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August 28, 2008

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You can call one of the credit reporting companies and freeze your credit, unless you're going to go about canceling cards and applying for new ones.

i'm no expert, but i'd say changing your passwords to everything asap is a must.

Although that's more for mitigation, rather than prevention.

Sorry about the laptop.

So sorry to hear that, had been wondering what was preventing your convention coverage.

Depending on what was on the laptop, think about freezing your credit reports so nobody can open accounts / get cards issued in your name.

Article: http://tiny.cc/NKrAQ

Damn, that really and truly sucks.

You might need to close, or at least freeze, your bank accounts if you ever did any banking on-line, and that includes electronic bill-pay. If you had on-line accounts (such as, but not limited to, eBay, or PayPal), you'll need to notify their customer service(s) to guard against unauthorized transactions. Not sure you need to worry about insurance or mortgage transactions, since all one generally does at those sites is make payments - and you're going to freeze your credit/debit/bank accounts anyway.

Good news (maybe): If you saved any of your writing to a Web-based workspace - by, say, emailing it to yourself (highly recommended if you don't do so) - that's probably still there, still accessible to you.

Maybe I'm slow but why is having your laptop stolen an identity theft risk? What is it that you keep on your laptop that makes identity theft easier?

That sucks. I lost a laptop to a break-in at my house once. I was seriously ticked, especially since I was poor and could not afford a replacement (it had been a gift from my parents). Luckily, (for me at least) the police actually recovered it in less that a week...at the scene of a triple homicide! I heard it was something drug related, but never got or really wanted the details. The cops kept all the floppies and CDs that had been in the carrybag, but I had copies of all the receipts including for the specific harddrive so I really lucked out. Whoever actually died...not so much. That computer is now about one step about a doorstop (the theft was in 2000) but it still works and I still have it. I even briefly drafted it into service when its replacement died on me a few years back.

I know that this story is not directly helpful, but perhaps you can take it as a symbol of hope that sometimes minor miracles happen and you do get your stuff back. Or if you're the vengeful sort, you can hope that the thief might die a gruesome death...

Relax, no one is going to deprive you of your identity.

This link gives some good advice and information, including the phone numbers of the three credit bureaus.

It's a shame you can't let your guard down for a minute in the setting you guys are in. I think we all feel this should be filed under, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Turbulence, I'm interested in the answer to that question too. I have gradually begun to do financial stuff online, with great reluctance. But I never agree to the little checkbox that asks me "Remember me on this computer?" I always type in my passwords manually, which I have assumed I wouldn't have to do if I let the computer "remember me."

So that still leaves the question: assuming there's no malware keystroke tracking software on the computer, is there some other way someone could pull passwords that were typed in manually?

Of course, I have no idea what hilzoy's habits in this regard are....and I would go further than Tony P: I'd rather have my car stolen than my computer.

So that still leaves the question: assuming there's no malware keystroke tracking software on the computer, is there some other way someone could pull passwords that were typed in manually?

In general, no. If your computer was taken by someone who wanted to know stuff about you and had an unlimited budget (say, the CIA), there are things they could do, but ordinary criminals have few options.

Of course, I have no idea what hilzoy's habits in this regard are....and I would go further than Tony P: I'd rather have my car stolen than my computer.

If you feel this way, then I strongly suggest that you encrypt your hard disks. Most modern operating systems allow you to do this out of the box. This isn't absolutely foolproof: if the CIA can steal your laptop while it was running (or shortly thereafter), they can gain access to all your data, but this sort of attack is generally beyond the capabilities of your average thief.

You are fortunate to have your laptop stolen. John McCain didn’t get to have a laptop when he was a POW for all those long years in Hanoi. He would have been lucky to have a laptop which could have been stolen by his guards…

/joke

Seriously, I’m sorry to hear about it.

What is it that you keep on your laptop that makes identity theft easier?

Just guessing, but just for starters, hilzoy may do banking online. If he did, the bank might be bookmarked in his internet browser. Browsers often try to be helpful for you and remember sign-in info passwords and autofill them if you don’t tell them to stop doing that. The thief might get access to paypal, credit cards, etc like that. Hilzoy might simply have personal information that would be gold to an info-thief (SSNs, DOBs, CC#s, phone#s, usernames and passcodes!etc.) recorded in files on the harddrive. Even if they’re hidden in some innocuous location/file, searches for info in formats like nnn-nn-nnnn, nn/nn/nn, nnnn-nnnn-nnnn-nnnn, nnn-nnn-nnnn and such might yield gold. All of that is just off the top of the head of someone who conducts virtually zero business online. I’m sure there’s a zillion things that I haven’t even considers. Any then there is the issue of the thief gaining access to the ObWi sight itself...

I'm not sure what was on it, but feel paranoid on general principle. I hate this. As I said, though, my own fault.

As I said, though, my own fault.

I'd be more inclined to blame the person who took it.

So sorry...but FWIW, I get the sense that identity-theft types tend to stay hidden behind their own computer screens. People who actually snatch bags are probably be a lot more likely to be strip-it-and-sell-it types.

