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MacAddict Tracks Down eBay Scam Artist 912

Posted by pudge
from the ha-ha dept.
OS24Ever writes "A future high school history teacher, Jason Eric Smith, sold an 867MHz PowerBook G4 on eBay right before finals. He found out the hard way that people are out there to rip you off, and he went to great lengths to catch this guy with the help of Mac heads everywhere. A great read and agreat way for us little guys to get back at these scammers."
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MacAddict Tracks Down eBay Scam Artist

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  • by Dimensio (311070) <darkstar@@@iglou...com> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:20PM (#4874770)
    ...how about, when shipping something, trying to hide a GPS transponder somewhere in the object. Make it well-hidden, but also give it a limited-lifetime battery so that it won't be traceable after about a week.

    If you get ripped, just follow the signal or keep track of where it last vanished (perhaps it went into a basement where it couldn't be tracked any further). Meet the crook at his/her door with a .45.

    Well, okay, maybe not a .45 but be ready to inflict physical violence, since the feds are rarely helpful.
  • by Dimensio (311070) <darkstar@@@iglou...com> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:24PM (#4874822)
    No. Does that have anything to do with my incredibly farfetched suggestion? It isn't as though I was suggesting federally mandated GPS tracking devices in shipping packages.
  • A smart mob / posse? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by certron (57841) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:25PM (#4874829)
    I think this is interesting for the sole fact that a whole lot of people who owe no direct kinship to each other elected to cooperate for a common cause.

    I was listening to a presentation about different pagan holidays, and one component of one of the rituals was to honor / remember your ancestors. What made me remember this was that the presenter said that the ancestors didn't have to be biological, instead could be cultural, intellectual, or spiritual ancestors.

    In this case, it seems that these 'artificial' families are willing to stick together and cooperate on a common goal, even if they themselves will not directly benefit. I suppose this is just a regular community, with enough people in it that a few would be motivated to assist. Then again, I could just be amazed by my own insight, marvelling at a fact that others have known for ages, and so think that I am smarter than I actually am. :-)

  • I sell things on Ebay as well (usually old games that I'm done with) - and I don't do COD. Paypal - sure. Checks and money orders, but I wait until they clear before they ship.

    I know we should be more trusting of people, but I've become convinced that 20% of the population is made of Assholes that can be trusted only as far as they can be shot.

    Still, I have to admire his spirit tracking the guy down - if nothing else, that's one less asshole to worry about. Only 1 billion to go!
  • Schizophrenic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Superfreaker (581067) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:35PM (#4874970) Homepage Journal
    "My girlfriend and I decided we would use the extra money to donate to some charities for Christmas"

    "but I'm not someone you want to have that happen to. I will get you. I will hunt you down, and I will bring a baseball bat with me."
  • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@ g m ail.com> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:39PM (#4875007)
    One of the things he mentions is tha tthe FBI and Secret Service were not interested in anything less than $5000. Chicago police just weren't interested... This brings up something called "the broken window theory." It goes like this: some socioligists whose names escape me observed that, as long as no window was broken in a building, they tended to stay unbroken. However, as soon as one was broken, if it was not repaired every window in the building would be broken in a couple of weeks.

    The idea here is that, by ignoring small crimes, the police miss chances to prevent big crimes. The funny thing is that the people wanted for "small" (I don't think of $3000 as small, but that's just me) crimes are often pulling the same scam again and again - but no one ever turns them in. These "small" scams can add up to really large amounts of money and become big ones.

    A few years ago, we had a homeless man who we gave a household job to steal a check out of my wife's checkbook. We only found out when we got a call from the grocery store, asking if we had actually written the check. Of course we hadn't -- the reason the grocery store had called us was that the guy had pulled the same stunt, at the same grocery store, seven times before. No one ever pressed charges. Well, we pressed charges, and it turned out the guy was also wanted for 10 counts of car theft, forging, fraud, etc. etc. ad nauseam. The really nauseating part? The police never followed through on our theft and forgery complaints, even though this guy had dozens of similar complaints against him.

    So, the bottom line in my not so humble opinion is that, if you want to prevent crime, you don't need to outlaw guns or anything: just start enforcing the laws you already have.

