As COVID restrictions loosen, it’s exciting to see the world emerging from their homes. People are more mobile today and, as work from anywhere policies continue to dominate much of the professional landscape, they are bringing their devices with them. All of this is good news yet it’s also important to remember that when devices are on the go, they unfortunately have a high likelihood of being stolen.
The cost of replacing the device is one headache, the inconvenience of being without your laptop is another. But far and away the most severe implication is losing control over the data that resides on your laptop. Whether it’s yours or your company’s, stolen data is a massive red flag.
Absolute customers have an important resource to lean on when it comes to stolen devices. The Absolute Investigations Team consists of former law enforcement professionals who are trained to help navigate the circumstances of stolen property and recover stolen laptops. They rely on an Absolute firmware-embedded endpoint defense platform and its undeletable digital tether to every endpoint, no matter where it’s located, and can swiftly lock, freeze, or remotely wipe a device if it falls into the wrong hands.
Here are a few of the investigators’ global recovery highlights since the start of 2022.
An employee of a large home builder in Texas was the victim of an auto burglary and a laptop was among the stolen items. The company informed Absolute Investigators of the crime and asked the team to try and recover the device. Using forensic tools, investigators could see the new laptop user was a teenager but could identify only his name. Using geolocation information on the device, investigators searched for adults in the area and pinpointed an adult female with the same surname and created an investigative summary for local authorities. Police reached out to whom they assumed was the new user’s mother and inquired about the device. The boy’s father returned the device to the local police station and the homebuilder now has their device back. An investigation into the burglary is ongoing.
A Louisiana school employee had their laptop stolen from their vehicle and the district reported it to Absolute. When the device became active again a few days later, Absolute Investigators were ready. The new user registered with a few different websites while using the device so investigators were able to capture their name, email address and phone number. This information along with geolocation information that showed the device was at a motel within the city was included in an investigative summary for local police. Detectives went to the motel, retrieved the device, and arrested the suspect. The school district is very pleased to have their laptop safely returned.
An employee of a hotel management company had his laptop stolen from a New York hotel that he was working in. Absolute Investigators were notified, and they immediately went to work locating the missing device. Geolocation details showed the device was in a nearby computer repair and resale shop and it was evident, changes were being made to the device in real time. Investigators contacted local police and relayed the importance of quick response because the machine would likely be resold quickly. An officer drove over to the store and found the shop owner to be cooperative, though disappointed that the machine had been stolen. Back at the hotel, video surveillance picked up the man who allegedly took the machine and he was subsequently arrested. The hotel management company is happy to have their laptop returned safely.
An airport management company in South Africa conducted an equipment audit using Absolute and discovered a number of company-owned laptops were missing. One device was being used by an HR employee even though that individual hadn’t been assigned the device. When a recovery attempt was made at this individual’s home address, she wasn’t cooperative and claimed her employer instructed her not to speak with police. A quick home search resulted in no laptop – the device had evidently been removed from the home by the woman’s husband. Two years later, in 2022, the device came online again. Absolute Investigators discovered it was being used by the very same family; the woman was no longer an employee of the airport management company. Police successfully retrieved the device from her home, returned it to the management company, and she was arrested.
A school district in Texas contacted Absolute Investigators when local police arrived on campus with a Child Endangerment arrest warrant for a student’s mother after the child had gone missing. After speaking with detectives, Absolute Investigators looked at the district-owned device’s geolocation information and provided the IP addresses used and location of the device. As officers prepared to pick up the child and arrest the mother, Absolute Investigators continuously monitored the device in case the location changed. The child was safely located, and the mother arrested under a felony charge.
The employee of a public sector agency in South Africa was the victim of a home burglary and an employer-owned laptop was among the stolen items. Absolute Investigators were notified of the theft and began tracking the device. Once it was found, they contacted local authorities who went out to recover the device, only to find the new owner had moved within the last few days to Grand Bay, Mauritius, an island off the coast of Madagascar. Absolute Investigators reached out to the new user who agreed to return the laptop to officials in South Africa. It has since been returned to the government agency who owns it.
Also read: Absolute Investigations Roundup stories of 2021
For more than 15 years, Absolute Investigations has helped organizations recover their stolen devices. Made up of former law enforcement professionals and other experts, Absolute Investigations uses forensics tools and techniques to locate devices at large and once found, they connect with local law enforcement to orchestrate their safe return. Learn more here.