Digital 007 – outwitting the thief

By | December 2nd, 2010

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I noticed the following tweet from @DigitalRoyalty:

My friend’s laptop was stolen. He tracked the thief via @Backblaze for weeks & finally identified him on Facebook & Twitter. Digital 007.

I know our online backup service saves user data every day, but physical theft recovery? That certainly caught my attention and I asked for the whole story. The friend who had their laptop stolen, Mat Miller, replied:

I received a DM from @DigitalRoyalty that you were interested in hearing the story of how I identified the thief of my computer using Backblaze, here goes:

I was in LA on a work trip and my laptop was stolen from the trunk of my car. Bummed out for sure but o’well at least my data was safe! I was insanely busy over the next week so I was logging in to the dashboard and grabbing files as I needed them. Then, about 4 days after the computer was stolen, I saw that a new user had been created on my computer.

The name was “jack”. I clicked on the folder and noticed that the thief had failed to remove the Backblaze program from applications and his files were being uploaded! On the first day I had a picture but nothing else (wait for it Miller).

A few weeks went by with no specific details to nail him on (I must admit everyday was quite exciting) until last Friday. He added a college paper on his desktop with his full name. I googled his name and came up with his Twitter and FaceBook pages!

I’ve filed a report with the LAPD as of today so we’ll see how this pans out. Backblaze is amazing!!!

Mat Miller

Wow. Nice sleuthing Mat, thanks for telling us about it, and hope you get your laptop!

Gleb Budman
Co-founder and CEO of Backblaze. Founded three prior companies. He has been a speaker at GigaOm Structure, Ignite: Lean Startup, FailCon, CloudCon; profiled by Inc. and Forbes; a mentor for Teens in Tech; and holds 5 patents on security.

Follow Gleb on: Twitter / LinkedIn / Google+