DIY Computer Forensics Captures London Rioter

16 August 2011

It is interesting to see an article about a stolen laptop during the London riots that was traced on a social media site by the computer’s owner using a tracking device. The combination of social media and basic computer forensicshas become a vital tool in punishing criminals who actually took part in the riots.

According to a news article on the BBC website, an information security professional called Greg Martin had his Macbook Pro laptop taken from his flat in West Kensington. But unbeknownst to the thief, Mr Martin had installed a clever tracking device on the laptop and was able to get the identity of the thief.

Mr Martin flagged the laptop as missing and was then able to monitor the websites that the user was viewing. This would have initially been a frustrating process for Mr Martin, as the websites that were being viewed included Autotrader and religious videos – which do not give any great clues to the identity of who is in possession of the laptop.

However, thankfully the person in possession of the stolen laptop then logged into Facebook which allowed Mr Martin to discover the man’s name, education details, and his whereabouts in West London via vital information about his wireless internet.

These details were then handed over to the authorities and the laptop was soon recovered. An eighteen year old male called Soheil Khalilfar has since been charged with handling stolen goods.

It is good to see modern technology and social media – which has suffered a bit of bad press as a result of the riots – have been used effectively to punish those responsible for the disgraceful scenes we saw in the capital and various locations across in the UK.

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