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Security Awareness Discussion of all things related to the security of Apple devices.

Spyware/Malware/Keyloggers remain after harddrive wipeout.


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vikimaster

 
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Good time to all forum users,

First of all, I have searched the forum and could not find answer to my specific problem.

So here it is, I am in China right now. And I am living in 5 star hotel for the past month. I am using cable connection to internet, so I have to agree to terms and conditions first and then click - Connect to internet button. Also I use VPN for my internet usage.

My problem is, whenever I meet someone online (online dating), and chat with them for a bit on Skype...someone contacts them and starts telling the person some nonsense so that they stop any contact with me. I got this info from one girl I met online, she told me basically right after I added her on Skype...she got another friend request from stranger, who knew that I have added her right away. Then he proceeded to tell her that I am a criminal and suggested to stay away from me because I am under the surveilance of law enforsment. I AM NOT A CRIMINAL, or ANYTHING OF THAT NATURE, and this is scary that someone might have installed some spyware/malware ( I did not have password on my Mac before ). which is resistant to erasing disk. I did 7 times erase thing, which like 12 hours, and then I put hardcore password. But still it seems that they got the way around it somehow.

When I was erasing disk, after all operations were competed there 2 files still on the disk and 473mb of total space used. Could that be some spyware?

Can hotel monitor whats going on my screen? Since I am using their services. Note: when I click agree to terms and conditions, it says that information might be shared with government if nessesary. Also I am not engaging in any illegal activity or whatsoever.

How can they do it? I have firewall installed,and I do not open any suspicious emails.

PLEASE ADVISE.
bobtomay

 
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Quit using online dating - problem solved.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
vikimaster

 
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How it can affect my Mac? I have Firewall on, I also use Avast. Its not an online dating which is a problem. Could you please give more specific advise on what to do with my Mac?

I wiped it before as I said, but still.....

Thanks for your reply
pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikimaster View Post
So here it is, I am in China right now.
I'm not going to pretend to be a computer security expert. But China is well known for not having the most liberal of internet access policies. This may extend to internet browsing privacy as well (who knows).

Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Internet privacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interne...ivacy_in_China

Food for thought,

- Nick

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vikimaster

 
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Hi Nick, thanks for your input. Indeed, its a well know thing in China. But is it possible that hotels IT department just screwing around? Can they see info which I see on my screen? Or can they check what I type?

I am the only foreigner who stays here most of times, so I attract a lot of attention.
chscag

 
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Quote:
Quit using online dating - problem solved.
This.
pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikimaster View Post
I am the only foreigner who stays here most of times, so I attract a lot of attention.
Exactly. Who better to "keep an eye on"!

I was in China about 15+ years ago (1998)...us "foreigners" were even more interesting then!

I'm pretty sure ANY internet security/privacy features you think that you have in place/turned on...can be circumvented.

Why someone would want to mess around with your internet dating activities (in an offical manner) would seem unnecessary. But China has "computer nerds" just like the rest of the world...so who knows.

Not sure what to say (other than what bobtomay & chscag mentioned)...stop the internet dating (at least while in China). And assume that if your internet dating is being monitored in some way...that all of your other internet browsing is as well.

You're a foreigner in China...a very interesting target to "monitor".

- Nick

- Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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I suspect also that rather than your Mac being compromised (it probably is, but that's another story) it's more likely that someone has your access information on the dating site, or Skype or VPN and is tracking you through that rather than anything on the Mac itself. So change all the passwords on all those things to something really, really robust and see if it goes away.

But bobtomay and chscag both have good advice, too. If changing all those passwords doesn't stop the activity, then stop going to dating sites and using Skype.
vikimaster

 
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Thank you everybody for your input.

Indeed, if I quit using computer at all, probably problem will be solved also.

But rather than that, I want to know whats going on and how do they do it?

Is it because I am using hotel internet or something? Can I prevent it?

Because basically it means that they can access my emails and everything else, including my chats with family on Skype. I dont care much about online dating, but want to know about my private emails and rest
chscag

 
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Quote:
Because basically it means that they can access my emails and everything else, including my chats with family on Skype. I dont care much about online dating, but want to know about my private emails and rest
You're in China and as a westerner you expect privacy and the same freedoms you enjoy in your home country? You should expect that everything you say or do is being watched or maybe even recorded. The Chinese are especially sensitive to goings on at dating sites and other such places. Why push your luck?
vikimaster

 
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Well, I am not really trying to push my luck....but rather to understand what kind of privacy I do have. I mean its a 5star Sheraton hotel. Can they really see what I type in my emails, even though its https? I understand that they can see websites that I access, and its not a problem since I am a legit internet user.

Could someone really describe an extent to which they have access to my info?
RavingMac

 
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I only know directly what I read off the internet and from publicly available sources, but this is my thoughts for what they are worth:

1) China has the most active and technically proficient Cyber group in the eastern world, and are the US govt's predominate cyber threat
2) You are a foreigner staying in 5 star hotels which seems to indicate you have somewhat of a high financial or political profile, thus you are an obvious target for espionage
3) If they are TRULY interested in you there is virtually no limit to what they could do
4) As a result you should have ZERO expectation of privacy

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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Two options as suggested.

1. Do not use computer.

2. Leave China.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
Raz0rEdge

 
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People who provide Internet service to others readily have a handful of things under their control. They can limit the kinds of sites you can visit (The Great Firewall of China for example) and/or they can keep track of which websites you visit..

First things first, you probably want to go to all of your online accounts and create a VERY strong (I'd highly recommend a password manager like 1Password) password for all of them. If someone has compromised your online account, they would easily see your chat history or e-mails and get the information they have.

If you are using Skype purely as a video interface, then it's harder to find out what you talked about after the fact..

On Mac, almost any application that wants to install itself or go deeper into the system like a keylogger would need to would require you to explicitly install it or at the least enter your admin password to make it happen, if that hasn't happened then you don't have to worry about that..

You might want to ensure that you've disabled any and all sharing (screen or otherwise) on your Mac..

My best guess is that your accounts are compromised on the various networks you use and someone is sitting there trolling for your information..

I, however, am a little surprised by the responses thus far to your dilemma as none of them seem to answer the technical reasons (likely the reason you came here to begin with) for why this is happening to you. Your dating life and your reasons to be in China are yours and yours alone and I don't believe any one of us has earned the right to instruct you about how you deal with either those..

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...Ashwin



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Raz0rEdge

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb2448 View Post
Two options as suggested.

1. Do not use computer.

2. Leave China.
This is hardly helpful..

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...Ashwin



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