his West Kensington apartment last Wednesday to find that his place had been ransacked and his MacBook Pro was stolen.
Martin, who runs a blog called InfoSecurity 2.0, was obviously the wrong person to be stealing a laptop from — he had previously installed an open source tracking software called Prey on his computer. The free software “lets you keep track of your phone or laptop at all times, and will help you find it if it ever gets lost or stolen,” the product’s website states.
A self-described hacker, Martin wrote on his blog:
“Almost two weary days had gone by [since the robbery], and I’m at dinner on a business trip in Luxembourg, and I received an email which nearly knocked me out of my chair with excitement.”
The robber had finally logged on to the laptop — Martin went back to his hotel to stake out and gather evidence against the thief.
After two hours of watching the laptop thief surf the Internet, Martin was able to collect information on the man’s name, school, address, IP address, Internet service provider, wireless access point and Facebook ID number.
The thief’s Facebook information was the deciding piece of information for Martin — he sent the information on to the London Metro police and went to bed.
After details about the thief — identified as Soheil Khalilfar, 18 — were released to the police, the man’s apartment was raided and the laptop was recovered and returned to Martin.
Modern day thieves are at a much higher risk of being caught with the pervasiveness of technology.
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