Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is easy.

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crowey
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Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is easy.

Postby crowey » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:13 pm UTC

http://www.thefryhole.co.uk/wordpress/2 ... a-compsci/

Basically, this guy had some stuff stolen from his house, including his mobile phone. He activated some GPS software on it, managed to get a location on the phone, the police went to the address, recovered most of his stuff and a whole load of other stolen goods.
Justice prevailed. Or something.

Quite entertaining I think.

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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby phillipsjk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

For a long time I have thought the phone companies should offer a "phone finding" service. The difficulty would be authentication: How does the phone company know the person calling for a location is actually the owner of the phone?

An unlocked phone with GPS solves the authentication problem: if you know the secret key required to ssh into the phone, then you are probably the owner. Assuming the contents of the phone weren't copied at some point.
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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby kgirlfae » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:07 pm UTC

I love stories like this when it helps an owner. But it is frustrating how companies won't do this for their customers (even if they charged a fee for something like this, I think it would be worth it.) Not just with GPS, but serial numbers too - I found an iPod lying on the sidewalk a month or so back, and was in no way able to track down the owner, despite trying to go through apple to see if they could contact the registered owner. Most companies won't do anything to help you find your missing equipment. I'm glad this guy was able to do it for himself!

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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby joeframbach » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:19 pm UTC

phillipsjk wrote:ssh into the phone


I'm unfamiliar with these newfangled devices, so hopefully someone can enlighten me.
Won't the battery quickly die with sshd running nonstop?

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Ulc
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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby Ulc » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:36 pm UTC

Not really, a ssh doesn't really require any power beyond what is necessary to be connected to the internet.

And considering how long new phones are able to last even when on the net, I can't see it lasting so shortly that you can't activate the gps in it and still have plenty of time left over to figure out the position.
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phillipsjk
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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby phillipsjk » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:05 pm UTC

joeframbach, I can't see it using much more power than checking with the tower periodically for a cell phone call. Simply check for packets destined to port 22 at the same time.

Edit: unsuccessful login attempts may be a problem (waking up sshd periodically). Maybe use a high port instead.
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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:15 pm UTC

The software used here is TenCube WaveSecure. Runs on Android (thus the Hero), Blackberry, WinMo, and Symbian. Probably requires too much control over the phone to run on an iPhone. Basically: if someone swaps the SIM, it locks. You can track remotely, initiate a lock, backup, or wipe remotely, or change the lock message. Works over encrypted text messages, which is kind of neat - very battery efficient since it isn't running anything extra all the time, it's just a thing that wakes up when you get a text and checks if it matches. More capable and less of a kludge than running SSH.

There's really no reason running an SSHd would drain battery faster. A listening socket is dirt cheap in terms of power and until it gets a connection the daemon just sleeps.
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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby Amnesiasoft » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:09 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:Probably requires too much control over the phone to run on an iPhone.

And even then, doesn't Apple already offer this as a service?

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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:19 pm UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:And even then, doesn't Apple already offer this as a service?

Dunno. I don't use one, I just take cheap shots at its OS. :P
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Re: Don't nick stuff from geeks: tracking stolen goods is ea

Postby J the Ninja » Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:08 am UTC

Amnesiasoft wrote:
netcrusher88 wrote:Probably requires too much control over the phone to run on an iPhone.

And even then, doesn't Apple already offer this as a service?


Yes, you need to be a MobileMe member and already have said iPhone linked to your MobileMe account, but one of it's services is "Find My iPhone". You can pinpoint it's location on a map, show a persistent message on the screen, or remotely wipe it.
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