  • by MoneyT (548795) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:40PM (#4875017) Journal
    Mac users are very protective of their computers, and will go to great lengths to ensure that people don't steal them. Theres a similar story floating about how one person had their mac stolen from thier house and used tibuktu and some funky apple scripts to trace the mac to a house. Long story short, police show up, find stolen computers, guy gets his computer back.

    Just cause PC users are accustomed to losing money in bad investments doesn't mean that mac users are.

    [Yes, that last statement is a troll]
  • Mod Parent Up. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fished (574624) <amphigory@ g m ail.com> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:47PM (#4875109)
    You know ... you've really got a point there. Maybe if we weren't putting all our law enforcement dollars into trivial, non-violent drug "crimes" (or would be non-violent if they weren't illegal) we would have time, money and energy to pursue things like theft, fraud, forgery, utterance, grand theft auto, etc.

    Never thought I'd see an Insightful AC.

  • by angle_slam (623817) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:50PM (#4875153)
    I sell things on Ebay as well (usually old games that I'm done with) - and I don't do COD. Paypal - sure. Checks and money orders, but I wait until they clear before they ship.

    That is what I thought when I first read the article. But it was a forged cashier's check. Cashier's checks are usually as good as cash. I won't do COD either, but you can't really blame him for accepting a cashier's check. When I Ebay, if I get a cashier's check, I ship without waiting for the cashier's check to clear because, if legit, it is guaranteed to clear. (Of course, I normally don't sell things worth $2900.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:50PM (#4875157)
    Nice Troll. Whether it was a PC, a Mac, or a Hummel figurine, $3000 is $3000. The author also made it seem like the Mac community was special but I think there are lots of other communities that would go through the same effort. I even think you might find a few slashdotters who would help on a good cause. I love how the Mac Addicts think they are part of some elite community. What makes you elite is the fact that you are willing to spend extra money for an image.
  • by psxndc (105904) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:54PM (#4875202) Journal
    This is also know as the tipping point. There is X point in a relationship where going just beyond that point causes a dramatic shift in that relationship. Example: Say crime in CityX is 5%. 6% is the tipping point such that if crime stays at 5% it will remain 5% indefinitely. By inching that percentage up 1% to 6% for some reason the reality is that crime will jump to say 12% the year after it hit 6%. It's just a weird phenomenom that has to do with people's perception of a reality becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. More info can be found here [fsbassociates.com]

    psxndc

  • by Dark Paladin (116525) <jhummel@johnhumm ... t minus caffeine> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @05:57PM (#4875234) Homepage
    As I seem to recall (and people from New York feel free to correct me on this), one of the things that Rudy Guiliani [sic] did was have the police start ticketing people who jaywalked.

    The result? Overall reduction in crime - since if you were going to be caught for the little things, odds are you were going to be caught for doing a big thing (selling drugs, etc). And it made the police highly visible - and the one thing I remembered from my old criminal law classes (before I ditched law) - the likelyhood of getting caught for a crime is a far greater deterance than the punishment of a crime.

    I have to agree - if we have a system that busted people for crimes - regardless of the "level" (no, I'm not suggesting death penalties for jaywalking, calm down, or a police state - just if a crime is obviously committed, like a bike theft **cough**like I went through once**cough**), go after it. Odds are, it would do more good in the long run by nipping these "small time" crooks in the bud before they ever become "big time".
  • by lysander (31017) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:04PM (#4875308)
    I had just finished reading some Vonnegut and remembered this same book.

    Here's choice quote from another Vonnegut book about a similar sort of "family":

    ... I learned the joke at the core of American self-improvement: knowledge was so much junk to be processed one way or another at great universities. The real treasure the great universities offered was a lifelong membership in a respected artificial extended family.

    --Rabo Karabekian, protagonist of Bluebeard
  • Then again..... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NDPTAL85 (260093) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:06PM (#4875328)
    ....if we legalized drug use we'd have a lot more users/addicts who would eventually become desperate enough to commit those very crimes so they could afford their new habits.

