Burglary victim remotely controls his stolen laptop to photograph thief – and then hands image to police who arrest him
Posted June 2, 2011on:
A designer who had his laptop stolen helped police by using a spy camera programme to take pictures and catch the thief red-handed.
Joshua Kaufman thought he had lost his Apple MacBook when a thief broke into his apartment and stole the computer in March.
And with police giving his burglary report a low priority, he was resigned to never recovering the expensive laptop until he remembered the software he had installed on his MacBook.
Using ‘Hidden’ software, he remotely took pictures of the thief using his stolen computer – before handing the evidence to police to make an arrest.
Mr Kaufman captured the thief in a variety of bizarre locations – including using the stolen MacBook in bed, and in his car.
‘Hidden’ also provided him with location information, which police in Oakland, California, used to identify the thief as a taxi driver.
Officers then caught the thief by arranging for a ‘pick up’ from his car firm and arresting the man when he appeared in person.
Mr Kaufman said he started using the software once he realised his laptop had been stolen when the thief got into his apartment through an open window on Monday, March 21.
He also lost a Kindle and some jewellery stuffed into a computer bag.
Mr Kaufman said: ‘The following Thursday I started getting images and location information.
‘I was amazed. I was, like, this thing actually works!’
The thief was captured using Mr Kaufman’s computer to browse Middle Eastern music videos, changing the laptop’s account information and even typing a password to get on Facebook.
Joshua Kaufman was able to track down his stolen MacBook thanks to a security application called Hidden.
Hidden is a theft tracking application for the Mac operating system
After installing the Hidden software, it lies dormant on the computer until the user goes to the Hidden website to report it stolen, activating the tracking software.
It can not only take pictures of the thief using the built-in webcam, but also send screenshots of the computer in use, internet history and the machine’s location plotted on Google maps.
Hidden’s makers boast that their software works worldwide, so whether the computer is stolen in London, New York or Buenos Aires, its owner can track it down and get it back.
To get the most out of hidden, the developers recommend setting up and enabling a separate password-free guest account.
This runs contrary to the usual computer security advice, but it makes sense with Hidden. The thief must actually be able to use the computer so the software can gather the information it needs to track it.
With all the information captured, all that remains to be done is to call in the police.
Almost 90% of our laptops have an open webcam built in. Imagine the Possibities.. How easily is for someone to spy on you? Just type webcam spy on google..