Trying to get his stolen computer back, Andrew ‘Zoz’ Brooks sought ways to figure out where it was, and had some success owing to smart cyber tricks.
And then I thought about it a bit more: “Well, the machine is set to auto-boot into single user mode. So my data security policy at that time could definitely have used ‘work’,” and I thought: “Well, the guy could boot into it, but it’s not going to get back on the network, because I’m pretty sure the network settings are locked and it’s on an intranet, so the thief is not going to be easily able to reconnect it to the network, unless they happen to have an intranet with the same settings as I did – unlikely.” So, fuck!
Even with my legendary stubbornness, I eventually gave up looking for the machine on sale sites and trying to get people to go to places for me. I was in San-Francisco filming “Prototype This!” at that time, and I was trying to get people in Boston to go to flea markets for me and look for it, and they’re telling me to fuck off, as you would expect.So, alright, time passes. Now, if you use DynDNS and you use the automatic updating service, if you don’t update it for a while you start to get messages like this (see image) which say: “Your account looks inactive, so you can either just let your account be deleted or you can click on this link and reactivate it.”
I would click on these links once a month, because I thought: “Why set it up again if I start using it again?” And at some point I noticed something; I thought: “That’s funny; I don’t remember getting one of those emails in a while. I wonder what’s up with that.”So I log into DynDNS and there I see: holy shit, 2 years later that domain record has started to be updated. What the fuck? So, I quickly nslookup the IP, and… pretty interesting: my machine that was stolen in Boston now seems to be on a cox.net dial-up in Las Vegas (see image below). So I called the cops right away, and they said: “Oh yeah, we’ll subpoena that IP record.” And I said: “Well, you’ve got to make sure that you get a historical record for this, because this is a dial-up, a dynamic IP, it’s going to change a lot, it’s going to be totally worthless if you look it up now and it’s not assigned to anyone or it’s assigned to someone different.” And, sure enough, they came back a month later with the subpoena results that said that the IP address wasn’t registered to anyone. No shit.
Now, this is a Macintosh, so we can enter things on the command line that make it do things: like, text a speech that comes out of the built-in speaker with no apparent window or source: “I am going to get you, motherfucker!”