I’ve been shopping around for a Mac lately and I finally found a good deal on Craigslist for a 15″ MacBook Pro laptop, which I picked up today. So far I’m pretty happy with it, even though everything is completely foreign to me on it. The only time I’ve ever used a Mac is when I play with the display models in stores. This mouse is going to take some getting used to – it keeps confusing me with its single button. Garage Band rules so far and will probably be the thing I love most about the Mac.
The people I bought it from didn’t seem to put much thought into clearing their data. The amount of stuff they left in here is insane. Aside from just their entire personal photo album and music collection and a few home videos, they’ve given me the password to everything they’ve ever logged into. Five different Facebook accounts, Myspace, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, an LDS dating site, Gmail, Yahoo, everything. There’s gotta be at least 100 passwords saved in their Firefox browser. They probably didn’t realize that all their passwords are viewable from within Firefox.
The first thing I did on this laptop was attempt to check my email on gmail.com, only to find out that I was already logged into this guy’s account. Hundreds of emails, available for me to peruse. I clicked on a gmail chat log between the two of them and skimmed over their lovey conversations before logging out. I later noticed that he had AIM actually running and it was still logged in. He didn’t even bother to close it. He also had some member site open in Chrome that he was logged into. Assuming there’s a way to list all the passwords saved in Chrome, I’ve probably get even more things I could log into. Not that I’m going to. No really, for realz!
I was happy to see that they left their entire music collection to me, some of which I’ll enjoy. There’s tons of church music, church sermons, 80′s music and more original motion picture soundtracks than I’ve ever seen a person own. But there’s quite a bit of good stuff in there too, which looks like it’s all non-DRM. Kind of ironic that they’re pirating church music. While in iTunes, I decided to click on the iTunes store, just to see if they were logged in to that. And they were. I could have purchased billions of dollars in music and movie rentals if I wanted to. I immediately logged them out, just to avoid the temptation.
I have access to all their online bill payment accounts and their bank. Who knows what that Wal-Mart and Walgreens stuff is, but it could be to refill prescriptions. It’s probably just photo development though.
Oh man, I’m digging deeper now and I just found 707 video files, most of them taken with a cheap digital camera. A few are pirated TV shows, but most of these are just church events and birthday parties and stuff. I bet if I kept looking, I’d find their personal nude photos and videos. Looks like there are over 4,000 JPG files in here. Most likely their entire lifetime of photos.
I’m completely blown away by the amount of havoc I could cause with all of this. This just makes no sense at all. They were nice people and didn’t seem like complete morons. Even a person who’s not technically savvy would know not to leave massive amounts of personal data sitting on a computer that you’re selling to a stranger. And this guy seemed like he was into computers. He had several sitting around the house and had a 1TB external drive and his wife was typing away on a Mac. A quick look through his Gmail shows me that he’s taking physics, chemistry and statistics at OSU. So he’s not retarded. But he’s retarded! This whole thing is nuts.
As I’m writing this I keep looking around and finding MORE stuff that I have access to. I can log into about 5 different accounts on Gmail and they use Google Voice for their voicemails that I could listen to. I bet they use Google Docs too. You people reading this know the kind of stuff I’m likely to do, just because it’d be hilarious. I could cause such a ruckus and I’m so tempted to. I really won’t though. I’m going to wipe all of this stuff out of here and just concentrate on migrating all my own stuff to my new Mac.
I’ve bought plenty of used computers from people in the past and there’s always a few things that they’ll forget about and leave behind. That’s expected. But this is just unbelievable. He didn’t even shut down AIM. The joke’s probably on me – they’re probably remotely monitoring me while I type all this since I’m a newb and wouldn’t know how to spot anything like that running. I’m expecting a phone call from them any minute now, saying, “OMG, we gave you the wrong computer!” That’s the only logical explanation for all of this stuff in here, that they gave me the wrong Mac.
Anyway, Spessa says I owe it to him to send him an email telling him how incredibly stupid he is. I hope he doesn’t get mad at me. It should be interesting to see how he responds. Here’s what I just sent to him:
Hey Chris. I’m the guy that purchased the laptop from you today. I’ve been on it for a few hours now and everything is working great.
I feel like I really need to mention to you how much personal data you left on this thing. Besides the more than 4000 personal photos and around 700 personal videos, there’s a list of your saved passwords in Firefox and there must be 100 logins and passwords in plain text. I assure you that I’m deleting all of this stuff and not logging into anything of yours, but there’s just such a massive amount of personal stuff on here, I think I owe it to you to let you know about it. It seems like I have access to several Facebook accounts, several Gmail accounts, Amazon and who knows what else. I just worry that next time you might sell a computer to someone a lot more malicious than me.
I hope you don’t mind me telling you about this. Once again, please don’t worry because I’ve deleted all of your saved logins and passwords already and I’ll delete the rest of your personal stuff tomorrow when I start migrating my own stuff onto it.
Thanks again for the awesome deal on this Mac!
I’m way too nice and concerned. Spessa suggested some awesomely terrible things to write to him, such as, “Had I been a more malicious person, I could have impersonated you on your LDS forums and told all the members that Brigham Young was a fraud.”
I’ll append his reply to this post as soon as I get it.
EDIT: His reply the next morning:
Thanks for the email. I was stuck with a dilemma of reformatting which would kind of render the computer unusable more or less in case you had any questions about the operation, since for someone to use it would require me registering and putting in some kind of user info over again. I finally came to the conclusion I would just reformat when someone decided to get it, it sounded like you were in a hurry so I just made a decision to trust that you’d reformat it. My wife deleted the documents a few days ago however so I figured the worst that could happen was you’d read some of my boring email.
The whole thing still seems crazy to me. It was hours between the time I talked to him on the phone and the time I picked it up. It would have taken just a few seconds to highlight all their videos/pictures and tap the delete button. And not much longer to wipe out Firefox’s stored password file. His logic of trusting the random guy from Craigslist is stupid. I’m crazy! I’ve screwed with peoples identities before. I’ve hacked accounts and caused online turmoil and devastation! This guy has no idea what kind of person he just handed all his passwords to. It’s a good thing Mr. Spessa isn’t visiting me this week, because he wouldn’t let me just delete all this stuff. He would insist that we do terrible things to everyone, just for the lulz. We would probably lock them out of every account they own, just to be jerks.
Whatever, though, I’m happy I got a laptop full of expensive Mac software, including iLife and the latest version of Photoshop!