Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?

Started May 6, 2012 | Discussions
noirdesir
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Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
May 6, 2012

My 13" 2009 MBP got stolen yesterday. Does any of you know of places where to register serial numbers of stolen devices (apart from the police)? And does anybody know whether you can get more precise information from the Find My Mac/iPhone, eg, an IP address. Find My Mac was able to locate my device for a moment but it simply indicted it as being inside my university.

Howard Moftich
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to noirdesir, May 6, 2012

if you knew what the machine's MAC address was, you could possibly get university security to work w/ the IT/networking group to find that MAC on the univ's network.

sorry for your loss

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noirdesir
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to Howard Moftich, May 6, 2012

Howard Moftich wrote:

if you knew what the machine's MAC address was, you could possibly get university security to work w/ the IT/networking group to find that MAC on the univ's network.

Thanks, I already tried to initiate that, will see on Monday whether that will lead to anything.

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webfrasse
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to Howard Moftich, May 7, 2012

Next time...install tracking software

Undercover (paid), Prey (free) etc.

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Mikael

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Brad Durack
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to webfrasse, May 7, 2012

sorry mate, fresh instal of lion and your mac has a happy new owner...sad but true
--
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http://www.braddurack.com

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Tom_N
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to noirdesir, May 7, 2012

Did you purchase AppleCare at the same time as the MBP, or register the MBP online at the time that you unpacked it?

In either case, Apple might have a MAC address or other serial number in their records.

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noirdesir
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to webfrasse, May 7, 2012

webfrasse wrote:

Next time...install tracking software

Undercover (paid), Prey (free) etc.

I had Find My Mac enabled, ie, I had tracking software. It showed up twice, the day it was stolen in another university building for half an hour (and I did not have the foresight to call university security right away) and the about 48 hours after it was stolen in Innsbruck, Austria (ie, another country) at the railway station for two hours. As I already mentioned in another thread, the local police did not want to act (not without an official request from the Swiss police and not without a more specific location).

Of course, I wished I had software installed that also took pictures.

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webfrasse
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to Brad Durack, May 7, 2012

Not with a firmware password...

Besides...most thieves are not brilliant nor technical. If they can use the computer right away and start surfing they are happy so just leave a Guest account open with no password required and you'll see them start (porn)surfing right away. I have personally witnessed and captured remote screens of this on a friends stolen MBP that I helped track. The laptop was online pretty quick and all he did was watching porn...

Brad Durack wrote:

sorry mate, fresh instal of lion and your mac has a happy new owner...sad but true
--
Brad Durack . Photographer

http://www.braddurack.com

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Mikael

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webfrasse
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to webfrasse, May 16, 2012

I can also recommend Witness ( http://www.orbicule.com/witness/index.php ) from Orbicule.

It will turn your Mac into a surveillance camera as soon as you lock it and notify you if you have an iPhone, iOS app for remote locking and viewing of captured images/video. It's very cool as the iPhone app has a geo function that will automatically lock your Macs when you leave home and unlock them again when you return. The motion detection is very sensitive and captures someone immediately if the walk in front of the Mac.

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Mikael

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seeblue
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Found
In reply to noirdesir, May 16, 2012
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graybalanced
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Re: Stolen MBP - any place to 'register' SN of the device?
In reply to Brad Durack, May 16, 2012

webfrasse wrote:
Not with a firmware password...

Brad Durack wrote:

sorry mate, fresh instal of lion and your mac has a happy new owner...sad but true

Actually, if the thief is at the typical intelligence level of most thieves, they will not stop and take the time to reformat it, and if they put it on the Internet they could be caught, since there are several media accounts of this happening in the past few years.

On the other side of the intelligence line, if the thief is an advanced (not casual) Mac user, even a firmware password will not stop them from reformatting. It is not hard to learn how to bypass the firmware password through a minor hardware modification. (Apple assumes if the thief has physical access, all bets are off anyway.)

The reality is most thieves will not know advanced methods, and a fair amount will not think to reformat, and of those who do, they will need to know how to do it on the Mac, a minority platform.

