Lost MacBook Pro

A colleague has lost their mid 2014 MacBook Pro, believed stolen.

It’s running Mojave and isn’t registered with Find My and my guess is that it’s not encrypted. (Despite my urging).

What level of protection is there for his data?

If the device does not have FileVault enabled, then I believe a highly motivated person could open the laptop, extract the drive, and mount it as an external drive in another computer.

However, doing so would require a fairly high level of skill, and risks ruining the computer.

I suspect the most likely situation is that the thief will reformat the drive and sell it, or use it as their own.

If FileVault isn’t enabled, I’m pretty sure that extracting the data is as easy as booting from an external drive and mounting the internal one, or booting into single user mode and changing the root password (not sure if that works anymore).

If this were a computer at my workplace, we’d consider it a breach and deal with it under the assumption that the data has been exposed to unauthorized people.

I agree that the most likely scenario is that the computer will be wiped and used or sold.

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None. Just hold T while booting and turn that MBP into a disk drive. Or boot from an external drive.

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Not only sensitive, any personal data falls within GDPR. Our severs with sensitive data are completely locked down, but we also put BitLocker on all laptops, since it’s almost impossible to not have personal data on them. If it’s a private laptop: no GDPR. If it’s a company laptop: report to (acting) DPO. And fire him/her for not having laptops encrpyted.

Frankly, If you’re gonna take/steal a laptop then you’re not going to care a bit about GDPR.

We were referring to the owner, not the thief. In addition to lost hardware, you could get into additional trouble.

Bit curious why none of the potential safety measures were taken? (Filevault / find my / firmware pass etc)
They’re an OS standard option, really strange they were not enabled.

My colleague isn’t tech savvy, using default settings and apps.

These aren’t on by default, perceived to be complicated, nerdy, and daunting. This isn’t difficult to understand it’s human nature to defer and delay actions which we don’t understand.

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Out of curiosity what do you guys do to possibly get your devices back if they’ve been lost?

Do you put name and email on the lock screen or something else like that?

I have my mobile nr and email address on the lock screen.
Also I have a firmware password set on the mac.

That’s about it really. Don’t know if you can do more??

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I only have an iPad and iPhone. I change the lock screen photo once a month.

I remember Katie talking about this on MPU in 2012 and how she had an app that would insert contact info on lock screens. I wonder if that app still exists. How do you insert the info?

I’m also curious about if inserting contact info can actually help the potential thief gain access to my account.

My email address is also my Apple ID and my phone number is also registered with Apple and could be, perhaps, in some way misused.

I did this a couple of years ago while on a trip to the USA. My solution was to have my passport left in the bag as well :laughing:

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I had the same app, and it stopped being updated some time ago.

As I recall, the app worked very simply - you gave it the info that you wanted on the screen, and then picked an image for the wallpaper, and it put the two together. The nice part was that it managed to put the info above the “Slide To Unlock” (remember that?) and below the time, so you could see it clearly.

IIRC - I think Federico Viticci made a shortcut that will do a similar thing, but I can’t locate it at the moment.

I now just put my contact info in Siri and hope that if an honest person finds it they will ask “Whose iPhone is this?” and Siri will tell them.

Truthfully the most likely thing that will happen is that I’ll use “Find My” and lock the device with another phone number to call if it’s found.

On my Macs I use System Preferences » Security & Privacy » General and then “Set Lock Message” to include my name and phone number.

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What would be the fastest way in your opinion to get that contact info onto a lock screen?

Turns out it wasn’t Federico Viticci, it was @RosemaryOrchard as discussed on the Automators forum.

Here’s the Shortcut from that article:

Overlay Contact Information On Wallpaper

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Thanks. I just ran it and it comes out a bit strange, but I’ll try it later again.

What are your thoughts about disclosing sensitive information on a potentially lost device? It might get you the device back, but it might also prove to be vulnerable information if left in the hands of the wrong people

I just put my Google Voice number and email address on it, not my address or Social Security Number :wink:

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The only information you need to disclose is your full name and contact information like an email address—hardly sensitive data in the grand scheme of things. Luckily I’ve never lost any devices before, but I leave this info visible on the locksceen(s) on the small but non-zero chance that someone finding my lost devices will opt to return it rather than keeping it as a paper weight.

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