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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Can I tell if someone is spying on my computer?
    My ex is a computer forensic analyst and had access to my Macbook, including password.

    I'm wondering if there's a way to tell if he's loaded anything to 'spy' on me?

    He was always bragging about what he could tell from people's computers and I know he has access to everything he needs given the agency where he works.

    It's just making me uncomfortable. Computers aren't my forte, so could use a hand here.

  2. #2

    deus_ex_machina's Avatar
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    change your password? Anyone can get in a computer if they have physical access to it. Being your ex he shouldn't be able to touch it. To be certain, you could always backup and use your OSX disc to erase and reinstall, thereby erasing whatever he *might have* put on your machine.

  3. #3

    Rottie's Avatar
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    I would like to add to deus' suggestion by saying change your password to something very strong; IE: Use a combination of upper and lower case characters and numbers.
    Also don't use short passwords or birthdays, etc - they're too easy to guess, as is the old gem "password"

    Some poor examples would be: 1234, 0000, password, any consecutive number sequence..
    A better example would be: L0s4n9eL35 (Los Angeles, but in U/L, with numbers)

    Hope this helps

  4. #4


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    If he had physical access to the machine, had the necessary knowledge, and was enough of a jerk to try it, then he could have installed a rootkit or other monitoring software.

    The only way to be sure would be to back up your files and re-install the OS from the original discs. And when you restore your backed-up files, be sure to restore only your personal documents.

  5. #5


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    ^^ What he said. There are a slew of tools that could have been installed that would run in the background. The best thing you can do is backup your files and re-install the OS and software. Then ensure that you use a strong password.

  6. #6


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    Quote Originally Posted by technologist View Post
    If he had physical access to the machine, had the necessary knowledge, and was enough of a jerk to try it, then he could have installed a rootkit or other monitoring software.
    He had physical access, has the knowledge and is likely enough of a jerk to try it.

    I'm going to go down the path of reinstalling everything. Can I save my iTunes content onto an external hard drive then simply reload it?

  7. #7

    hughvane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiStar View Post
    Can I save my iTunes content onto an external hard drive then simply reload it?
    Yes, but just the iTunes Music folder I suggest. Anything OS-related, ie. the iTunes library, may have been compromised.

    I also agree with previous respondents, a clean OS install. Stronger still is a replacement hard drive, but that's getting drastic, also expensive!
    ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
    Please post your Mac (or other) specs and MacOS version in your post, your profile or your signature. It helps us to help you better.

    I'm leaving now to go and find myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

  8. #8

    mtbinva's Avatar
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    I do the same thing for a living. Best and safest bet is to reload the OS, and then your relevant files. Hard to change your files themselves, especially with the OSX file system and OS. Only thing he could have hidden would in all likelihood be hidden in the OS.

  9. #9

    cwa107's Avatar
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    And remember, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you!
    Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!

    https://youtu.be/KHZ8ek-6ccc

  10. #10

    deus_ex_machina's Avatar
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    Ha! Hopefully he's not wise to this forum!

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by deus_ex_machina View Post
    Ha! Hopefully he's not wise to this forum!
    If he's done what I suspected, he won't need to be...

  12. #12

    deus_ex_machina's Avatar
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    Claro que sí

  13. #13


    Member Since
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    Note to self: never date -- or even let into my house -- a computer forensic analyst.

  14. #14


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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Note to self: never date -- or even let into my house -- a computer forensic analyst.
    That's kind of like saying, "Never date a cop...they have guns and know how to kill people."

    Most computer forensic analysts are professionals who are familiar with the law, since they either work for security companies or government. You'd hope they'd be aware of of just how illegal it is to do what the OP is afraid of.

    There are, unfortunately, bad apples in every line of work.

  15. #15

    mtbinva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by technologist View Post
    That's kind of like saying, "Never date a cop...they have guns and know how to kill people."

    Most computer forensic analysts are professionals who are familiar with the law, since they either work for security companies or government. You'd hope they'd be aware of of just how illegal it is to do what the OP is afraid of.

    There are, unfortunately, bad apples in every line of work.
    Don't forget us us E-Discovery people in law firms!

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