Most likely of all? They will so drug-addled that they'll be far more interested in selling it as quickly as possible for cash, than in playing advanced Mac technician to reset the machine for their own use.

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noirdesir
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Re: Found
In reply to seeblue, May 16, 2012

seeblue wrote:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1017&message=41469579

Don't know if they returned it to him yet.

Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police, the Swiss embassy in Vienna and the Swiss police. Communicating with authorities can sometimes feel like talking to a black hole.

I also don't want to annoy them to much by calling them constantly but I might make another attempt in finding out what the timeline for the return to me would be.

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BRJR
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Re: " Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police .." (Is It Password Protected?)
In reply to noirdesir, May 20, 2012

And, did you at least have it password protected, so that someone can't use it??

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noirdesir wrote:

seeblue wrote:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1017&message=41469579

Don't know if they returned it to him yet.

Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police, the Swiss embassy in Vienna and the Swiss police. Communicating with authorities can sometimes feel like talking to a black hole.

I also don't want to annoy them to much by calling them constantly but I might make another attempt in finding out what the timeline for the return to me would be.

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noirdesir
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Re: " Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police .." (Is It Password Protected?)
In reply to BRJR, May 20, 2012

BRJR wrote:

And, did you at least have it password protected, so that someone can't use it??

As long as they keep it booted up they can use it (otherwise the thief would not have been able to use it and I would not have been able to track it). That is always the dilemma, do you keep it open so the thief might use it or do you lock everything down and then the thief won't be able to use it and with the computer powered off you cannot track it.

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webfrasse
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Re: " Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police .." (Is It Password Protected?)
In reply to noirdesir, May 21, 2012

That's why you leave the guest account open for anyone without a password. Never ever leave your account open when you leave your Mac...anywhere. I don't even leave it unlocked at home when I'm not in the room and definitely not at work...ever.

Must say that I'm surprised at these oversights by Mister Messerschmidt...

noirdesir wrote:

BRJR wrote:

And, did you at least have it password protected, so that someone can't use it??

As long as they keep it booted up they can use it (otherwise the thief would not have been able to use it and I would not have been able to track it). That is always the dilemma, do you keep it open so the thief might use it or do you lock everything down and then the thief won't be able to use it and with the computer powered off you cannot track it.

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Mikael

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graybalanced
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Re: " Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police .." (Is It Password Protected?)
In reply to webfrasse, May 21, 2012

Yeah the Guest account is a genius security move by Apple. It isn't enough access for a thief to get into the rest of the system or even use it practically since settings get wiped with every logout, but it's just enough access for the machine to be detectable if the thief puts it on the Internet.

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noirdesir
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Re: " Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police .." (Is It Password Protected?)
In reply to webfrasse, May 21, 2012

webfrasse wrote:

That's why you leave the guest account open for anyone without a password. Never ever leave your account open when you leave your Mac...anywhere. I don't even leave it unlocked at home when I'm not in the room and definitely not at work...ever.

Must say that I'm surprised at these oversights by Mister Messerschmidt...

I tend to be hopelessly optimistic at times, and I left the MBP in a locked office ... And I don't keep any really critical data on the laptop (no CC, no bank access, no unencrypted passwords).

And without full disk encryption, none of your data is really save. And the 'guest account' when using full disk encryption requires the thief to to do a reboot to use it, which it might not bother with disabling any tracking hope. I still intend to go for full disk encryption but I am waiting for the new MBPs before setting everything up.

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webfrasse
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Re: " Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police .." (Is It Password Protected?)
In reply to graybalanced, Jun 5, 2012
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graybalanced
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Re: " Nope, still somewhere between the Vienna police .." (Is It Password Protected?)
In reply to webfrasse, Jun 8, 2012

webfrasse wrote:

http://www.cultofmac.com/171518/man-uses-anti-theft-mac-software-to-catch-crook-red-handed-report/?utm_medium=twit&utm_campaign=spread-us

Yup, yet another of many examples of how low-end thieves will not be smart enough to reformat before putting a stolen Mac on the Internet. Anti-theft software and open honeypot guest accounts are a reasonable way to try and get a stolen Mac back.

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