Magazine article Information Today

Stolen Laptop Leads Police to Identity Theft Ring

Magazine article Information Today

Stolen Laptop Leads Police to Identity Theft Ring

Article excerpt

Absolute Software and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in North Carolina found more than they expected when they recovered a stolen laptop from one of the school's portable trailers. Using Absolute's Computrace Agent, which was embedded into the firmware of the computer, they were not only able to reclaim the device but also help federal and local law enforcement uncover an alleged identity theft ring and charge several individuals with immigration law violations.

"We were able to mine the forensic data on the computer," says David Hawks, business development manager, education industry for Absolute. "During the investigation, we're trying to track the computer to recover it, but then what happens is these cases lead to so much bigger cases."

When CMS was notified that the computer had been stolen, it reported the incident to local law enforcement and to Absolute via a web portal available to Computrace subscribers, Hawks says. Because the agent was embedded into the firmware, enabling it to survive everything from operating system reinstallations to hard drive removal, Absolute was able to contact the stolen laptop and instruct it to send updates on its location every 15 minutes instead of the usual 24.5 hours. The company's theft recovery team then used forensic tools such as keystroke capturing and registry scanning to learn as much about the computer's users as possible. …

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