If you are on this page then one of two things have happened. One, either you have lost your laptop recently and it’s now that you have realized the importance of having a tracker on your valuable asset or you are among the few that have decided to find ways to secure your laptop for yourself and others and notably realized IoT (internet of things) hardware is the way to go. Either way you or in the right place.
This is one of the series of tracking blogs that will cover how to find your stolen or lost laptop step by step like a professional detective. I have decided to break the recovery process of a tracking a lost laptop step by step so that it’s easier to digest. If you prefer to read the summary and understand the entire overview in one gulp go ahead and skip to this page.
Before getting started with tracking down your lost or stolen laptop there certain measures you need to have done first.
1. Ensure you had installed the Matrix Blackbox chip in your laptop (or bag carrying your laptop) prior before it got stolen or lost. The Matrix Blackbox will act as your tour guide to help you with the recovery. You can purchase a Blackbox here if you need one. As for the trackable GPS backpack get it here. As for the Installation manual get it here
2. Ensure your Matrix Blackbox has data and or Airtime on the simcard you installed it with.
3. Ensure you have details of your laptops written up somewhere. The important details would be the make, model, serial number and mac address. You can download a spec sheet for your laptop here to fill it up manually.
4. Take a deep breath, relax, crank you neck side to side, crack you knuckles and repeat after me…I got this!
Okay Sherlock, now let’s get to tracking your laptop, shall we. We first need to get a location fix of the tracker. We will then go get it as we gather useful Intel and clues using other tools in the Matrix Blackbox to narrow down our search.
There are various ways to get GPS/GPRS location data of where you laptop is:
i) Now since the tracker (The Matrix Blackbox) is installed inside the laptop with a simcard, all you have to send a text with the word “ Find ” to the simcard
ii) In five minutes or less it will respond with a location text of a Google map link. Click on the link and open with your default map application.
iii) Now that you have opened the map toggle between different map modes to see and identify all surrounding landmarks around mark that as the first point of location.
iv) Next you want to repeat this process (sending “find”) say once every hour and mark every point on a map. You should have 24 points at the end of the day. The reason you want to do this first is to establish the most stable base of location of the person who has your laptop. You don’t want to be in a wild goose chase the entire day as he/she moves around globe-trotting with it. Catching the guy in an office, cafeteria or at home is best as they will be in a place of comfort. The location will guide you as well as the identifying land marks.
i) On the main Website click on the portal to access the live tracking platform or visit www.live.matrixblackbox.com
ii) Next login with your credentials and head over to the device management section to select your laptop
iii) Once you are in the system click on the device you want to track in this case your laptop.
iv) The Platform will show you where the laptop is amongst other related information. On this platform you can generate a route report to show you where your device has been and how it’s moving. It’s important to check where its movements intercept most as its likely to be the hide out/home where the suspect holding your laptop hostage is.
Next you may want to make your move. I.E Get the big boys. From where I come from I would go with my boys ready to teach a guy a lesson and hang him on a cross upside down to be an example for anyone who messes with my laptop. Alternatively one can involve law enforcement/security personnel at this point to escort you to go recover it but that will not as fun as cracking a jaw wide open on a guy who won’t see it coming.
In as much as you may want to go at it right there, there are other considerations you may want to make. At the location where the guy with your laptop is, it’s very unlikely that you will spot him/her waving at you come pick your laptop with a friendly smile as if it as a hide and seek game you both were enjoying. Unless it’s out in the open say a cafeteria there are challenges you will likely encounter in the field of duty:
1. You may find that the location where your laptop is, is in a very tall multi-storey building. Going from one door to another with a search warrant for the entire building isn’t going to be quite easy.You need a counter strategy for this.
2. The level of GPS/GPRS accuracy could be off by a few (or a lot) of meters. This can happen especially if the place has poor network coverage especially in countries that have few spaced out base stations or use outdated network infrastructure such as 2G.
Note: This is why also trying to locate a laptop using an IP address will fail 9 out of 10 times. IP address locating normally gives you a general area in which the area could be city wide. Imagine looking for a specific laptop in a city. IP Area generalization is the equivalent to looking for a needle in a hay stack.Unless the IP is registered to a specific user as in the case of dedicated public IPs, this is still going to be a challenge to access and get the suspect.
3. The Location could be highly populated and a lot of obstructions movements could be quite confusing for one to narrow down to where the laptop is.
Fret Not. In the next blog, you will learn how to tackle these challenges using advanced surveillance tools in real-time, getting you closer to your laptop.