Can a computer spy on you?

Probably a stupid question, but here's what is bothering me:

I have my own computer + via WiFi another person's computer connected to the Web. The situation being 'tense', to say the least,and with strange things happening, I was wondering if that other person can get into my computer, read my emails etc., listen in on my conversations on my Internet phone line etc. etc.?

I have EVERYTHING under password and change them at least once every two weeks; documents and email addresses every week. My session on MY computer is also under password and yet ... I talk about something suddenly 'missing' from my desk and ... one, two, three ... the next day it's there again, but in a different place.

IF it is possible that the other person is spying on me via the 'Reseau Maison', what can I do to prevent it?

Hi Nick,

I am not paranoid about it, but at this stage in my life and situation, someone getting at important and very personal info is a very, very bad scene.

I followed Carls instructions and if that doesn't work, I'll come back and yell Help.

Ha! Lock away my computer? I'm handicapped, Nick and a computer is heavy. Besides, I wouldn't know where to put it without this person getting to it. My laptop is only used for writing prose and poetry and not even connected to the Web, UNLESS I have to send someone some of my work.

Since there is only one other person in this house + connected to the network ... makes it easy, non? What a mess!

Thank you, Nick. Wish I had something nice to report :)

The simply answer to your question Ruth, is yes people can and do, and in the hands of experienced IT people nothing is impossible.

The trick though is not to get paranoid, but take all sensible precautions , and Carl has made some excellent suggestions.

The only way to make sure that nothing has been installed on a Windows machine , is to re-install it from scratch from known good media, and as you are running Vista, you could either go to Windows 7 or try Ubuntu Linux , which is free.

Install it , while it is not connected to the network, and only connect once it is up and running. Always make sure the laptop is always locked away when not in use, as that is the easiest way to do naughty things to a machine.

If you still get strange things happening, re-post and I can recommend ways of catching whoever might be doing this.

Super! All done and am now going to run Malwarebytes. Used to have that one installed, but my latest MacAfee - for some reason - uninstalled it. I think thet did, because it was given to me by one of their technical people.

Thank you very, very much. I hope this will work. Strange, to have to protect your computer from someone in your own house!

Have a nice evening, amigo :)

Make sure you turn off ALL sharing for the moment.


Windows 7 READ ME

you must.........

Something like Malwarebytes (HERE) will pickup keyloggers so it couldnt hurt to download and run the free version of it.

You should really think about..........

Change your email address to a different provider. (if I were setting up an email address for a customer there would be nothing to stop me bouncing copies of their emails to myself)

You could..........

Put an old router between the one you currently access the internet with (this is the one providing wifi access to the other party) and yourself. A bit of twiddling with settings of the second router should create something more secure for you.

An old/second hand (stand alone) firewall off of ebay would be even easier to set up.

But you should..........

Change your HOME network setting to PUBLIC (see the picture and click to enlarge it)

There are 3 network types for you to choose from:

  • Choose Home network for home networks or when you know and trust the people and devices on the network. Computers on a home network can belong to a homegroup. Network discovery is turned on for home networks, which allows you to see other computers and devices on the network and allows other network users to see your computer.

  • Choose Work network for small office or other workplace networks. Network discovery, which allows you to see other computers and devices on a network and allows other network users to see your computer, is on by default, but you can't create or join a homegroup.

  • Choose Public network for networks in public places (such as coffee shops or airports). This location is designed to keep your computer from being visible to other computers around you and to help protect your computer from any malicious software from the Internet. HomeGroup is not available on public networks, and network discovery is turned off. You should also choose this option if you're connected directly to the Internet without using a router, or if you have a mobile broadband connection.

Let me know if you get stuck.

Mine has always been the "administrator" and still is. What I did do, is 'deactivate' the sharing of 'fichiers' and such (my Vista is in French, of course).

I'm going to do some 'I Spy' testing, to see if I am dreaming or not. Same with telephones: imporant calls on mobile only. Lord, what a mess!

Hi there RD. I am using Windows 7 but the principle should be roughly the same. Go to control panel > network & internet > Network and sharing centre.

Choose Homegroup and Sharing Options which hopefully will give you "homegroup" page, where you can change options for sharing, etc. Make sure your computer is listed as "administrator" and other person's is not. Hope this helps. Let me know how you get on.

Give me 10 minutes.

Windows Vista. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr HATE IT, but it was installed on the 'puter when I bought it.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me will log in soon. However, please tell me are you using Windows or a Mac?


Hi, Sweet Sheila,

I am connected via Orange's Livebox, the 'other' person via WiFi.

You know, I'm not really stupid when it comes to computers, but this problem is way beyond me, also because it shocks me terribly. The last thing I need, you're so right!

Love 'n hugs

Okay: to show you how utterly stupid I am ... what's a dial-up connection and how does one use it?

I am with Orange and connect via a Livebox.

I DO copy on USB keys, but hiding those is a bit of a problem, since I am handicapped. You should see what I sleep with! And I am NOT joking. Keys to the house + car, my passport, my dog's papers, G-d knows how many USB keys ... hell, this must sound funny, but it is true.

If 'somebody' tries to get something from underneath my body, I can press an alarm key which will bring les pompiers to my house. What fun!

That is the last thing you need! Can you give a little more detail? Are you both connecting wirelessly, or is one of you connected to the modem via CAT5 cable, etc. Hopefully, one of our more experienced techies will see this and be able to advise how you can block all access to your computer. Is your reseau maison set to "home" or "public". Maybe you should change how your computer connects from home to public? Hope more informed help and advice is on the way.

Love and BIG virtual hug. Talk soon. xxx


Don't use the home network.

Go out via your dial - up connection. Slow but safe and more than adequate for sending and receiving emails and the like.

You can use your insecure home network for anything this is not private.

Or make copies onto a memory stick of your private files, emails and the like and then delete them from your PC.

Hope this helps