How to retrieve a stolen laptop

Hello all I got home the other day to discover that I had been robbed blind, everything that is worth anything is now gone. Now my question is, is there anyway to tell where my laptop is because if I can find that I am almost positive that it will lead me to everything else. I unfortunatly didn’t install any software that would make this easy so is there anything that is pre-installed on opensuse 11.2 that would aid me in this or am I s.o.l? Thanks

I’m sorry to read of your loss.

IMHO this is not likely possible if you did not set things up in advance.

But at the risk of us in our forum chatting about methods HOW to “close the barn door BEFORE the horse has gone” it might be useful for this (or a new thread) to discuss ways how to do this.

I confess the only way I know off the top of my head is to (1) setup the web cam to automatically upload images to the Internet (to take images of someone using the laptop) and (2) I think it is also possible setup a cron job to automatically populate dyndns with the ip address of the laptop anytime the laptop is switched ON the Internet. BUT that must be done in advance. Also, my technique for populating dyndns with a cron job long since stopped working for me openSUSE-11.1, and I never bothered to learn why nor learn how to fix it.

Yes that is what I thought, I’ve done extensive research on the issue and thought that I might be missing something…guess not, if I do retrieve it that’ll be the first thing that I do…thanks anyway

Having physical access to a machine as a big security risk aside, use of good security schemes usually prevents anyone from operating the Linux on the system without knowing exactly what they’re doing. So only if they keep the system on and repeatedly try to gain access, run at boot routines may not even help with the webcam post to web technique. Of course if it has dual boot, the thief will have lots of ways to crack into the machine but … this all said, most thieves will just wipe the Laptop hdd or try a disk sector scanner to try and access the data.

A few years back, there was a GPS transponder built into models of the Compaq and Toshiba lines but it required a subscription. As far as I know it moved into obscurity but I might be wrong. How it worked, was the BIOS would look for the transponder code in it’s set-up and if found would send a GPS transmit of the system ident. A GPS monitoring system would check the ident against local theft ident’s and report the location of the stolen product in much the same way as GM’s Onstar can report the location of a GM vehicle that has had a crash or been stolen.

much the same way as GM’s Onstar can report the location of a GM vehicle that has had a crash or been stolen.

Great if you need, not so great when you don’t!:wink:
Hence I pulled the plug on my GM Onstar.
Not that I get up to funny business. But I do prefer not to have my every move tracked.

I’m sure sympathetic to our OP. There are some real ‘tools’ in this world and they really need to ‘get a life’. I just hope you didn’t keep all your sensitive files there.

With the machines that come by me - I can tell you, most folk have no clue how to secure their info.

To try to kick start a thread on this, I surfed for a few minutes and stumbled across this:

  • Prey software an open source software package. Their website is here for Prey
  • Linux anti theft net which is a site where one registers and installs their software. I suspect the software is NOT open source, but I do not know …

I have not had the chance yet to read up on these packages so I do not know anything about them yet.

Hi
I’m having a play with prey… hopefully will get it packaged up and
tested and on the OBS after the outage…


Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel 2.6.32.12-0.7-default
up 1 day 4:11, 3 users, load average: 0.11, 0.05, 0.02
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 256.35

Thanks. I’ll stay tuned.

I confess to being curious. :slight_smile:

Hi
Here you go;
http://software.opensuse.org/search?q=prey&baseproject=openSUSE%3A11.2&lang=en&exclude_debug=true

I have added a SUSE specific ability to do the configuration with
the /etc/sysconfig editor in YaST (no command line necessary… :wink: )
http://thumbnails25.imagebam.com/8613/ddda8c86127700.jpg](http://www.imagebam.com/image/ddda8c86127700)

Logon to the website and set your system up first to get the API and
Device keys to enter, then run the menu item, this will ask for the
root password and setup a cron job running every 20 minutes. You can
verify by running prey with sudo or login to a root shell and run
crontab -l.

You can then login to the website and configure the system… I have
yet to play with the standalone bit and may need to do more work on
the rpm for that. But at least it’s something to play with.


Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel 2.6.32.12-0.7-default
up 1 day 12:44, 3 users, load average: 0.51, 0.54, 0.29
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 256.35

Fantastic!!! Thanks Malcom. :slight_smile:

malcolmlewis wrote:
> I have added a SUSE specific ability to do the configuration with
> the /etc/sysconfig editor in YaST (no command line necessary… :wink: )
> http://thumbnails25.imagebam.com/8613/ddda8c86127700.jpg](http://www.imagebam.com/image/ddda8c86127700)
>
> Logon to the website and set your system up first to get the API and
> Device keys to enter, then run the menu item, this will ask for the
> root password and setup a cron job running every 20 minutes. You can
> verify by running prey with sudo or login to a root shell and run
> crontab -l.
>
> You can then login to the website and configure the system… I have
> yet to play with the standalone bit and may need to do more work on
> the rpm for that. But at least it’s something to play with.

i nominate threatingbehaviour to write the proposed how-to install
laptop tracking software to promote recovery after theft…


DenverD (Linux Counter 282315)
CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD
posted via NNTP w/TBird 2.0.0.23 | KDE 3.5.7 | openSUSE 10.3
2.6.22.19-0.4-default SMP i686
AMD Athlon 1 GB RAM | GeForce FX 5500 | ASRock K8Upgrade-760GX |
CMedia 9761 AC’97 Audio

Lets all hope his insurance helps pay for the replacement costs of the stolen laptop …

oldcpu wrote:
> Lets all hope his insurance helps pay for the replacement costs of the
> stolen laptop …

of course i do that…i just thought since his question was the seed
that led to Malcolm’s work, that he should have the honor of doing the
how-to…(once he has put the good on his new insurance purchased
lappy, he will be most qualified to contribute, in that way)

no?