    So as result we'd have a rise in those types of crimes you think are currently being ignored.
  • Re:here goes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ubrayj02 (513476) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:22PM (#4875495) Homepage Journal
    It sure seems a shame that after all of that work, and hassle, the guy is still out over 3000$ I'm not sure what sort of implications this would have for our legal institutions - but shouldn't someone who has stolen or ripped someone else off, has gotten arrested, and is convicted of that crime pay back the people who were robbed? Maybe just an equal amount of money as the stolen goods, or with some extra for pain and suffering, or something.
    I realize that making people pay for their crimes with currency, or goods, or services, might seem strange (and maybe un-American too)but there are lots of instances of this in other parts of the world.
    Just off the top of my head, in Iraq when you murder someone, you owe their family a certain fixed amount of "blood money" (heard this on NPR a month ago). In Morrocco the theft of sheep could (circa the 1930's - from a paper by Clifford Geertz on "thick description") be re-imbursed from the thiefs family's flocks. These are obviously just random snippets from around the world, but I wonder if they might work in certain cases - like this one.
  • by lysurgon (126252) <joshk@NOspaM.outlandishjosh.com> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:24PM (#4875515) Homepage Journal
    Actually the Guiliani directive to crack down on "quality of life" crime went way further back than jaywaliking. In fact the aggressive prosecution of jaywalkers (and the outlawying of dancing in unlicensed city bars and clubs) is really where he went over the line.

    The basis of the quality of life program was to try to move in and bust kids writing graffitti, homeless people loitering and especially low-level drug dealers. Beat cops had previously been instructed to avoid drug deals for fear of corruption.

    The numbers largely speak for themselves (though there's a strong case that improved economic conditions do as much to deter crime as incresed police presence), but because of endemic flaws in the police system (e.g. a certain amount of ingranced racism) the whole campaign caused a lot of acrimony.

    People (more often than not minorities) were being stopped and shaken down for guns and drugs illegally, but since these shakedowns seemed effective, the department allowed it to go on. The high-profile beatings and killings of minorities around the city was causing a lot of civil unrest. Thankfully, since 9-11 the relationship between the police and the people of the city seems to be back on track. Too bad it took such a tragedy to set things right.
  • by Greedo (304385) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:41PM (#4875664) Homepage Journal
    Sounds a lot like this guy's story [macscripter.net].

    Basically, stolen iBook has dynamic DNS and Timbuktu (VNC-like app) installed on it. Owner notes when stolen computer is logged into the net, runs Applescript to help track it, recovers it.

    I think I read about this on /. back in January.
  • by Genoxide (633645) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:45PM (#4875697)
    Well, I live in Denmark, and while I would never consider danes to be pagan in any way, we do do celebrate a national holiday called "Sankt Hans", which means "Saint Hans" (isn't danish easy) :) well.. this day is celebrated each year on the 23rd of June, which is usually the day after summer solstice. And on this evening we light BIG fires on all our beaches.

    Furthermore, it is custum that every fire has a mock witch on top (real live witches are surprisingly hard to come by these days). We say that we, by doing this, are sending all the witches to a town called "bloksbjerg" which is actually a place in germany where we believed that the witches would have a sabbat and meet with the devil on this very night! We then congregate around these massive fires and sing songs about the time when we were vikings, and how much we were able to eat and drink, and how many people we killed, how proud we are of all those things, and how we will still fight back any intruder (with swords, mind you), and at the same time honor our warriors of the past!...

    Now in the communications era, we don't have relatives of that kind around the world, but many of us still have one thing in common. Not the past, but the now! We all share our common interest in computers, and my experience tells me that 99% of all nerds are really friendly and helpful, as opposed to many other "normal" people, and most of us would gladly help out a fellow nerd who was ripped off/cheated/decieved etc.

    I think it's a good and comforting message a story like this is sending out in todays world that can, at times, be a horrifying and cruel place, with little to no fellowship among men. "Nerds of the world, unite!" :)
  • Re:yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by misterye (260449) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:48PM (#4875715)
    I am Jason Eric Smith, and I would probably die laughing if I did see a Ellen Feiss peeing on Intel sticker. You should pursue it, you'd sell millions.


