A recent laptop theft, as well as concern that the data upon it might be deliberately accessed (on a drive with encryption or not), head lead me to think about how one might retroactively seek to regain possession of such a laptop, or at least how one might go about gaining leads as to who might have taken it - or where it might be.
If the stolen device were to include a unique file - lets call it Project_X.doc - and this same file were on another device available to the aggrieved, then might it be possible to track down the location of the device through location of the mentioned file?
I am not sure how this might work.
One obvious way would be a trap file that might appeal to a would-be invader that proceeds to send information to a secure email recipient, revealing its location. Kind of virus-like. The only problem with this (besides assumption that it'll be juicy enough bait to bite) is that it involves a degree of foresight and is not a measure that can be applied retrospectively.
The same would apply to registering the device itself with an online site permitting for its tracking. Not retroactive.
Could there simply be two identical files - on for use as a 'fingerprint' file, and another within the stolen device - that could be used to track the location without foresight other than 'happening to have the same file' on another device?
It would also be appreciated if at least a brief 'why yes' or 'why not' could also be included. I am no security pro by many a yard :)