DenverD (Linux Counter 282315)
CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD
posted via NNTP w/TBird 2.0.0.23 | KDE 3.5.7 | openSUSE 10.3
2.6.22.19-0.4-default SMP i686
AMD Athlon 1 GB RAM | GeForce FX 5500 | ASRock K8Upgrade-760GX |
CMedia 9761 AC’97 Audio

Has anyone been successful with this yet? Thus far, using the registration web site, I have been unsuccessful.

I keep getting this message when I test:


/usr/share/prey/prey.sh --check

 -- CHECK MODE ENABLED.

 ### PREY 0.3.73 spreads its wings!
 ### Linux dell 2.6.31.12-0.2-desktop #1 SMP PREEMPT 2010-03-16 21:25:39 +0100 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

 -- Looking for connection...
 -- Got network connection!

 >> Verifying Prey installation...

 -- Checking if cron daemon is running...
 -- Cron daemon found.
 -- Checking for crontab entry...
 -- Found!

 >> Verifying API and Device keys...

 ** API key is valid. Your user account is correctly set up.
 !! Device key not valid!
 -> We couldn't find this device on your Control Panel account. Please reconfigure your settings, or reinstall if necessary.

but I have checked at least a half dozen times (I copied and pasted 3 or 4 times) the Device key so I know it is correct !

I’m thinking a software bug ?

I think it is a software bug, … but despite my having stated that, it does not appear to matter, as the software is working.

I flagged the laptop as missing, and after 20 minutes I received an email saying it had a report on my laptop and it sent me to the prey website report location for my laptop. I went there and I noted that the prey software ended up taking a picture of some ugly person sitting in front of the laptop with a puzzled frown on their face, and it uploaded that pix (plus the person’s IP-address) to the web site. All that was missing was the handle of the person (I think their handle is “slowcpu” ). :slight_smile:

Just to complete the post, here is the image that was uploaded: ImageBam - Fast, Free Image Hosting and Photo Sharing

Thanks I will be contacting hp about the gps tracking software as it was a compaq computer, though it might be awhile on the how-to as I don’t have insurance and a low paying job (I’m typing this from an iPod touch it’s the only thing they didn’t get as it was with me at the time of the robbery) I hope I am able to recover it as most of my info wasn’t secured…didn’t plan on getting robbed but then again who does? Hope all works out well

LOL, so how did you find using YaST to configure? I thought it would be
a pain for users to dig into the bowels of the system to add some
numbers etc?


Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (x86_64) Kernel 2.6.32.12-0.7-default
up 1 day 21:03, 2 users, load average: 0.20, 0.06, 0.01
GPU GeForce 8600 GTS Silent - Driver Version: 256.35

That worked good for me. Real good.

I do recall there was a time not so many years ago when I was terrified to go into YaST > System > /etc/sysconfig Editor, and I would not naturally look there for a place to tune an application. So we probably need to put this pointer (to do the tuning in YaST) on “threatingbehaviour’s future Prey how-to”. :slight_smile:

I’m pondering if I should use the Prey web site. I note it is possibly open to abuse by the Prey webmaster (if they were so inclined to spy) and so I may just set up the alternate method site instead.

On Sat, 26 Jun 2010 11:06:01 GMT, techwiz03
<techwiz03@no-mx.forums.opensuse.org> wrote:

>
>Having physical access to a machine as a big security risk aside, use of
>good security schemes usually prevents anyone from operating the Linux
>on the system without knowing exactly what they’re doing. So only if
>they keep the system on and repeatedly try to gain access, run at boot
>routines may not even help with the webcam post to web technique. Of
>course if it has dual boot, the thief will have lots of ways to crack
>into the machine but … this all said, most thieves will just wipe the
>Laptop hdd or try a disk sector scanner to try and access the data.
>
>A few years back, there was a GPS transponder built into models of the
>Compaq and Toshiba lines but it required a subscription. As far as I
>know it moved into obscurity but I might be wrong. How it worked, was
>the BIOS would look for the transponder code in it’s set-up and if found
>would send a GPS transmit of the system ident. A GPS monitoring system
>would check the ident against local theft ident’s and report the
>location of the stolen product in much the same way as GM’s Onstar can
>report the location of a GM vehicle that has had a crash or been stolen.

A technical clarification: The terrestrial segment of GPS is receive
only. The reporting function is done via GPRS or similar cell phone
based data service.