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Recovering a Stolen Car Using Code

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By: Brian Scott Luke, MBA

August 24, 2017

Just a fun article on how basic technical and networking tools can help an information technology help desk recover a stolen automobile and laptop. Scenario: The call could come in like this“Yeah, Hello? Yeah I had my company car stolen.”Okay, thank you for confirming your identification.Was your automobile lo-jacked? “No.” Okay, when you are done with your laptop do you power it down or just close the lid?When an automobile is lost or stolen, and there is a laptop within the car is on but not logged out, that piece of equipment may still be on a network. If the laptop is on a network the equipment must report in from time to keep logged in and authenticated on a secure network.Obviously from a security stand point:

Step 1:  Using Microsoft Server

  • Check the user’s property issued by the company. This information should be cataloged in the server information under user and assets. The MAC Number and IP number should show.

Step 2: Ask if the laptop was in the trunk of the automobile.

  • Reason being if the automobile was recently stolen the battery may be still charged and the thief may not realize that a laptop is on board.

Step 3: Determining if the laptop is available via a virtual terminal.

  • If the laptop can be remotely accessed and the desktop can be accessed, software can be deployed to open onboard camera, microphone, and technical support may be able to view the desktop remotely and collect evidence.

Step 4: From Command Prompt (using Windows O/S)

  • A. From bottom left of screen, or find your menu by using the Windows™ key.
  • B. In the search box; Type “CMD” A black box will appear. This is where you will “speak” to your computer and ask it top perform tasks.
  • C. Taking the IP number from the Microsoft Server asset information for the assigned laptop for the employee. (Hopefully it carries a static internet protocol address.) using the IP number we should be able to determine where the laptop is and if it is receiving information on the network.
  • D. Important things to remember include if the laptop is on a network behind a proxy, behind a jump box for another network or possesses a firewall that will not allow traffic this may be difficult.
  • E. To set a PING command to allow for a EKG type data packet delivery to the IP number type “ping 9the IP Number) -t Example: ping -t will allow for a constant ping or sending of a small packet of information to a set location on a network. The information that is sent back includes bytes’ time in MS and TTL. You now know that the piece of equipment is online.
  • F. A standard trace program is called tracer. Using out again we can the the location of the I number. This tool will also allow for checks of latency between hops, or digital locations on a network.
 So, if we type tracert during this test, I see 13 hops out of a total possible 30 hops. I see that I am on the Sprint network, and that is we want to see on a map where is there are several ways to perform this. Now keep in mind, many technical support people frown on using third party websites (or non-peer reviewed websites as tools) but, one cannot argue with consistent success either.
  • A. will show you a world map to locate your target IP Number. As we can see here the driveway of Google.
  • B.     Now If we did the same thing, well, with a popular government website we may see an address in Wilmington, Delaware and an address Englewood, CO. Now if were to run a trace route for the same website we may see that their network is a type of spoke and wheel format that links the major offices nationwide. (Think Mulder and Skelly).
  • C.      The Visual Traceroute may offer you a map, local streets, landmarks and details to offer police to locate and recover a company car and the laptop that may be in the trunk.
  • D.     In addition to the location of the automobile, you may be able to pull a physical address. If you place the address into the service will give you the exact longitude and latitude @37.4225781,-122.0833012 kind of a fun fact.
This article is written as an inspiration to others. Technology used in an ethical and positive way can save lives and property, inspire the ideas of tomorrow and save lives. It is the generations to come to perfect the tools we have today. We have to motivate those with the talent to become more then they are.
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