    Actually, the anti-PC bit was writing to my audience. I never expected this to get outside the Mac bulletin boards. Honestly I don't care what kind of computer you use, they're just tools. Cheers all.

  • Re:Awfully dangerous (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:50PM (#4875737) Journal
    >> And in a perfect world, they would have people assigned to this sort of thing, and enough of them to do something about it in a timeful manner.

    In a perfect world, there would be no cranks or nutjobs who spend all day having the local cops run errands for them or otherwise bother them with trivial bullshit.

    I'm not saying this guy is one, but we have a bitchy old crank down the street who calls the cops every time a kid cuts across her lawn on the way home from school.

    I had the cops come to my door 5 nights a row at my old townhouse because the neighbour kept reporting my car as a 'suspicious vehicle parked out in front'. Luckily I work for a company that sells software to police, and my local county in particular, so the problem quickly went away.

    Then there's the drunks who go out and pick a fight, get their asses kicked, then show up at the station wanting to 'see the guy locked up'.

    And everyone who gets the short end of the stick on a business deal wants the cops to do something for them.

    My point is, forget the fact that there's an overwhelming amount of crime for a cop to be able to deal with each incident in a timely manner.. Theres so much bullshit and whining, they never get to the real incidents. And when they do, their hands are so tied with beurocracy and paperwork and bullshit procedures that you aren't going to see your 'eye for an eye' instant gratification.

    As I mentioned, I write and support software for the public safety industry. I can dial in to any one of hundreds of our CAD (Computer Automated Dispatching) systems and see the ratio of cranks/whines to actual incidents is literally 100:1.

    In a case like this, if you have the evidence of who ripped you off and how, it's much better to get a lawyer and drag it into a civil court.

    Disclaimer: Noone has more disrespect for cops than me, I work with 'em every day. There are many incompetent, arrogant, power-tripping douchebags with a gun and a badge out there. But they do have a pretty much impossible job to do. They write so many speeding/seatbelt tickets because thats all the system lets them do effectively.
  • Re:Awfully dangerous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sweetooth (21075) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:53PM (#4875754) Homepage
    This is flawed logic. By going after the big criminal you look good and stop one or two big thefts. If you let the small time fraud cases go you can ultimatly be letting a larger amount be stolen. The fact that it's taken in smaller amounts doesn't make it any less of a crime. In fact if you read the article you would see that the individual committing the fraud in this case was committing $10,000 in fraud that day. How many other times had he done this? Probably quite a bit. Is it worth it to go after one $100,000 fraud case and not 5 $3,000-$6,000 dollar fraud cases that may ultimatly add up to >$100,000? If small time criminals find out that as long as they keep the dollar amount down they won't be investigated by the police, they are basically provided incentive to continue committing the crimes in those small amounts. Over time it can add up to a lot of money. They are also likely to tell other people about it and the trend can increase.
  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @06:58PM (#4875793)
    Hell no the American Indians would not band togeather across Tribal boundries, except for a few notable exceptions to drive off a common enemy.

    Little Bighorn was one of the few times tribes hooked up to take out Whitey.

    The Aztecs were taken down by a mix of other native tribes (names of which I don't recall and can't spell) fighting WITH the Spanish.

    Hell the Spanish in Mexico had more problems with other Spanish coming to take out Cortez than the Spanish had with the Aztecs.

    If you look at the Inidan Wars, tribes would go to the French or English/American side in the same division which marked the intertribal warfare that exsisted before the Europeans settled in the Americas.

    Some have argued that the US-Plains Indians Treaties should be voided because the agreements to stop fighting between the tribes were broken when the Tribes would go at it within weeks of returning from the Treaty signing.

    Even today, there is alot of mistrust between bands of Lakota and the Crows sure don't like the Lakota.

