Over the course of 10 years, [Victor Papagno] stole 19,709 pieces of equipment from the Naval Research Laboratory. He began taking stuff home in 1997 and had so much that he had to store some in a neighbors house. The report says that no secret technological information was taken. Some items listed were CDs, hard drives, floppy disks, adding up to an estimated value of 1.6 million dollars. He could face up to two years in prison for this. We shudder to think of the total cost of all the post its, CDs, and floppy disks we’ve taken home over the years.
We are very inspired by the story of [Morris Mbetsa], an 18-year-old Kenyan who’s invented the “Block & Track”, an antitheft and tracking system for vehicles that’s phone-based. [Mbetsa] has no formal training, but he’s been a lifelong inventor and tinkerer. [Mbetsa] combined voice, DTMF, and SMS text messaging technologies with cellphone based services to allow the owner to control the vehicle’s electrical system remotely. The owner, using his cellphone, can take control of the ignition, and disable it at any time. Other features include the ability to lock the car remotely, and the capability of dialing into the car and listening in on any conversations taking place within the vehicle. [Mbetsa] is currently looking for funding to take his invention to the next level; we’re eager to see what he’ll come up with next.
Adeona is an open source internet-based laptop tracking system that is free to use. It’s available for Linux, OSX, and Windows XP/Vista. After installation, Adeona will submit at random intervals, anonymously encrypted updates on the computer’s location to servers on the Internet, specifically to OpenDHT, a free storage service. The information is kept on the servers for one week. If your laptop becomes lost or stolen, you can use the retrieval tool to access information about where your laptop was last used: the external IP address, internal IP address, and nearby routers. If your laptop is a Mac, you can also download isightcapture to grab a picture of the thief. Adeona is designed to protect against common criminals who may not have much technological knowledge, and does not have any protections against events such as disk wipes. The open source nature of Adeona’s system means that there’s ample opportunity to improve upon the release or add extensions. Here’s one user who really likes what he sees.