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Why to Never Steal a Laptop.

TomKTomK Posts: 169Registered User Junior Member
edited September 2005 in College Life
We've all heard the horror stories about laptops being stolen from campus. Now it's the thief instead of the victim who has the horror story to tell:

http://www.alldumb.com/items/2005/04/11551.wmv

Do you think Professor Jasper Rine is bluffing? See any flaws in his logic?

If you don't can't or don't want to watch the .wmv, here's the transcript:
"Thanks Gary. I have a message for one person in this audience - I'm sorry the rest of you have to sit through this. As you know, my computer was stolen in my last lecture. The thief apparently wanted to betray everybody's trust, and was after the exam.

The thief was smart not to plug the computer into the campus network, but the thief was not smart enough to do three things: he was not smart enough to immediately remove Windows. I installed the same version of Windows on another computer - within fifteen minutes the people in Redmond Washington were very interested to know why it was that the same version of Windows was being signalled to them from two different computers.

The thief also did not inactivate either the wireless card or the transponder that's in that computer. Within about an hour, there was a signal from various places on campus that's allowed us to track exactly where that computer went every time that it was turned on.

I'm not particularly concerned about the computer. But the thief, who thought he was only stealing an exam, is presently - we think - is probably still in possession of three kinds of data, any one of which can send this man, this young boy, actually, to federal prison. Not a good place for a young boy to be.

You are in possession of data from a hundred million dollar trial, sponsored by the NIH, for which I'm a consultant. This involves some of the largest companies on the planet, the NIH investigates these things through the FBI, they have been notified about this problem.

You are in possession of trade secrets from a Fortune 1000 biotech company, the largest one in the country, which I consult for. The Federal Trade Communication is very interested in this. Federal Marshals are the people who handle that.

You are in possession of proprietary data from a pre-public company planning an IPO. The Securities and Exchange Commission is very interested in this and I don't even know what branch of law enforcement they use.

Your academic career is about to come to an end. You are facing very serious charges, with a probability of very serious time. At this point, there's very little that anybody can do for you. One thing that you can do for yourself is to somehow prove that the integrity of the data which you possess has not been corrupted or copied.

Ironically, I am the only person on the planet that can come to your aid, because I am the only person that can tell whether the data that was on that computer are still on that computer. You will have to find a way of hoping that if you've copied anything that you can prove you only have one copy of whatever was made.

I am tied up all this afternoon; I am out of town all of next week. You have until 11:55 to return the computer, and whatever copies you've made, to my office, because I'm the only hope you've got of staying out of deeper trouble than you or any student I've ever known has ever been in.

I apologise to the rest of you for having to bring up this distasteful matter, but I will point out that we have a partial image of this person, we have two eyewitnesses, with the transponder data we're going to get this person."
Post edited by TomK on
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Replies to: Why to Never Steal a Laptop.

  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    That speach seems to have made the professor a bit of a running joke on the internet...

    http://www.securitypipeline.com/policy_privacy/161600257
  • coquicoqui Posts: 1,682Registered User Member
    well i don't know much about computer so i'm not sure if what he said makes sense or could be true.

    however, if i had stolen the laptop (which i wouldn't have) i would have been peeing in my pants. haha. if it's BS what he was saying, then it was certainly clever and intmidating BS.

    but why would he put such important info on a laptop he uses for his classes? hmmm. doesn't make much sense. kind of careless of him.

    and if everything he was saying about the "tracking" and "importance" of the info is true, i'm sure the fbi or whatever would have found the culprit already. i don't know.

    sniff sniff...smell that? smell like crap.
  • paulhomeworkpaulhomework Posts: 966Registered User Member
    microsoft responding within 15 minutes to anything should be a sign of bluffing.
  • IcarusIcarus Posts: 4,336Registered User Senior Member
    LOL very true

    yeah thats gotta be an internet rumor.... run it through Snopes and see - i'm too lazy to do so at the moment
  • protonproton Posts: 1,021Registered User Senior Member
    that was kinda smart of the professor to actually think over that speech and memorize it
  • protonproton Posts: 1,021Registered User Senior Member
    did dude get his laptop back?
  • anoviceanovice Posts: 1,376Registered User Senior Member
    Yeah... did he get his laptop back?
  • ryanbisryanbis Posts: 836Registered User Member
    No. Everyone knew he was lying.
  • nomir_dvanomir_dva Posts: 172Registered User Junior Member
    If it had been a true story, the professor should have been fired for having so much unencrypted information on such a vulnerable laptop...And if Macrosoft cared about every copy of stolen Windows, half this country would be in prison :)
  • adconardadconard Posts: 803Registered User Member
    microsoft responding within 15 minutes to anything should be a sign of bluffing.

    EXACTLY ...
  • College_Here_I_Come!College_Here_I_Come! Posts: 1,030Registered User Member
    Professor Rine even admitted he made the whole thing up.

    regardless, he didn't get his laptop back
  • SpikerSpiker Posts: 393Registered User Junior Member
    What about the fingerprint biometric scanners that IBM features on new laptops now...are they deterring thefts? I thought I might put a little sticker on the cover of my laptop that says it cannot be turned on without a fingerprint scan. or can these fingerprint things be fooled????
  • coquicoqui Posts: 1,682Registered User Member
    i think those who want to steal laptops are going to steal one anytime the oppurtunity presents itself, no matter if it can be turned on with only fingerprints or not. i mean, thieves can always sell the parts and stuff. what do they lose? nothing. it's only the person that left their laptop alone that loses.
  • IcarusIcarus Posts: 4,336Registered User Senior Member
    of course there is a way around fingerprint scanners (like any other security messure).
  • mikemacmikemac Posts: 7,401Registered User Senior Member
    according to an article on wikpedia
    Later the university press office admitted that Rine's threats where "exaggerated." The deadline passed without the return of the computer or the purported stolen data.
    Also see an article at http://lexicon.typepad.com/lexicon/2005/04/what_happens_wh.html

    As to why someone would put sensitive data on a laptop and not protect it in some way (such was with a free encryption program like pgp), call it laziness. It is convenient to carry your work around with you in a laptop, and a lot of people are just too lazy to spend the extra minute it takes to encrypt the data, or decrypt it when they need to work with it.

    But such casualness isn't so unusual. Most people here are college students. Your computer (either laptop or desktop) has your papers on it, your homework, lots of other stuff you need. How many people back up their data regularly? Even once a week? And its easy to do so; at most colleges students have a free account with plenty of storage, so you should be keeping a copy of your work on it in case your hard drive dies or computer is stolen.
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