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Hacker uses Facebook to find looted laptop

If you're going to riot and steal a MacBook Pro, perhaps it's best not to steal one from an IT security expert, a self-described hacker.

Some rioters seem to have worked out the idea of personal security. You know, by wearing their auntie's scarves across their faces and by disabling security cameras before they steal, um, cameras.

Others, though, appear to blunder in, without a second thought to just how pervasive technology has become.

So it seems in the case of a youth who allegedly thought it might be an idea, during last week's riots, to steal a MacBook Pro from a house in the West Kensington district of London.

The way the BBC reveals it, the accused, 18-year-old Soheil Khalilfar allegedly wandered into an apartment (or flat, as they like to call them there) and stole a MacBook Pro.

Sadly, for the alleged thief, it happened to belong to Greg Martin, an IT security specialist.

Greg Martin's blog Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You will be stunned into a sense of foreboding when I tell you that Martin had a tracking device on his laptop. Oh, did I mention he used to work for NASA and the FBI?

Martin's personal blog is a joyous affair. He describes himself as a hacker. And he describes the security software he uses as something called, portentously, Prey.

On his blog he says that, two days after the alleged theft, he received an e-mail via Prey that a person was using his laptop and that he could view screenshots of the sites the person was visiting. The notice "nearly knocked me out of my chair with excitement," Martin says.

He continued, on his blog: "After two hours hours of watching him surf religious revelation videos, shopping for Mercedes A class on autotrader he finally popped onto facebook!"

Thanks to his abilities and the software, Martin managed a little religious revelation of his own.

He says he managed to obtain "his Name: Sxxxxx Kxxxx, His School: xxxx School Class of 2009, His address: xxx N End Rd London W14, His IP Address: 90.201.72.xx, His ISP: BSKYB, His wireless AP: SKY378xx, His Facebook Page:"

It was the popping onto the Facebook page that closed the circle for Martin. He called the police and then went to bed.

So, please, if you're thinking or rioting and looting, do consider whose property you might be coveting.