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Stolen computer is showing up on network, how do I access it?


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#1 T-600

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 11:19 AM

I am a police Investigator assigned to a burglary case wherein a total of more than $5,000.00 worth of computers and equipment was stolen from a business. The victim business owner has since notified me that the stolen computer is still accessing her network, which is of course wireless. She also is running Norton Internet Security, which shows the computer is still online and gave me the MAC address. She did not set her computer up to share with the other computers on the network, and I can't figure out how to do anything to access the computer or otherwise find out how to get any data off the network that might lead me to a clue about who is using it. This is not a ruse to learn some secret way to accomplish something nefarious, I am just not well versed in this area and am hoping that if the victim is the network administrator there is some way for her to force her own computer to allow itself to be accessed. This computer theft is part of a series in our area where a smash and grab burglar has stolen tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. I would LOVE to be able to nail this person. I can accept private messages and verify that I am legitimate. If anyone has any ideas I am all ears! I thought maybe there would be a utility that would let me test the signal strength of the wireless signal coming off the computer's MAC address, but if it is not broadcasting as an access point then I don't know how it is possible. She is using Windows XP Professional.

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#2 OldPhil

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 05:01 PM

I can not help but wanted to thank you for doing what you do!

I will say though that the range of wireless even with added an antenna is in walking distance! Smacks of an inside job with the computer possibly on premise!

Phil

Honesty & Integrity Above All!


#3 T-600

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 05:21 PM

Well I have been digging all day and I think I may have the solution. I have been experimenting with packet sniffing on my own computer and I think if I put a laptop with a wireless card on the victim's network and run Wireshark I may be able to see what sites he's going to, then I can subpoena the records of any site that might have user data, like Yahoo mail or facebook, and get the user ID from the IP logs. It is a long shot... I don't believe the machine is nearby, the router logs show it accessing sites while I am speaking with the victims. I am pretty sure what house it is in, but pretty sure don't cut it in this line of work, I have to be able to convince a judge. Thanks OldPhil, for the kudos. My wife hates that I carry this stuff home but I can't abide some d-bag making off with these people's stuff. I want to catch 'em red handed.

#4 OldPhil

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 05:42 PM

Again thanks!! Go Get Em!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Honesty & Integrity Above All!


#5 T-600

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 03:10 PM

JACKPOT. The Netgear router is logging every page that the stolen computer hits and it is distinguishable by the internal IP. He's been to some social networking sites. Subpoena time! I'll let you know how it goes. I'm glad people are addicted to the internet in times like this.

#6 fallendream

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 03:41 PM

check nieghbours and the house itself. it has to be within a street or two unless she/he has a satelite

#7 boopme

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 03:49 PM

Nice work T600
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