The Tech Herald

California man uses Hidden software to track stolen MacBook

by Steven Mostyn - Jun 3 2011, 17:16

Stolen MacBook safely returned after snapping thief on-camera. Image: Apple.

Technology may ultimately become sentient and wipe humankind from existence like the virus it is, but, until then, we can only marvel at how it continues to transmogrify everyday life.

Case in point, a victim of computer theft in the United States has been reunited with his stolen MacBook after police were able to track the naughty thief through the pilfered system’s built-in camera.

Oakland resident Joshua Kaufman reported his computer as stolen back in March of this year, informing the police that the hardware was equipped with covert tracking software known as Hidden.

And so, although the computer was no longer in Mr. Kaufman’s possession, Hidden soon began sending him still images of a mystery man, captured going about his day, napping on the couch, and periodically stopping to enjoy his ill-gotten technology.

Beyond merely snapping the man’s face and otherwise dull daily habits, the Hidden software also sent Mr. Kaufman a screenshot of its subject logging into his email account, which ultimately provided the police with enough information to track the stolen notebook.

The man in the photos, 27-year-old taxi driver Muthanna Aldebashi, turned out not to be the thief, but was evidently arrested by investigating officers for knowingly receiving stolen goods.

Happily reunited with his Apple MacBook, Mr. Kaufman said the police eventually utilised the email-based information garnered by Hidden to lure the actual thief out into the open—at which point another arrest was made.

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