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A friend of mine's laptop stolen. Any ideas how to backtrace it?

Posted on 2011-03-23
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
Hi there;

A friend of mine's laptop stolen. Any ideas how to backtrace it?

The OS is Win 7.

Kind regards.
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Question by:jazzIIIlove
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jimmyray7 earned 72 total points
ID: 35202748
Unless he had some monitoring/tracking software installed *before* the laptop was stolen, the odds of tracing it are slim.  Even then, a sophisticated criminal could have wiped the hard drive.

Best bet is to file a police report with the serial number and hope it turns up at a pawn shop.
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by:Rick
Rick earned 72 total points
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Can you remote into it and access the webcam?
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by:jamietoner
jamietoner earned 142 total points
ID: 35202764
If you didn't have a trace program installed or a software to remote into it before it was stolen then no its most likely gone.
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by:AriMc
AriMc earned 142 total points
ID: 35202774
If the computer had some tracing software "calling home" installed before it got stolen, there might be a slim chance and even that assumes there was no passwords required to use the computer.

If there was a password required to login, then the harddisk will probably be formatted and a new instance of OS and software installed so even any pre-installed tracing software won't help.

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by:jazzIIIlove
ID: 35202795
what about mac address? How unique is that?

Kind regards.
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by:AriMc
AriMc earned 142 total points
ID: 35202816
Theoretically MAC-address is unique to each computer but it is not visible beyond the local network where the computer is connected to so unless the thief connects the stolen computer to the same LAN where you are, you won't be able to identify it with that.



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by:jazzIIIlove
ID: 35202877
what kind of surveillance tools should be installed to prevent/find the computer being stolen? I mean ok, wiping OS finishes everything, but what should be installed to be proactive?

Kind regards
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by:jamietoner
jamietoner earned 142 total points
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by:David-Howard
David-Howard earned 72 total points
ID: 35203071
Lojack (as mentioned) is good. However, if you want to protect any data that resides on your system once it is stolen, lost, etc. I suggest this.
http://www.mcafee.com/us/products/data-protection/endpoint-encryption.aspx
It used to be known as SafeBoot. And I can tell you from experience (working in a financial institution) that you can't be it for data encryption.
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