The figures are staggering. Close to 1 million laptops stolen each year. More than 12,000 laptops are left in airports each year. Our, always on, mobile lifestyle is causing those figures to skyrocket.
Loosing a device costing close to $2,000.00 can be a jolting experience, but the loss of data and identity can be devastating, even life changing. An astonishing 97% are never recovered.
Not long after the release of PC Matic, we received an interesting request through our Customer Service Department. One of our PC Matic users was the victim of theft. His laptop had been stolen. He contacted us to see if it would be possible to trace the laptop using PC Matic. The answer was yes.
Access your PC Matic account from any PC , log into your account, schedule one or as many scans as you like. When the thief uses your laptop and connects to the Internet, the scan will run. The IP address is recorded and BINGO, you have the location of your laptop.
If the location is a public place, like the local Starbucks, it’s an easy matter for authorities to view the store’s surveillance tape. PC Matic provides not only the location but the time that the scan was run. If the IP turns out to be a private residence, that’s even better.
Since this first request we have had several more victims come to us. Scheduling multiple scans will increase the chance of catching the laptop plugged in and connected. You can actually schedule a scan for every hour if you like. Once the scan has completed it’s a simple matter to provide the IP to law enforcement.
Here’s an example of the most recent request.
Posted on: Oct 08, 2010 12:56 PM
I am a current user of PC Pitstop and my laptop was stolen from my residence on Monday. I am trying to see if we can force PC Pitstop to run on the stolen computer and then obtain the IP
address from where the computer sent the data from. Can you assist me with this.
Thank you for contacting PC Pitstop Customer Service.
Which laptop was stolen, XXXXX or YYYYY Both laptops have weekly scans scheduled. If you receive an email that a scan was successful, let us know and we can look at the data that
was captured and see if there was a useful IP address.
PC Pitstop LLC
On 10/8/2010 4:57 PM, Andy Tuch wrote:
There is a computer under this account named YYYYY that completed a scheduled test at 11:40am today. I’m not sure if this was the stolen computer or not, but the IP Address was
18.104.22.168. The IP Address from the test run on Sept 1st was 22.214.171.124. None of the other PCs on the account have been run since Monday though. If they do get an email, let me
know and I’ll run the query again to get the IP Address.
This is not the complete exchange that took place and the information has been changed to protect privacy but you get the picture. It’s surprising that the thieves aren’t smart enough to avoid being traced, but then again, anyone dumb enough to steal a laptop isn’t very smart to begin with
When we designed PC Matic it never crossed our minds that the program could be used in this way, but we’re very happy that PC Matic can supply the information needed to track, find, and recover stolen laptops.
One other thing, don’t forget to notify your local authorities as soon as you are aware of the theft. Fill out a report immediately. If your laptop turns up in another city it will be much easier for local authorities to contact the proper agency.