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Author Topic: Sad Weekend....  (Read 6841 times)
Codebyte
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« on: September 15, 2008, 04:39:39 PM »

Hey DC Friends,

Long time, no talk. Been really busy with college and everything... But I'm trying to stop in here and there just to catch up on the forums, etc...

This past weekend was probably one of my worst weekends of all time... I went out on Saturday night to go see that movie "Righteous Kill," which was amazing, and came back at 5:30am to my apartment only to find that it had been broken in to. I found out that my beautiful laptop had been stolen along with my flat screen TV... I was a mess and partially still am... That laptop had EVERYTHING on it.... including all of my source files for LineByter (www.codebyter.com/linebyter .) My parents ended up coming up just to help me out with everything for the weekend... I actually went out and bought this bad boy:

http://www.gateway.com/sy...ems/product/529668123.php


It's very nice and everything I could ask for in a notebook, hardware wise. Very good pricing too. Anyway, My University has the MAC address of my NIC and I was wondering if I could call the local ISP (Brighthouse Network) and see if they could monitor this MAC address to gain access to an IP address which could be tracked by the police? Idk if this is any good solution but I've already included the Serial numbers of the stolen software in the police statement, etc.

It has been quite a busy weekend and I have a couple of exams to study for still, lol. Reality hit me in the face... once again!
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2008, 04:45:49 PM »

Wow that has got to be extremely stressful. Damn these people.  This makes me so angry.

I think you did good to buy yourself a new laptop right away -- that's the way to keep your brain from obsessing about the one you lost.

Hang in there and just concentrate on your studies and try not to think about it too much.  Aside from having everything stolen you might also just be all stressed out over the fact that someone broke into your place and feel like you have to walk around in a hyper vigilant mode.  Damn these people i hope they get what's coming to them.  And as for you you just have to allow yourself to grieve for a bit and then try to just push on with your life and not let this get to you.

ABSOLUTELY get the mac and contact the ISP and see what they can do.. you could get lucky and it's worth a try.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 04:47:25 PM by mouser » Logged
allen
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2008, 06:20:56 PM »

Sorry to hear that . . . you have my sympathies.  I've lost a laptop in such a manner, myself.  I took it pretty hard, despite it being a dinosaur in need of replacing and having not lost much of real value. I am reminded: I seriously need to start backing things up more vigorously. (I still haven't learned, despite having a big "MY computer might be bricked" experience a month or two back...)
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Codebyte
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2008, 07:58:44 PM »

Thanks guys! Im doing just that mouser; walking around checking my apartment and what not constantly. So much lost work... Ugh, but ya... I'll keep at studies for sure, thanks for the support. smiley
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2008, 08:06:58 PM »

The truth is that there are good sides to this episode.  You lost a lot of important stuff.. but you didn't lose so much to make you have a nervous breakdown, and now you've learned how absolutely critically important it is to back stuff up regularly.

This lesson may save you one day, because you'll not let yourself get into a situation where your working on some giant project and you lose it all.  So consider this a wake up call -- a message from the universe telling you: Back up your data regularly.
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zridling
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2008, 08:27:33 PM »

Theft is unpreventable in many ways -- if they want it bad enough, they're coming in. But taking a man's laptop, that's just damn wrong.

I learned this harsh lesson via a bad storm back in 1992. I had spent the summer preparing for a new position teaching statistics at Indiana University when the day before classes started a massive electrical storm blew out the transformer at my cheap apartment and lightning struck the building, burning out all the wall sockets, and subsequently frying my bright new ($4200) PC! I spent the entire year working from behind and without a computer of my own, it was nearly impossible to do my job. I even had replacement insurance (along with a special rider) on that very machine, but when I went to my agent, he said: "Sure, get three estimates to average the cost of replacing your PC, you replace the machine, bring us the receipts, and we'll reimburse you in six months." I was broke, couldn't afford to do that, and PC-less for a year.

Mind you, I've never spend another GD nickel on insurance since that day!
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2008, 08:44:54 PM »

i am shocked to hear this. sorry for your loss, Codebyte. let us know if you need help with anything.
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mouser
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2008, 08:49:44 PM »

This event has inspired me to adjust my backup plans to anticipate a break in and theft.
This means i really to finally have to start using an online encrypted backup solution and/or a practice of hiding a backup drive in the house somewhere.
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allen
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2008, 09:05:49 PM »

Thanks guys! Im doing just that mouser; walking around checking my apartment and what not constantly.

Man, I hear you! A few weeks back, someone stole a GPS unit from my wife's car, her (old and broken, take that!) cell phone and my bottle of Bourbon (from the garage, not the car).  Materially, we lost almost nothing . . . but that kind of intrusion hits you at the core--great losses or no.
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Codebyte
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2008, 09:13:56 PM »

I have learned alot from this incident and it's very sad that I came home to it. I am grateful in a way that I did come home to it and wasnt sleeping when this happened because my life could have been at risk. However, it's one of those moments that I wish I had taser or something next to my bed and was home to stop the situation. The laptop was my high-school graduation gift (2 years old) so it was outdated anyways... but money is hard to come by in college... luckily, I have a wonderful family: my grandmother donated 500, my grandfather donated 500, and my parents paid the rest for me... i love them alot and will continue to thank them daily for their support. Had it not been for them, I wouldnt have been able to make this post... In fact, id be in my bed and staring at the ceiling wondering, "Why me?"

@ Mouser: I managed to find all but the LineByter files, thankfully. It sucks that LineByter wasnt backed up before this but the thief didnt take my external HDD that held several backups of all my important information... Gives me an excuse to develop a LineByter 2.0 with new features =P

@ zridling: It sounds like alot of anger and frustration would have developed from that story... Im curious to know what happened after this... did you replace it? how did it get better? or did it get better at all?