    If you are from Cheyenne River Reservation, you are not always welcome on Standing Rock or Pine Ridge, and you really don't want to go over to the Crow Reservation.
  • by freek_daddy (250162) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @07:18PM (#4875983)
    I had a roommate who had a simliar experience - being a creduluous guy, he bought on eBay, for something like $650, a video tape copy of a Japanese Twin Peaks laser disc that doesn't really exist. Said seller pocketed the cash and abandoned the email addresses. The roommate, driven by a "very agressive" girlfriend made a several hundred mile detour on a road trip, showed up at the seller's house (googled it - the scammer used his real name) and browbeat him into returning the money.

    Of course, good for them. When scammed, getting the scammer back is a virtue. But the real virtue is not putting yourself in that position. Don't sell expensive items COD. Don't spend $650 for a tape of a laser disc which the fan community says doesn't exist. I'm happy the Mac guy got his satisfaction but a "4.0 Honor Student" (aside : my father always said - don't trust people who are always the heroes of their stories) should have enough brains to realize that COD is a dumb way to sell computers and he also should've realized that when you deposit a $3000 check from someone you don't know, you wait for it to clear before using the cash.
  • by tdrury (49462) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @07:34PM (#4876098) Homepage
    You are right that it is against eBay policy to sell off eBay - it's categorized as Fee Avoidance.
    This often occurs when you list one item on eBay and in the description you claim to have more that you are willing to sell. You are skirting the Listing Fee which is against eBay rules.

    However, you are allowed to cancel an auction at anytime - at _any_ time. It seems a little unfair but it does have legitimate uses. Often sellers will list an item locally (paper,signs,etc) as well as on eBay. If the item sells locally they can cancel the eBay auction by cancelling all bids then cancelling the auction (you must cancel the bids first or else the high bid at the time you cancel the auction does win the item).

    Remember - no bidder has won the auction until the auction ends. There is no contract until that time.

    Come and visit us on the Trust & Safety (Safe Harbor) boards. These sorts of issues get brought up daily.

    I am an eBay junkie.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, 2002 @07:45PM (#4876174)
    Of each and every person who said 'we won't take this case' such that if they fall under *MY* congressmen, I can write a letter explaining my position on them taking my tax dollars to 'protect' me, then not actually protecting me.
  • by mindstrm (20013) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @08:03PM (#4876334)
    That is where the 10 business days come from. After 10 business days, the bank can't backpedal and say the funds aren't yours. They have 10 days to complete their clearing process.

    They also have to notify you of NSF issues within 48 hours of finding out about it... not that you have any easy way of finding out if they followed this rule or not.

  • Los Angeles, too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clem.dickey (102292) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @08:13PM (#4876427)
    San Francisco is well-known for tolerance of illegal parking. About 25 years ago the SF police wanted higher wages but were forbidden to strike. One day the police protested by ticketing all illegally parked cars, especially those around City Hall and the local newspaper offices. That night the Chief of Police appeared on local TV to apologize for the unprofessional conduct of his men!

    By comparison, there were - and are - Los Angeles suburbs in which police will ticket a car parked facing the wrong direction. The police infer that something illegal must have happened to place the car in that position.

    This difference broke the Patty Hearst case. While the Symbionese Liberation Army held Patty Hearst in San Francisco, police and FBI had no luck finding her. Then the SLA moved to Los Angeles - unfamiliar territory for them. They parked a van in a red zone, which would have been no big deal in SF. Police arrived to ticket the van, determined that it was stolen, and caught or killed a large part of the SLA.
  • Re:no police force (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moosemoose (620072) on Thursday December 12, 2002 @08:23PM (#4876505)
    well it was a rant and i do agree that some sort of structured law enforcement is desirable. but i think the two points that i wanted to make were (1) that behavior in our society is for the most part not moderated by the existance of police. in other words, most of us would continue to not murder and rape in the absence of a police force and conversely, those who do murder and rape today do not seem to be particularly deterred by the existence of the police and (2) small local groups (ala the post in question) seem to be more effective than large 'crime fighting' organizations. in the recent case of the theft of credit information of 30,000 people, the thieves were caught not by the police but in effect by the credit reporting agencies (after $2.7 million stolen). according to the news reports they would still be doing this today if they hadn't gotten greedy and started downloading 15,000 reports at a time. i used to practice law and i can tell you from personal experience that the police do not concern themselves with the small victim. steal 50% of a poor person's possessions and you get no police action. steal 1% of a rich person's and you get the crime lab.

