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Extremely weird situation. Advice?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 nuclearbroccoli

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:09 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new here obviously. Although I hate to start off on any forum with a request for help, I'm at a loss of how to deal with this strange situation I've found myself in today. Sorry if this is in the wrong section, but since it revolves around my wireless router, this seemed to be the most appropriate place.

It started when I got a call from the police this afternoon. Apparently, they have tracked a stolen Macbook to my address. Of course, the problem with that is that neither I nor anyone in my home owns, or has stolen a Macbook. So, after all of us had spoken to the police, I decided that someone must be using my internet connection with the stolen laptop. I opened McAfee and my wireless router advanced settings (Shaw - Cisco DPC3825), and sure enough there is a fourth device (MAC address doesn't match any of my systems) that I can't account for. Everything is passworded, so I assume that the person in question has hacked into my connection.

Now, I don't want to just change the password right now, because I want the police to catch whoever it is so they leave me alone, but if I change the password, the link is gone. Instead, I walked around my block with my cell connected to my wifi to see how far the signal would reach. Unfortunately it turned out to reach about 9 other homes. I can exclude one neighbor because he has his own wifi connection, and he has never struck me to be the type to do something like this.

This all brings me to my question(s): Is there any way to narrow down the location of the stolen computer or gain some sort of access to it remotely from a Windows or Ubuntu system? Does anyone know of any material that would block the signal from my router so I could watch the connected devices and see if one goes offline when I block one side of the router? That would help me narrow down the direction of the thief I would think. Of course, I'm no expert, so for all I know the signals may bounce and not do a darn thing to help me.

Anything anyone could suggest would be appreciated. I work in retail and the last thing I need is more stress going into the holiday season. I want to keep my hair....

Edited by nuclearbroccoli, 04 December 2012 - 09:12 PM.


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#2 jburd1800

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:25 PM

When you gave the police the info about your router usage what did they say ?

“May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently thorugh the world and know it's beauty all the days of your life.”


#3 dpunisher

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:00 PM

Call the cops,tell them what is going on. Not your job to play detective.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#4 nuclearbroccoli

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:48 AM

When you gave the police the info about your router usage what did they say ?


Not sure yet. The officer was gone for the day. He did give my wife his email though and asked if I could send him the MAC address and any other related information I could get.

#5 nuclearbroccoli

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:50 AM

Call the cops,tell them what is going on. Not your job to play detective.


From my first post: "It started when I got a call from the police this afternoon."
Getting into the Christmas spirit a little early?

They called me, not the other way around. I just want to get this dealt with, and the more information I can give the police, the faster this issue is out of my hair.

Edited by nuclearbroccoli, 05 December 2012 - 12:50 AM.


#6 Platypus

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:47 AM

They called me, not the other way around.

I believe dpunisher understands this, and since you indicate you developed your suspicion after you finished speaking with them, he's simply suggesting to call the police who spoke to you, give them the extra information, and let them deal with it.
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#7 dpunisher

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:53 AM

They called me, not the other way around.

I believe dpunisher understands this, and since you indicate you developed your suspicion after you finished speaking with them, he's simply suggesting to call the police who spoke to you, give them the extra information, and let them deal with it.


Yes, thank you.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#8 coxchris

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:46 PM

After the investigation is ended because you dont want to change anything yet. You have a active case

Go into your wireless router

a. change the admin password (if they crack it hard reset)
b. Disable SSID Broadcasting and change the SSID name
c. Change the Wireless Security setting and choose WPA2
d. Create a mac filter list and Permit Only your MAC Addresses.

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#9 nuclearbroccoli

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:59 PM

They called me, not the other way around.

I believe dpunisher understands this, and since you indicate you developed your suspicion after you finished speaking with them, he's simply suggesting to call the police who spoke to you, give them the extra information, and let them deal with it.


Fair enough. I read it wrong I guess. My apologies.

I have done this, but I suppose I'm impatient to get it dealt with. Since the thief used my connection, right now the suspicion is on me, which I don't care for, nor want to deal with to be honest.

Edited by nuclearbroccoli, 05 December 2012 - 11:01 PM.


#10 jburd1800

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:10 PM

Understandable. But the police have tools to find the guy, and those tools are acceptable in court. If you start your own investigation it may screw up whatever happens down the road...

“May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently thorugh the world and know it's beauty all the days of your life.”


#11 nuclearbroccoli

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

Understandable. But the police have tools to find the guy, and those tools are acceptable in court. If you start your own investigation it may screw up whatever happens down the road...


You have a point. I'm just trying to find a way to get more information that I can pass on to speed this up.
I simply don't like being under the microscope when the worst thing I've ever done in my life is a toss up between punching a guy in high school, and a speeding ticket...
Speaking of punching someone... I'd love to meet the guy who caused me this hassle.....

I guess for now I'll just watch for the connection being active and try and narrow down which home the person is in by eliminating those that aren't home at the time. It's something anyway..

Regardless, I appreciate the advice. Thank you to all.

#12 jburd1800

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:31 PM

Good luck to you, it will work itself out.

“May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently thorugh the world and know it's beauty all the days of your life.”


#13 cat33

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:22 AM

What communication have you had with the police about the stolen computer so far? You say you got a call from the police? That does seem a bit odd to me. Why didn't a cop in uniform come to your house and ask about it? I would get the police phone number from the phone book and call and ask about it. I would never give any personal information over the phone unless I knew for sure it really was the cops. I'm not an expert on police investigations so I don't know how they would normally handle it.

Edited by cat33, 06 December 2012 - 12:27 AM.


#14 BlackSpyder

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 12:49 AM

Odd that the fuzz would call you, usually they just show up. Cracking WiFi (even WPA secured) is no where near as difficult as it used to be, sad to say, but its true, the longer an encryption system is out the easier it gets to penetrate. As far as I know there is no way to backtrack a users location strictly by WiFi.

Few things of note:
1) I have never "cracked" WiFi and don't care to. Just was reading a few articles on it after seeing how painfully easy it is to do on a certain websites "Top 10 Articles of the Year" it made me realize how unsecure it can be even though it's "secured"
2)Stay out of it. Let the police do their jobs, you go playing Dick Tracy and you'll end up in the hot seat before long

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#15 nuclearbroccoli

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

What communication have you had with the police about the stolen computer so far? You say you got a call from the police? That does seem a bit odd to me. Why didn't a cop in uniform come to your house and ask about it? I would get the police phone number from the phone book and call and ask about it. I would never give any personal information over the phone unless I knew for sure it really was the cops. I'm not an expert on police investigations so I don't know how they would normally handle it.


I should have clarified. They called me, but they did visit the house beforehand. I was at work at the time.
It's all legit unfortunately....




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