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Third party monitoring

  1. Jul 17, 2012 #1

    Is it possible for somebody to monitor the activity on your computer using third party software?
    I have a friend who knows a lot of stuff about whats on my laptop (a macbook) that he has no way of knowing about.

    I feel like he's hinting me about it. I showed him a picture once that I took from a guy's website (I sent him the link) and he asked if I got that photo from my desktop (I did have it on my laptop, but I didn't share him the photo through my computer, I sent him a link from a website.) He also once said "my watch is big." He doesn't even own a watch from what I remember. I interpreted "watch" as it relates to sight.

    Is it possible that he has access to my files or am I just being insecure and paranoid? If he does have access to my files, are there any ways I can get his nose out of my laptop?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Yes, it is quite possible, though unlikely.

    He could have installed something on your system when you weren't looking...
    He could have guessed the password on your wireless network....

    How to stop it depends on how he got access.

    But so far, your comments about what he seems to know about your laptop don't really raise any alarm bells for me.
  4. Jul 17, 2012 #3


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    Science Advisor

    If your OS is Windows, then get a firewall and see what traffic is going in and out of your system. Check for system services and make sure there is nothing fishy running in the background. Check for any executables that are running in the background that are suspicious.

    If it's a stuxnet type thing, check your device drivers that are running (probably very unlikely of course).

    The thing is that computers work on what they are programmed to do. If data is going in and out, your network traffic will indicate that. Turn off all the stuff that could be used in the wrong way, and make sure you know what you are doing if this is the case: don't do it if you don't know what you are doing because you could screw it up.

    Also change your password and make sure crap like Remote Control for your PC is off as well. Check for other accounts on your PC besides your own login and get rid of them if they exist: (if a suspicious one exists, you know something is up).
  5. Jul 19, 2012 #4
    I question your definition of friend.

    If a machine truly is infected, the only sure way is to format and reinstall, unless you are absolutely sure you know you are doing. Once you get admin access on a machine, you can install anything, even software that can hide from firewalls and security software. Most stuff isn't that good, but you can never tell.

    I define "absolutely sure" at minimum that you read memory dumps and stack traces and you can use a disassembler. In other words, if you are asking, then you format and reinstall. Morally, I feel that giving you any other advice would be wrong.

    However, he's *probably* just pranking you.
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