@ lanux128: Thank you for your support! smiley

Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, i'll write an article on DC about this incident and provide a guide about things to prevent loss of data in this situation... Maybe there already is one... I'll check into it =P
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Codebyte
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2008, 09:19:43 PM »

This whole thing makes me ask this question: Is there something that we, as members of DC, can do to contribute to those who have lost things and experienced something like my incident? Maybe a guide of steps to take... I have no idea, but there has to be something...
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Deozaan
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2008, 10:08:58 PM »

Sorry to hear about the theft. That really sucks!

Also, nice laptop!
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2008, 11:14:07 PM »

Make sure you sit down and try to remember any sensitive logins or data that might be on the pc that you need to worry about or have changed.
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KenR
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2008, 11:19:39 PM »

Talk about making lemonade ...

kpr
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Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
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Codebyte
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2008, 11:44:05 PM »

Hey KenR smiley Just finished changing every password of mine... I remembered that I had written a utility that connects to my site every time I had turned on my laptop (given it had access to the internet.) This program would check a file on my website for any updates. I wrote a utility that checks the last view/edit of this particular file and my website logs all of the IP addresses of the people that access it. The utility I just finished writing sends me an email with the IP address and time of access to the file. This might help in finding a list of suspects or something... Not sure, just an idea... My brain is starting to hurt now, lol!
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mouser
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2008, 12:04:19 AM »

can you get a list of the last ips that have checked that file in the recent past? if you can't using logs on your website, your website host may be able to.

if you find an ip that isn't one of yours, maybe someone here can help you track it down.
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f0dder
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2008, 12:50:06 AM »

Damn, that SUCKS - sorry to hear about this, Codebyte!

Good thing that you had semi up-to-date backups. A thing like this really does show how important that stuff is.

I wouldn't get my hopes up high wrt. getting the laptop back, though... even if they don't format the machine and it's connecting to the internet and contacting your server. Law enforcement usually has a lot of work to do, and a laptop theft would rate pretty low on their list of importance. And (as long as you aren't RIIA), it requires paperwork to have an ISP hand out personal info from an IP address. Not to mention that if connecting from a school or dorm buildings, there might be a lot of people behind a single NATed WAN IP.

Best of luck, though!
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2008, 12:56:09 AM »

Codebyte,

Take a look at The Laptop Lock. I have it installed on my own notebook. You register your laptop at the web site, download and install the client on your computer, then you configure exactly what you want done to the contents of your laptop in the event it is stolen or lost. From their web site:

"If the computer is stolen, login into your account, mark the computer status as stolen. As soon as that machine connects to the Internet, the actions you set during setup will execute. The LaptopLock will also try to find out as much as possible about the connection to help in recovery of the machine. THE LAPTOPLOCK DOES NOT MONITOR OR RECORD USER ACTIONS. THE LAPTOPLOCK DOES NOT ALLOW ANYONE ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER OR DATA. THE LAPTOPLOCK CAN ONLY EXECUTE ACTIONS THE USER HAS PRE-PROGRAMMED IT WITH."

I have it set up on my notebook. Just make sure that you keep good backups - and NOT on the computer itself!

Jim

EDIT:  BTW - Free for the time being. I guess it could become a For Pay solution in the future.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 12:57:43 AM by J-Mac » Logged

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tomos
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2008, 02:39:04 AM »

I know from experience that it's a horrible feeling when your place is broken into - no matter what's stolen ...
It's great that your family are so helpful, and wonderful that you appreciate it so much smiley Thmbsup
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Tom
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2008, 11:27:25 AM »

J-Mac: whether such a service will do any good depends on the knowledge of the criminals (or the people they sell the laptop to). I've never touched "hot goods", but I know I'd definitely not start by going online with a stolen laptop. I might snoop through the data, but I'd do that offline (probably creating a mirror of the disk), and then I'd certainly format the system clean.

But I guess your average criminal doesn't think that far?
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2008, 03:33:53 AM »

J-Mac: whether such a service will do any good depends on the knowledge of the criminals (or the people they sell the laptop to). I've never touched "hot goods", but I know I'd definitely not start by going online with a stolen laptop. I might snoop through the data, but I'd do that offline (probably creating a mirror of the disk), and then I'd certainly format the system clean.

But I guess your average criminal doesn't think that far?

In my experience (and, believe me, I do have experience with such cretin!), no, they don't think that far! Either looking to sell it off or scan it for useful booty. And, yes: most will just fire it right up, and who doesn't immediately go online?

Jim
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Armando
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2008, 09:42:00 PM »

I've lost 2 computers in the last 10 years -- same as you : theft, broke in my apartment...After that, I became obsessed with backup etc. It's not fun to loose data. I won't add any advice to what's already been expressed here... All I can say is that I feel your pain.

PS. : Actually, there'S one thing I always do now :  always leave a few lights on when I leave t he house (I know, I know, it's not ecologically that sound, but those aren't powerful lights) + music/radio. I once had a timer to switch music on and off, but not anymore. A friend working for an insurance company told me that music, noise, and lights are probably the best repellents -- complementing good locks, of course...
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Codebyte
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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2008, 03:10:25 AM »

I have left the light on to the hallway right outside my room every day now... I even leave it on when I sleep... Im paranoid after that happened. I bring my laptop with me everywhere I go as well, even if its the grocery store. It doesnt leave my sight. As for backup, I'm writing my own utility to do a web backup to my website which is managed by Siteground (www.siteground.com). This seems to be the most efficient way to store things now...
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