Just guessing, but just for starters, hilzoy may do banking online. If he did, the bank might be bookmarked in his internet browser. Browsers often try to be helpful for you and remember sign-in info passwords and autofill them if you don’t tell them to stop doing that.

I do most of my banking online and my browser does not remember such the data needed to log into my bank. This is because my bank's website sets autocomplete off for username and password inputs. I kind of assumed that all banks would do the same, but I guess not.

The thief might get access to paypal, credit cards, etc like that. Hilzoy might simply have personal information that would be gold to an info-thief (SSNs, DOBs, CC#s, phone#s, usernames and passcodes!etc.) recorded in files on the harddrive. Even if they’re hidden in some innocuous location/file, searches for info in formats like nnn-nn-nnnn, nn/nn/nn, nnnn-nnnn-nnnn-nnnn, nnn-nnn-nnnn and such might yield gold. All of that is just off the top of the head of someone who conducts virtually zero business online. I’m sure there’s a zillion things that I haven’t even considers. Any then there is the issue of the thief gaining access to the ObWi sight itself...

Any reputable site that sells stuff should be using autocomplete=off for web forms that take credit card data. I know when I buy stuff online, my browser does not fill in credit card numbers even though I have it configured to remember form fields in general. I guess there might be SSNs, but I'm not seeing a whole lot of risk there.

And besides, hilzoy can change passwords for sites that deal with real money. What exactly would a thief do with the OW login: post articles? Sell it? To who?


I'm not sure what was on it, but feel paranoid on general principle. I hate this. As I said, though, my own fault.

Ah, thanks for clarifying hilzoy. I totally get that. I recently had some stuff stolen from apartment (sort of -- twas complicated) and the sense of violation was awful. Every loose bit of mail was a risk to worry over. Best of luck dealing with all of that.

Oh, Hilzoy, I'm so sorry to hear this.

People who actually snatch bags are probably be a lot more likely to be strip-it-and-sell-it types.

Or intelligence-gathering types, which includes private as well as tax-funded operatives.

However, theft for gain is more likely. So start with credit card reporting if the numbers are anywhere accessible on your laptop, and change your passwords on everything you can think of starting with your online banking.

And report it to the police, which you've probably already done. Don't blame yourself.

Is there the bright side that walking around is easier?

Best wishes, and profitable note-taking -- even if done with a pen! Hugs from here.

omg, I hope you backed up before you travelled.

And let me join the chorus saying, no, it is not your fault.

What exactly would a thief do with the OW login: post articles? Sell it? To who?

The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Kitty.

If once you start down the Kitty path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-wi's apprentice.

Any reputable site that sells stuff should be using autocomplete=off for web forms that take credit card data. I know when I buy stuff online, my browser does not fill in credit card numbers even though I have it configured to remember form fields in general. I guess there might be SSNs, but I'm not seeing a whole lot of risk there.
You're right, of course, but that hardly helps. To take one example, I love ActBlue, but they haven't turned off AutoComplete (or, at least using Internet Explorer, if you start typing in your credit card number at ActBlue you'll see a list of things you've typed into similar fields previously, including your Credit Card Number).

Similarly, if you've told Amazon or whomever to remember your credit card then anyone with your computer might try to buy some stuff. Sure, it might be dumb given the risk of shipping the item, but that's just an example.

And, as noted upthread, actual criminals might have better ideas of how to scoop up financial data.

Turbulence -- I get it about the sense of violation. A burglar broke into my house years ago and left with everything he (shoe size of footprints in dusty corners implied "he" and anyhow we had a pretty good idea who it was but could never prove it; and let's ignore the poor housekeeping that would leave dust around for burglars to step in) could fit in the voluminous hiker's backpack that must have been the the first thing he selected from my and my housemates' generally low-key possessions.

Homeowner's insurance reimbursed some of the $ value of what had been taken. But the sense of violation wasn't easy to get over. But my great-grandfather's gold pocket watch, which I had just had worked on to get it running, and which I had just left sitting in a drawer, wasn't replaceable with any amount of money. Thirty years later I still cast a wistful eye over gold pocket watches in jewelry shop windows, looking for the distinctive engraving on that watch.

Sigh. The police said it was likely melted down for the gold within 24 hours. They said other things that were fascinating too, but I'm already too far off topic.

It's obvious what's going on here: the forces of evil have been following hilzoy for days, waiting for their chance to snatch the laptop so that they could start posting all sorts of disinformation in hilzoy's name. Such is the power of Obsidian Wings.

the forces of evil have been following hilzoy for days, waiting for their chance to snatch the laptop so that they could start posting all sorts of disinformation in hilzoy's name
How do we know this post was really from Hilzoy? I kid, I kid.

Dear Hilzoy:

I'm so sorry your computer was stolen. I'm dismayed for you! I hope you either get it back or find a much better replacement.

Sincerely, Sean

Letters with her home address or order confirmations might do the trick. I often carry a usb stick in my handbag with photocopies of my passport and drivers licence and insurance policies and such, just in case of big disaster, fire, burglary, etc.

I used to have a folder on my laptop for that, but moved on to usb-sticks 'cause they are less likely to attract thieves. If I were a good person I would thoroughly encryt everything, but living in a very safe neighborhood makes me lazy.

