Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Calling Dr. Bombay!!

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Calling Dr. Bombay!!

Article excerpt

DEAR DR. BOMBAY: My ex-wife downloaded a spy-type program. I knew something was wrong when the hard drive ran every time I pressed a key. Yes, this is my home PC. With a lot of effort, I eventually found "KeyLogger." I was able to delete it using Safe Mode. Something is still in there, I think. The hard-drive light continues to blink every few seconds. Is there any way other than wiping the hard-drive to find these spy programs?

-- Bugged in California

DEAR BUGGED: Well, I understand why you divorced her. These weaselly keystroke recorders are abominable evidence of just how endangered the concept of trust has become.

The same technology that gives us instant access to a world of information also gives your boss, your spouse, your neighbor and even your government an easy way to spy on you. And this isn't the usual paranoid rant: I'm not even going to mention the black helicopters that have been following my every move.

Just be aware that anything you do on a computer potentially can be seen by somebody else. It may be a $30 shareware program that somebody slips onto your hard drive or a multimillion-dollar radio- frequency sniffer that the CIA uses to track your keystrokes from a block away, but you should always act as if something is watching and recording. I don't think I was supposed to mention the CIA thing.

There are a couple of types of recorders. The one you disabled was fairly easy to get to and not much of a challenge to kill. When it runs, it sits between your application programs, like word- processors or browsers, and the part of the Windows system that interprets keystrokes. It gathers what you type and saves them to an encrypted log file. These kinds of loggers generally show up when you hit Control-Alt-Delete to get the list of everything running in Windows. You can kill it there temporarily if you know what it's called, but it'll restart when you reboot. …

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