sean finney on 14 Jul 2010 05:31:53 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Laptop recovery--useful data to collect?

hi gordon,

sounds fun!

On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 10:01:52PM -0400, Gordon Dexter wrote:
> I'm setting up my Eee 901 netbook with a 'phone-home' type shell
> script that will collect various data in the event that it is
> stolen.  I used to have Adeona but I found that DHT is no longer
> working, and that didn't get webcam shots anyways, so I thought I'd
> roll my own.  The script will check for a certain subdomain that I
> will only create when the laptop is stolen, and then make a tarball
> with info that might help me find the thief and get my laptop back.
> So far I'm getting
> *webcam frame grabs using streamer
> *screen captures with scrot
> *wireless network scan (iwlist)
> *IP address and routing info of course

here's a few ideas off the top of my head:

 * traceroute to
 * reverse-ip lookups (i.e. ask something on the net what your
   address is, since you could likely be behind a private NAT)
 * recent web browser history
 * (perhaps selective) x/keylogging

if it's stolen and running linux there's a pretty good chance that
they'll go "what's this" shortly before wiping and reinstalling anyway,
but if you sneak it into the at-boot sequence you might be more lucky
and get a successful run of the script before they do so.  maybe put
something in the resume-from-suspend scripts area too, in case your
laptop gets swiped while in suspend mode.

with the wireless network list (essid's + AP mac addresses), you can
probably do some rough geopositioning... i think there's some web-based
services that can let you do this though i've never used them.

oh, and i don't know if this model supports it, but some newer laptops
and netbooks have a slot for a built-in wireless modem + sim card.
you could buy a cheap prepaid sim card and have a real "phone home"
system, maybe some remote sms-activation, and maybe even some cell
tower triangulation.



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