Endpoint Security

Absolute Investigations October Monthly Roundup: Device Recovery Success Stories

October 14, 2020

3 Min Read

Mobile devices are convenient in part because they are easily portable. Unfortunately though, that convenience can also lead to misplaced or even stolen devices. And while having to replace devices certainly incurs expenses, failing to protect the data found on a device carries the potential to be even more costly when you consider possible data privacy regulatory fines, degraded customer trust and lost company IP.

The Absolute Investigations Team is in the business of tracking down stolen devices. Our years of experience working with law enforcement, combined with the power of Absolute’s firmware-embedded technology that provides an undeletable tether to each and every device, provides a solid foundation for recovering dark devices and protecting the data stored on them. Here are a few recent Investigation success stories from our happy customers. 

Device Reclamation

Outgoing employees fail to return devices sometimes, and this was the case with one Absolute customer earlier this year. After several months of waiting for a terminated employee to mail back her enterprise-owned device, IT reached out to the Absolute Investigations Team who then quickly identified the device had not been mailed back, as the former employee stated. It was, in fact, continuing to connect to the company’s network. Using Absolute’s undeletable tether to every device, investigators could see the device was connecting to the network by her, though from an address different from the one the now-terminated employee had originally provided. Armed with this information, IT reached out to her again and she returned the device.

Students also don’t return devices that have been provided for distance learning purposes and school IT teams then face decisions on how to get them back. In one recent instance, a school got law enforcement involved over a missing device and the detective worked with the Absolute Investigations Team for a safe return. Our investigators identified the user and her location from data obtained in screen shots and key captures, made possible by the undeletable tether Absolute provides. Our investigators implemented a remote freeze on the device, making it unusable, and provided an investigative summary to law enforcement. They made contact with the user and, with their encouragement, she returned it to the police station.

Grand Theft Auto                                               

The hard lesson of not leaving your laptop in your car was recently learned by one health care company and their employee when the individual’s car was stolen from the facility’s parking garage. Law enforcement was on the case and Absolute Investigations was notified to track down the stolen laptop. Investigators recommended that the device freeze capability be implemented via the Absolute console to protect both the data on the device as well as the device itself. Eventually, someone tried to use the device and when that happened, Absolute investigators could see the activity. They notified detectives who determined the device was purchased by someone on Offer Up, unwittingly, minus a hard drive. The laptop, unfortunately now without a hard drive, was successfully recovered.


Vehicle Burglary

A school district employee was the victim of a car burglary, which unfortunately included their laptop. The case was with law enforcement when the school contacted Absolute Investigations. Our team offered to freeze the device and include a message to the user that the device they were using was the property of the school… and the detectives gladly accepted. The customized message authored using information investigators had mined prompted the user – an employee at an IT company that buys and sells used laptops, and who purchased the device off of an auction site – to contact law enforcement and promptly return the device.

Another laptop was stolen from a car and while the case was reported to law enforcement, the agency didn’t have the bandwidth or resources to prioritize the case. The company turned to Absolute Investigations who implemented a device freeze. Some time later, the device became active and the user who had purchased the laptop on Facebook Marketplace contacted Absolute. Investigators arranged for an anonymous return because the unknowing buyer was afraid of getting into trouble – with his wife more so than the police. The device was safely recovered.


For more on recovering missing devices, check out these related posts:

How-To-Guide: Tracking and Recovering Laptops and How Experts Track Stolen Laptops


For more than 15 years, Absolute Investigations has helped organizations recover their missing devices. Made up of former law enforcement professionals and other experts, Absolute Investigations uses forensics tools and techniques to locate missing devices. Once found, Absolute Investigations connects with local law enforcement to orchestrate their safe return. Learn more here.



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