  • by matt_wilts (249194) <matt_wilts@hot[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday December 12, 2002 @08:37PM (#4876595)
    Here's the response I got from Ebay when I thought I detected shill bidding:


    To: Matt {matt_wilts}
    Subject: Re: Possible shill bidding on auction 1235911285 (KMM28339167C0KM)
    From: eBay UK Investigations {ukinvestigations@ebay.com}
    Reply-To: eBay UK Investigations {ukinvestigations@ebay.com}

    Hello Matt,

    Thank you for writing to us.

    I sincerely apologize for the delay of this e-mail and hope that it did not cause you any inconveniences!

    I have investigated your report regarding {{ insert user id }}, and can understand how this would be troublesome.

    Please be assured, if a violation of eBay policy has occurred, we will take the appropriate action in accordance with our site policies. Such action may include issuing a warning, temporary suspension, indefinite suspension or terminating the membership.

    Due to eBay's Privacy policy we are unable to provide information regarding the details of another user's account. We are equally
    concerned about violations on the site, and will thoroughly investigate each report we receive. However, the details of our actions cannot be
    disclosed with third party members. Please remember that this is for the protection of all eBay users.

    We appreciate your assistance in keeping eBay a fun and safe place to trade..

    I hope you have a wonderful week!
    Regards,
    Darcy
    eBay UK SafeHarbour
    Investigations Team


    Must be some new use of the word "safe" that I've not yet come across...

    Matt
  • Re:Mod Parent Up. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by glesga_kiss (596639) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:42AM (#4877944)
    And Budweiser wouldn't be to pleased with any legalisation. They are a primary contributor to Partnership for a Drug Free America.

    Isn't it ironic, don't you think? ;-)

  • by FuegoFuerte (247200) on Friday December 13, 2002 @03:12AM (#4878506)
    I guess they should start requiring a quick Scan of a Valid state driver license for CODs -- when payment is not by cash. At least then they'd have a scan of all the data on the drivers license/State ID Card (for people who don't drive) to turn over to the victims/police.

    This in no way gaurantees that the check is not counterfeit. The business I work for, and many of the other stores in our chain, have recently gotten several counterfeit checks all from the same person. Every time, they have been for a significantly large amount that store policy says we must check 2 pieces of ID and verify funds with the bank. However, the guy is good enough that he has matching (counterfeit) state drivers licenses and second form of ID, and he uses a different name every time. He also steals account numbers to put on the checks, so when we call the bank to verify funds, everything seems alright. By the time the check actually tries to clear, the person has realized their account has been compromised, and the check comes back as stolen. So if the scammer is sufficiently careful/advanced, no amount of ID checking will do you any good.
  • Re:Wouldn't work. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Edmund (19021) on Friday December 13, 2002 @05:31AM (#4878963)
    Depends on the laptop. IBM laptops are well-known for being notoriously hard to crack. The passwords are stored on a seperate flash RAM chip on the motherboard, which is backed by a CRC checksum. In addition, the password is replicated on the hard drive, and when the BIOS password is set the exact same password is set on the hard drive.

    If you simply wiped or tamped with the data on the chip, the CRC check would fail and the laptop would refuse to boot. Even if somebody managed to bypass the BIOS password by obtaining a "virgin" password chip (i.e. one that has no password set and a checksum to reflect that), they would still be unable to access the hard drive because they lack the password. If the hard drive was put into another computer, it would come up with a controller failure without the password.

    Note that there is a way to circumvent this. You could buy a third party security chip (several companies sell them) and solder it in place of the original one. Then you simply toss out the original hard drive.

    Apparantly a talented man from Australia has figured out exactly how the passwords are stored/encrypted on the chip and built a simple serial circuit and program combination to read it. The schematics and software are freely available on his website, and the idea is that you build the circuit, read the contents of the chip, send him the dump and pay him money to recover the password from inside the binary dump. This allows you to keep the hard drive.

    Unfortunately, I don't have the URL of his website off-hand. If anybody has used his services, does it actually work? :)

    - Ed.

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