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How was someone else able to control a library computer?

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Wizard and I will have to agree to disagree. Perhaps you've asked dodgy questions in the past (I haven't looked up your history) but I see nothing in your post asking for help to crack passwords or break system security, and I'm certainly not going to offer advice on anything such so I'm sure I can't be breaking any guidelines in answering your question.

This certainly is weird, but not impossible. The messages you are seeing could be sent using "net send" which lets you send a popup message to another computer over the network (provided the security on the computers is weak enough). The screen colours changing could potentially be a dying monitor, and the thing disappearing could be Internet Explorer crashing. If all these things coincidentally happened then it's possible that there is no rootkit/infection involved. That's very unlikely to be the case though - I think you've basically answered your own question mentioning the rootkit. If he managed to infect the library PCs the rootkit would be sitting there waiting for commands. He could potentially do anything he wanted to with the machine. Given the symptoms this seems likely to be what he has done.

If it were me I'd report it to the library/technical staff and suggest they run offline virus scans (or dedicated rootkit detection tools) on all the machines. Also be aware that if the machine is infected he could be detecting all the keystrokes you type, so don't use any passwords.