Computer help forum: Is someone accessing my laptop remotely?

by: ItalianAl February 17, 2013 9:19 AM PST

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Is someone accessing my laptop remotely?

by ItalianAl - 2/17/13 9:19 AM

Hello everyone.

I just joined today, primarily to ask the following questions:

Here's the problem, and the symptoms. I unfortunately have a family member who has some serious emotional problems. This person, by definition, is a sociopath. He has also had drug related issues as well, and whether thats still an issue I dont know, as I dont deal with him anymore. But he's also got some friends who are simply really bad people.

So I've had problems in the past with theft, break-ins, accessing my computer without permission, etc. I am now concerned that its been accessed remotely. He does not live close to me, but he has friends who do.

I have a Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop with Win Vista. I have been noticing that every once in a while, at different times of day when I'm at home, the laptop will switch itself on without me touching it. I'll suddenly hear the characteristic two-tone noise that it makes, which is something like doot-doot, then the fan will turn on and off as I recall, and other little noises. Again, the computer is sitting on the other side of the room, closed when this happens.

Now, I try to ALWAYS turn the computer OFF when I'm done using it. I DONT use sleep or hibernate. I go to start, click the off button, and I wait til it shuts off and all the little lights are off before I close the cover. Now sometimes, the next time I turn it on I get a message saying it didnt shut off properly, and there's that black and white screen with the safe mode option showing. Usually I just click enter to restart it normally. But this alleged improper shutdown happens 1-2 times a week.

Anyway, its been turning itself ON at least once a week that I'm aware of, because I'm home to hear it. It wasnt til yesterday that I began to worry about it. So I did some searches, and one thing that was mentioned about remote intrusions, was to check to see if the remote access block is checked under the firewall and under computer. Well, the box for remote access was checked ON for both firewall AND under computer. So I unchecked the boxes.

I am no computer expert, and the only protection I had/have is Windows security essentials, which I assumed was adequate against spyware and viruses. But as I looked into this potential problem, I was amazed at just how in-secure these computers are from the factory! I read that someone can access your computer remotely, add or take info from your computer, and yet there is absolutely no built in warning, and no message that lets you know that someone has accessed it, and theres no way to know what they did when they were in your computer! Well, aside from going through all your zillions of files to see if anything has been changed, stolen or corrupted.

Shouldnt it be basic common sense that there should be SOME indicator that lets you know when someone has accessed your computer? Shouldnt there be a page or a window that comes up that simply states that "computer was remotely accessed at 1:42pm today, 2/17/13"? Shouldnt there be a window that lists any new uploads into folders or downloads from your folders, or the addition of folders, etc when someone does access your computer remotely? I assumed there was, and that I would have known if someone was accessing it, but apparently I was completely wrong about that, to my own peril....

Is there not a serious problem with identity theft and hacking, spying, etc? So why make computers that allow people to hack them with absolutely no warning to the owner? I know, its my responsibility to get spyware, but I have what I was told was GREAT protection, but apparently it can be manipulated, which leads us back to the question, why isnt there an AUTOMATIC warning in window that tells you EVERY time your computer was potentially accessed built into the computer's basic software?

Anyway, enough of my rant(sorry about that), I guess my questions are:

1. Are the remote setting boxes checked 'on' from the factory? because I never clicked them on!


2. If I didnt click the remote settings on, how did they get clicked on?

3. Is it possible to access someones laptop remotely if its turned fully off?

4. Why is my laptop turning itself on with no input from anyone? Is it possibly related to its other problem of not always shutting down "correctly"? I've read that others have had issues with Vista not shutting down correctly.

5. Is it possible for someone to turn on my laptop remotely?

6. Is there really any way to find out if any files have been taken or added remotely?

7. Is there a trail that can be followed if someone has accessed my computer? Did Dell or Microsoft at least think to program in some way of recording intrusions or save the addresses of the remote computer used to access my computer? Is there a record of the remote access events?

Lastly, what do I need to do in addition to windows essentials and unchecking the remote access boxes to protect my computer, and what can I do to catch the person attempting it? is there ANY software that will tell me when someone accesses my computer remotely or attempts it, while recording their ip address?


Thanks a lot, and sorry for the lengthy first thread, but I felt that all the info would be necessary to accurately describe the situation...

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