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skylar
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 08:03      Profile for skylar     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi guys. I haven't been around much, as I've been working like a mad thing all summer, and only came back to uni (to start my MA) a couple of weeks ago. I was really happy to be back, and things were going great...

Until my house got broken into on Thursday. [Frown]

They came in through the back window (which has folding panels of glass which can easily and quietly be removed) and took our laptops, an iPod, a bike, a wallet, and miscellaneous other things. We're all absolutely gutted, and feel completely violated and creeped out.

The worst of it? I had just bought a gorgeous, shiny new MacBook. It was only a month old. And uninsured. It had four years' worth of photos, letters, essays and music on it, which, thanks to my intermittent backing up, can only partially be replaced. [weep] [weep]

I guess I'm posting this as a word of warning to many of the young GC-ers whom I know are starting college this autumn. Get insurance! Secure your rooms! Oh, and if you're in private accommodation, be prepared for a deathmatch against your landlady over getting double glazing and a house alarm [Razz] .

*sigh*

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"arm, aber geeky"

Posts: 1994 | From: Deutschland | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
GMx

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
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Icon 9 posted September 24, 2006 08:10      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry to hear the bad news Sylie. [Frown] I hope the police catch dem wot did dis dirty deed. 'Ere wot's all dis den?
Posts: 5848 | From: S-4, Area 51 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
skylar
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 08:17      Profile for skylar     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks... I'd love it if a bobby showed up on my doorstep, dragging the dirty rotten scoundrel by the ear so I could give him a good kick in the nuts. Karma [Smile] .

Hope I can manage to get a new laptop soon... everyone knows the best time-wasting is done online at 4 in the morning, and I need to do my damnedest to make that dream a reality once more [Wink] .

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"arm, aber geeky"

Posts: 1994 | From: Deutschland | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Snaggy

Sir Snaggalot!
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Icon 9 posted September 24, 2006 08:47      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
oh man, that is horrible news, and sucks. My sympathies, and curses to the perpetrators. /me hugs skylar.

Another tip... password protect your computer, and encrypt the sensitive data on it.

Hmmm, has anyone signed up for those "computer phone home" services?

Macphonehome, or Undercover?

Or rolled their own?

Posts: 8111 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 10:21      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm skeptical about that stuff, Snaggy - once you have physical access to a machine, it's all over. The first thing a savvy criminal would do is reformat the HD, instantly wiping out the phone home program.

sklyar: Very sorry to hear the news... I hope you get it back, but well... at least I hope you get a more secure place, and enjoy whatever new computer you get in its stead.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Snaggy

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Icon 3 posted September 24, 2006 10:28      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
dragon... there's always a firmware password too

http://orbicule.com/undercover/faq.php?q=firmware

That might stop a somewhat-less-than-savy thief.

Posts: 8111 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
littlefish
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 10:54      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'm skeptical about that stuff, Snaggy - once you have physical access to a machine, it's all over. The first thing a savvy criminal would do is reformat the HD, instantly wiping out the phone home program.
Those that are computer savvy don't normally stoop to stealing computers. When we were broken into at the end of last year, the perp apparently sold all our loot to a bloke he'd never met before in a pub for 50 quid. Now this may be a cover story, or it may be that was how much his next fix would cost. Whatever - he got a thinkpad, powerbook and 2 ipods, so it was definitely below market value.

Anyway, my flatmate is due in court for the prosecution in a couple of months. Sucks to be burgled, especially if you don't have insurance to buy you new toys.

Posts: 2421 | From: That London | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
BooBooKitty

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 10:56      Profile for BooBooKitty     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry to hear about the incident. :-(

At work, they've installed Pointsec on all of the PCs (esp. laptops). If you can't get passed the Pointsec login, you're machine is locked up until someone from IS/IT can unlock it for you. Hmm, I should see how much I've insured the contents of my place for...

Posts: 796 | From: Montreal, Canada | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
Ashitaka

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 11:22      Profile for Ashitaka     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sorry to hear you lost all your toys. I was pickpocketed about one month ago in Rome. I lost this baby.
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Since it was the first day of a two week vacation that I had my camera stolen on, I went into a few camera shops to buy a replacement. In most camera shops in Rome, there are about ten new camera models for sale, and then about fifty "used" cameras for sale. Plus, these used cameras don't come with things like battery chargers or anything else but the camera. I never found my camera and decided I was not going to help the industry down there buy buying a used camera. (Though I found quite a few unbelievable deals like 100 euro for a seven megapixel camera.) We used my wifes camera for the vacation and I bought the same one again when I got back home.

I don't have any idea how criminals fence stolen electronics in England but if there are nearby places that sell used electronics it might help to check them out. you don't know how stupid the people who stole from you could be.

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"If they're not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and violent extremists, then why should I take the time to distinguish between decent, fearful white people and racists?"

-Assif Mandvi

Posts: 3089 | From: Switzerland | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 12:13      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
dragon... there's always a firmware password too

http://orbicule.com/undercover/faq.php?q=firmware

That might stop a somewhat-less-than-savy thief.

