Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sprung by Facebook: geek justice for 'porn-surfing laptop thief'

An 18-year-old, accused of stealing a laptop in Melbourne, Australia and surfing porn on it, thought he was home free after evading police for two months, but he came undone when he logged on to Facebook.

Fortunately for the victim company, it was a client of Sydney-based managed IT support firm Navigatum, which can connect to and control any client laptop and diagnose technical problems from anywhere. Using remote access software called Kaseya, a Navigatum technician set up an alert so that, whenever the stolen laptop was used to log in to the internet, the software would send him an email.

Navigatum were watching the thief for a little while but, because he was logging on at really random times like really late at night, they set up some scripts to capture screenshots of what he was doing on the screen every 30 seconds, and that was then uploaded to our server. On top of that, the technician installed a keylogger on the laptop so they could log all of his keystrokes and passwords and websites that he visited.

Navigatum said it was a few weeks before the user first began browsing the web with the laptop. The screenshots showed the thief browsing for porn videos for the first few weeks. But the technician knew that, if he bided his time, the user would slip up eventually. It wasn't possible to identify him immediately because the stolen laptop did not have a webcam.

Towards the end of July 2009, the teen logged in to his Facebook account and, within an hour, he was arrested and charged with the theft. From his Facebook account Navigatum got his date of birth and school that he went to, and from there were able to track him down.

Victoria Police confirmed the incident and said the teen was charged with theft. Navigatum said the police told him that, thanks in large part to their detective work; detectives were able to get the alleged thief to admit to a string of car thefts in the area. He also informed on two of his accomplices.


sswavley August 13, 2009 at 10:51 PM  

If you would like more information on how we were able to track down this 'alleged' thief then please feel free to contact us.

Our website is

Of you can contact us on 1300 664 995

sswavley August 13, 2009 at 11:05 PM  

A number of people who have read the article have been left with the impression that facebook was what caught the theif when in actual fact this was just the last piece of the puzzle.

The management tool we use to look after our customers was the primary reason we were able to catch this guy. We had already gathered the IP address and other information when he logged in to his facebook account. The information that this provided us just made the whole job a lot easier.

And full credit goes to the Victorian Police. With out their prompt response, this guy would probably got away with it (This is what happened with the notebook that was stolen in the US. The US police just took too long to act.)

Stephen Swavley

Alan August 14, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

Thank you for your comments and extra information. Just from my perspective, after reading the article, it was obvious to me that your management tool was what got the police in a position to act using the Facebook information. It is a great story and a great catch. Well done.


Search This Blog

Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP