A happy ending: how two stolen laptops were recovered with Kaseya

Have you ever had your laptop stolen? I did several years ago, from the trunk of a locked car in a suburban shopping mall. But lately thieves are getting caught because of better software tools that are on the laptops, and this is a story about two laptops that were stolen several months ago. The thefts were independent events, with only one thing in common: both of them were managed by the same Sacramento VAR, Capital Computer Guys.

Greg Hemig, the operator and owner of the business, has been a Kaseya customer for years and tries to get all of his PC support clients to install the Kaseya agent on their machines. This agent can do a lot of different things, such as remotely control the machine, update drivers, and install a keylogger to keep track of what the user is doing. Most people use it for fairly benign purposes but Hemig figured out quickly after the laptops were stolen that he could use the software to track down where the machines were being used.

Which he did. He was able to gather all sorts of information from them once they connected to the Internet – “I was able to find out not just an IP address, which is what a typical anti-theft product like LoJack would provide, but an actual physical address, the names of the user’s girlfriend and family, how to access their bank accounts, and even turn on the microphone on the laptop and listen to what they were saying while they were typing.” Scary stuff, but within two weeks of contacting law enforcement, he was able to get back both machines to their original owners.

The hardest part about the whole process wasn’t collecting the information, but convincing the cops that he was legit and that they needed to act to retrieve the PCs. Both laptops didn’t travel very far from their original locations – one was only 20 miles away.

Hemig charges $30 a month per PC to support his customers, and has more than 600 PCs under management in this fashion. That is a nice piece of business, and something that more VARs should consider. “It makes me more competitive, and it was the same price that I used to charge for break/fix work, but now I can deliver a lot better service to my customers,” he says. “I think traditional tech support companies are going to disappear soon. Certainly, having Kaseya has changed my business completely. I almost wish my laptop would be stolen just to try to find it.” Kaseya may be new as an anti-theft device, but it made it a lot easier to recover the laptops. And the company is looking into providing other tools to help its VARs in similar circumstances.

2 thoughts on “A happy ending: how two stolen laptops were recovered with Kaseya

  1. Another reader suggests:
    I have had personal experience with Orbicule’s Undercover, and the prior version of the product, LapCop.

    Basically every time you boot the machine, it asks Orbicule if it has been stolen. If it has, it triggers a stealth program” that provides its current IP, but also send back screenshots and camera images every 5 minutes.

    I have all of my friends install Undercover.

    About 2 years ago, one of my friends had a bunch of items stolen from his car. His brand new laptop was one of the items. Within a few days we had screenshots and camera images of the thief. Working with local authorities the laptop was recovered within a week.

    The price is $49 lifetime, or $59 for family (5 users). I bought my original lisense many years ago, and have yet to be charged an upgrade fee.

    The author of the program is Peter Schols .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s