Snaggy...I know that - I've read up on that software in depth. That doesn't mean you can't flash the firmware, or whatever it is one does on a Mac. Most crooks aren't necessarily that tech savvy, but their fence probably is.

A friend of mine wrote a detailed analysis on how useless such tools are, and e-mailed it to the company that "guaranteed" their software. Mind you, the guarantee just covers the cost of the softare, not of the stolen computer.

(Please note: As negative as I am about such apps...it is true that it might 'work' if your computer is taken by a 'casual' crook who decides to play with it. If they're dumb enough to use it from home, then yes, there is a chance it might be found. It's far more likely that the person would use 'free WiFi,' and therefore be untracable.)

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Grummash

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2006 14:38      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
skylar

Sorry to hear your news. Have you had a walk round the local CashConverter, or equivalent? You may be surprised by the selection of "ex-pawn" goods in the window.

You've probably figured this already, but when you do look at taking some insurance you might want to take photos of your favourite stuff in situ and keep a list of serial numbers.

I don't want to sound preachy, but it is just a thought that may help in the future. As for feeling violated and creeped out...could you look into finding new accomodation?

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

Posts: 2335 | From: Lancashire,UK | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
skylar
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
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Icon 1 posted September 25, 2006 07:13      Profile for skylar     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks everyone [Smile] . The visits from and phonecalls to the police are winding down now, so it's just a question of being careful until the broken window gets sorted out, and getting used to being in this damned uni computer centre all the time [Frown] .

Snaggy: Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to save up and see if I can get another MacBook (probably secondhand this time), and this time I'll be loading up on all the security measures I can get my hands on.

Grummash: Serial numbers I have, but the photos are something I didn't think of, so that'll be handy, cheers. We can't really get new accommodation, as we only moved in a couple of months ago, and we signed a 12 month lease. We have now got the landlady to agree to put double glazing in, though, and to provide us with room alarms, which helps a bit!

/me decides to skip her afternoon coffee and put the money towards a laptop instead [Razz]

Posts: 1994 | From: Deutschland | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Colonel Panic
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Icon 1 posted September 25, 2006 09:28      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And maybe buy a dog.

Even a 40-pounder with a good loud bark is usually enough to say, "Go away and find some cat owners place to burgle!"

[Wink] [Wink] [Wink] [Wink] [Wink]

CP

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Free! Free at last!

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Zwilnik

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Icon 1 posted September 25, 2006 10:37      Profile for Zwilnik   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Getting burgled sucks, even if you are insured. Glad to hear it was just 'stuff' they got though Skylar and that you're safe.

The firmware password on a Mac pretty much kills it unless you know the password (as it can't be re-flashed). If you've used file vault to encrypt the disk as well then it's the sort of thing the FBI hate. It's a bit overkill unless you're carrying spectacularly sensitive data though.

One tip I did find valuable is from a Powerbook user who changed his password hint to "If found, call (phonenumber) *REWARD* for safe return". That way, if it's recovered (in his case it was found on the back seat of a car that was pulled over by cops) the police will see the password hint after they try 3 passwords and they've got a way of getting it back to you.

In theory, you could also modify the loading screen with a similar message.

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The Universe is entirely made up of elements.
The most important of which is the element of surprise.

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Snaggy

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Icon 14 posted September 25, 2006 10:44      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
One tip I did find valuable is from a Powerbook user who changed his password hint to "If found, call (phonenumber) *REWARD* for safe return". That way, if it's recovered (in his case it was found on the back seat of a car that was pulled over by cops) the police will see the password hint after they try 3 passwords and they've got a way of getting it back to you.

That's what I do too! [Applause]

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Ruhrpottbabe
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Icon 1 posted September 25, 2006 14:02      Profile for Ruhrpottbabe     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Skylar

This is really bad news, I'm so sorry for you. I think that apart from all the material stuff lost, the worst thing about a burglary is the feeling of strangers penetrating your privacy, I mean your home is usually the place you feel safest and suddenly you realize that some darn motherfsckers spent some time there, having their creepy hands in the most private parts of your life ... Hope they catch them soon and give you the chance to at least break some of their fingers [Wink]

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In a world of excess, it's the subtle that stands out.

Posts: 69 | From: Germany | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 25, 2006 15:27      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My sympathies Skylar, being burgled sucks.


quote:
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
And maybe buy a dog.

Even a 40-pounder with a good loud bark is usually enough to say, "Go away and find some cat owners place to burgle!"

Some years back, a burglar was disturbed near my in-laws place, and fled without taking his gear with him. In the bag, along with the usual housebreaking tools, police found a map of the street with the dog-owners houses clearly marked.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

Posts: 10680 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
skylar
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
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Icon 1 posted September 26, 2006 12:18      Profile for skylar     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'd definitely get a dog if my lease allowed it... ah, the perils of crappy rented student accommodation. Any dog of mine would probably end up being a total dingbat who tried to play frisbee with burglars, though [Wink] .

Thanks for the tip about password hints btw, Zwilnik [Smile] .

Posts: 1994 | From: Deutschland | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged


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