How to Tell if Someone Is Spying on Your Computer

We are all concerned about computer privacy, especially with online banking, emails and other private communication we do online. There are two basic categories of computer spying. First, there are outside sources, such as web sites installing malicious software and hackers, which are the easiest computer spies to deal with. The second category is when someone has obtained physical access to your computer, such as an ex-partner or someone residing in your home. This type of spying can be more difficult to detect. The first thing you want to do in either case is to check your firewall and run an antispyware program on your computer.

Instructions

    • 1

      Click "Start," then "Control Panel."

    • 2

      Click "Security Center."

    • 3

      Click "Windows Firewall."

    • 4

      Click the "Exceptions" tab.

    • 5

      Uncheck programs that you do not want to have access to the Internet. If a blank listing appears, you should immediately be suspicious; click "Edit" to see the location of the program, which should give you an indication of what the program is.

    • 6

      Click "OK" after you have deselected the programs you do not want to have access to the Internet.

    • 7

      Click the red "X" in the upper-right corner to close the Security Center.

    • 8

      Click the red "X" in the upper-right corner to close the Control Panel.

    • 9

      Download, install and run a complete computer scan with the free spyware detection software Spyware Terminator (see Resources) and schedule it to run a daily scan.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you suspect someone has obtained physical access to your computer with the intent to spy on you, you should take your computer and keyboard to someone who is a specialist in computer forensics and have it checked; there are hardware devices that can be affixed to your keyboard and inside your computer that can monitor your activities.
  • When deciding which programs should have access to the Internet, in Step 5 above, make sure you know what a program does before restricting access, as you could completely lose Internet access or prohibit programs that you need.
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