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Some perl scripts to help track stolen computers
Authored by: bankshot on Aug 28, '06 08:18:59PM

Oh, man. I just recently wrote a script for my Macbook to do similar things to what Undercover does if it's ever stolen. I'd been meaning to clean it up a bit so that I could release it to the public and maybe submit a hint here.

My script seems similar to what's posted here (I haven't looked at these yet) in that it uses screencapture and isightcapture to send pictures. Where it differs is that it works in conjunction with some web hosting space I have. To avoid sending myself constant pictures of the desktop and my ugly mug, I have it first check a file on my own webspace. If that file contains the text "1" that means the laptop is stolen. The script then takes pictures and sends them (in my case it uploads them to my web space via a CGI script running on the web server; it could also very easily just email them). If the file on the web server contains anything but a "1", the laptop is not considered stolen so it does nothing.

Like I said, I haven't cleaned this up to generalize it and make it nice and easy to install, and it also requires that you have your own CGI-enabled webspace (though you could easily change it to skip that and use email instead). If anyone's interested, I suppose I could just post a link to what I have so far.



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Some perl scripts to help track stolen computers
Authored by: dille on Aug 29, '06 04:38:35AM

While I understand the thought behind the "check for 1-ness at my webspace", it also means that if your machine is stolen, you need immediate access to the net.
What if it's stolen at night, while you're sleeping? You won't update your site, so your laptop won't report anything, possibly (probably?) missing that oh-so precious first camshot =]



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Some perl scripts to help track stolen computers
Authored by: joh on Aug 29, '06 06:36:44AM

I have thought about this, too. The most simple and flexible way would be to add some simple script that runs on boot (and/or on wake and then regularly) and tries to download and execute another script from your webserver. As long as the notebook isn't stolen, the file isn't there. If it gets stolen, you upload the file (which may contain commands to gather information, take a screenshot and send it somewhere) and you have an actual way to do whatever you want with the machine.

The nice thing is that this way you can add things to your script even *after* the notebook has been stolen, since the stolen Mac will download it. In the worst case (you notice too late that the machine has been stolen and don't upload a file soon enough before the thief reinstalls the machine) you'll still have an IP-address logged if the thief is dumb enough to go online with it at least once.



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Some perl scripts to help track stolen computers
Authored by: moxieboy on Aug 29, '06 07:34:05AM

This could open the door to someone running malicious code. I'd be very cautious about running code from the web, no-questions-asked, even if you do control the webspace.



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