29 January 2008

A gem in the street: laptop stolen flyer

On my way from home to work I saw this gem:

A flyer saying "Laptop stolen from car, reward offered". To be of any use, I think it should have said something about the reward, which must be above the [black] market value of that laptop. Can you imagine the thief contacting the owner with an innocent face: "I found this laptop in a thrash can in the park" ?

To make the gem complete, the flyer is glued on a phone booth with the inscription "displaying forbidden".


  1. Smart person would have reduced that black market value to zero by using a) full hdd encryption b) specialized security labels on the lid.

    Some 90-95% of the laptops stolen that have those two actually get returned (I've got this statistic from one major city police office) because they are hard to sell and benefit from. Only people who really need laptops for themselves or people close to them keep those after inspecting them...

  2. Using encryption won't reduce its value to zero. Simply format the hard disk and install a new OS; or replace the HDD with a new one; or disassemble it and sell the parts.

    I really doubt your statistics; 90..95% get returned? This should be a function of geographical location, and I can guess that you don't live in Eastern Europe, or an ex-USSR country :-)

    In these locations, what matters most is the value of the hardware, not the data contained within the file system.

    Anyway, I hope the guy had backups of his mission critical stuff.