[funsec] big brother at school

der Mouse mouse at Rodents-Montreal.ORG
Thu Feb 25 11:00:31 CST 2010

> 1. Surely any competent thief, on bagging one of these laptops, would
> begin by making sure the computer was disconnected from all networks
> (perhaps turning off the wireless via a hardware switch, if
> available) and then reloading the software, starting with the
> operating system.

I think you're assuming more computer competence on the part of the
thief than is justified.  Most thieves, I suspect, are more interested
in fencing it than in doing anything else with it, possibly excepting
turning it on to satisfy the fence that it works (FWVO "works").

The set of people who steal laptops to use them, while doubtless
nonempty, is probably small enough to be statistically ignorable.
(Industrial spies might be another exception, but I can't see
high-school student laptops in general being tempting targets for
industiral spies - though the particular laptops associated with the
children of execs at the victim company, say, might be.)

> Poof goes the remote webcam access that putatively had something to
> do with recovering stolen systems.

Yes.  But, again, you're assuming something unjustified: that the thief
will be aware of the risk and be competent to mitigate it.
Furthermore, even expert sysadmins make mistakes; one mistake can
easily leave the camera working just fine.  (I recall reading of one
stolen laptop that was recovered precisely because its owner had set up
its camera to take pictures and upload them somewhere....)

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