London SE1 website team

Stolen laptop recovered thanks to tracking software and police

A laptop computer stolen from a print shop near St George's Circus has been returned after the owners used tracking software to monitor the machine's new users.

Stolen laptop recovered thanks to tracking software and police
The screenshot from Google Translate that enabled Captain Cyan to get its MacBook Air returned

The computer was stolen from Captain Cyan's poster printing shop at the Clarence Centre for Enterprise & Innovation in London Road.

Shop staff reported the theft to police but didn't hold out much hope of getting the laptop back.

They also activated the tracking software Hidden in order to keep tabs on any use of the computer.

For a few days nothing was reported, but then in dropped an email from Hidden which included screenshots of the machine in use, an approximate location and images from the Mac's built-in webcam showing the users at work.

When the machine's users logged in to Facebook, Captain Cyan staff were able to note down their names.

Eventually, one of the machine's users started translating a police bail notice from English to Romanian on Google Translate, which helpfully included their full address.

The Captain Cyan team called the police and three hours later they had their MacBook Air back.

No arrests were made as the machine's users were not suspected of the actual theft.

Jordan Chitty from Captain Cyan said: "I'd highly recommend Hidden, but make sure you follow their instructions in setting up a proper guest account, and setting a firmware password to make sure they can't just wipe your Mac.

"Our guys had just enough access to the internet to do stuff and give away their address, which was all the police needed to act."

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