Not your fault, fer shure. Hope you got everything blocked.

Damn shame!

The past is prologue....yak yak.

In the future, you might want to get an account (free) with Dyndns.com (or some other such Dynamic DNS service provider) that can locate your NEXT laptop by IP address whenever it connects to the intertubes. Then the next time it is stolen, you may get lucky and be able to locate it along with the crook.

dutch,
nice to see you. What kind of coverage are you getting on the convention? CNN International is covering the whole thing, and I'm going to be interested in seeing how the Japanese coverage shapes up (Japan morning shows have this rather bizarre, but incredibly interesting feature where they go over the front pages of the major newspapers on the air and identify what are the main stories)

Also, CNN international has the interview with Putin where he accuses the administration of starting the war in Georgia by goading them into aggressive actions, and suggesting that there were American nationals with the Georgia forces as well has giving Dana Perino's response and I'm wondering if that's getting any play back in the states.

"Japan morning shows have this rather bizarre, but incredibly interesting feature where they go over the front pages of the major newspapers on the air and identify what are the main stories"

That's been a feature of (some) late night news shows in the States since NBC Overnight in the early Eighties.

I'm so sorry that happened to you. Putting your bag down doesn't make it your fault.

I've seen that when I was back last year and the way it is done in Japan is different. iirc the US late night version is sort of a 'tomorrow's news today' (I think I remember that catchphrase) and generally catches the headline story only and does it in a way of saying 'here is what people in LA are going to see tomorrow, and in NY, this is the way it will come across'. It also seems like a way to fill in airtime on the latenight show that can be done with little or no scripting.

In the Japanese version, it happens during the equivalent of Good Morning America/American morning and there's a designated reporter who has the main pages of the newspapers on movable partitions and the reporter has a little pointer to compare how the stories are played in different newspapers. Also, Japanese newspapers are national, with a local supplement, so it is not like people can't see what one newspaper is showing unless they show it on TV.

Perhaps it is just me, but I have a hard time imagining an American morning show systematically going over the major newspapers every morning as a feature of the show. YMM will, I'm sure, V.

That should be YM will V not...

I think Nell has the right list, I had my laptop stolen not long ago, and the set of things I went through was

Change passwords for all online accounts (banks, investment, email, social networking sites)

Call and cancel all credit cards, essentially identically to the way you'd treat a stolen wallet

If you're techy like me and use an ssh client or something like that to log in to servers, change passwords & encryption keys on those machines

Its a pain; sorry you have to go through it! :(

In the Japanese version, it happens during the equivalent of Good Morning America/American morning and there's a designated reporter who has the main pages of the newspapers on movable partitions and the reporter has a little pointer to compare how the stories are played in different newspapers.

The closest thing to that on American TV is C-Span's morning show, Washington Journal. Not remotely as systematic. But with an audience of dozens!

--TP

Chuck Todd on MSNBC: "The Republicans don't know how to react to this yet."

His point, and mine: The speech had the pretty rhetoric but Obama displayed a toughness -- and, yes, anger -- that's been missing heretofore.

Obama clearly made this a race about the future vs. the past.

Which side are you on?

Ack! I'm so sorry. Can't add to the good advice upthread (especially at this hour and especially after Obama's speech), but I hope you get everything sorted soon.

Not fair, evil thief-person.

Wrong thread.

I'm too damn excited.

Dear Bedtime:

And I continue to REJECT Obama. And will never vote for him.

Sincerely, Sean

What kind of coverage are you getting on the convention?

Short descriptions of the main events/speeches and backgroundstories with photo's/blogs. About as much track as the situation in Georgia & Gustav and the possible evacuation of New Orleans in most newspapers.

The TV newsbroadcast I saw this morning (10 minutes "official" news) had about 3 minutes Obama/Denver. Other items: Karadzic trial, Argentinian generals convicted, scandal in Italy about crucified frog, Dutch film is nominated for Oscar, due to labour shortage Defense has dificulty filling (tech) vacancies, big fire in Rotterdam, Champions League (soccer), two major national cultural events this weekend and the weather.

I've looked at a number of speeches via the internet though.

What exactly would a thief do with the OW login: post articles?

I think we need to take a very, very close look at anything posted under Hilzoy's name over the next few days. Be prepared to denounce anything we don't think is up to Hilzoy's usual standards. But of course, the real concern is the Washington Monthly login . . . ;)

Aw, geez, hilzoy, that sucks. I'm so sorry about it.

"In the Japanese version"

That does seem different.

"YMM will, I'm sure, V."

I don't know what you think my mileage would vary on, or why you're sure, but so far as I can see, it doesn't.

Buy a Mac. Then if it stolen, you can access it remotely from another Mac and view the thief as he views the screen, save the video and take it to the police.

That is what a woman recently did to recover her stolen Mac.

My condolences, Hilzoy. Having your stuff stolen like that can really ruin your day. And let me echo the comment of others up-thread: people who have their stuff boosted do not deserve it for showing a basic trust in other people. If we get to thinking like that, we let thieves steal from us the most important thing: our belief in the world and each other. Never blame yourself for hoping for the best in other people.

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