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Old 01-13-2019, 01:13 PM
Sage Rat's Avatar
Sage Rat is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 21,458

Dealing with Stalker Software?

A lady friend of mine (who lives abroad) says that while she was dating a guy, once, he had offered to come over and figure out how to set her wifi into secure mode, instead of public mode. He installed something on her computer, didn't fix the wifi, and she soon after stopped dating him on the basis that he seemed creepy. She's now worried that he installed some sort of stalker software on her computer, to read her emails and whatnot.

The internet doesn't seem to have any good suggestion that seems particularly reliable for detecting or removing any such thing. I was thinking that if it was activating her camera, she would be able to track the outward packet count, but she's more worried that the dude might just be keeping track of what she writes and who she's talking to. But it looks like there's only one well-known spy package out there, and she's out of luck if it's not that one, or if the developers of it are ahead of the scanner at the moment.

Any suggestions beyond re-installing Windows? I assume that should kill it...if she still has the disks.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 01-13-2019 at 01:14 PM.
Old 01-13-2019, 01:18 PM
Palooka is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eastern Ontario
Posts: 2,540
You could go through the list of running programs/dlls with Microsoft's ProcessExplorer and account for everything. This would be difficult if the software run intermittently.

Personally, I'd nuke it for the extra peace of mind.
Old 01-13-2019, 03:43 PM
Quartz's Avatar
Quartz is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Where haggis roam free
Posts: 31,111
First off, get her to run Malwarebytes.

The next thing to do is look at Programs & Features and Apps to see if anything looks suspicious.

Since she is not local to you, you can do this by running Remote Assistance or Teamviewer so it will be entirely under her control.
Old 01-13-2019, 03:51 PM
filmore is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,391
The safest thing is to get a new hard drive and start clean. If he had access to the machine, there's no telling what he installed. A savvy technician could probably figure out if anything was done to the machine, but it will be very difficult to figure it out if she doesn't have the background and you're trying to give her suggestions remotely.

I recommend a new hard drive rather than a reinstall since the old drive can likely be used as a backup. Get an external USB chassis and you can plug the drive in. Then she can copy all the old files to the new drive without risk of having the spyware running.

One other reason to get a new drive is that viruses can be stored in the boot record of the drive to re-infect the computer on each reboot. These can be harder to get rid of. If she just reinstalls using the current drive, a boot record virus could reinfect the machine.
Old 01-15-2019, 10:35 AM
Carryon is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 744
I agree the best advice is to reformat with a fresh install. That's the great thing about Win10 (if you have it) you can reformat and get a clean install because the license is tied to the computer.
Old 01-15-2019, 12:55 PM
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TruCelt is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Near Washington, DC
Posts: 11,275
Great advice here already, I agree with the new hard drive strategy. Also, a woman should ALWAYS keep her camera covered except when she is using it.


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