Questions

How was someone else able to control a library computer?

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3 Votes
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How was someone else able to control a library computer?

birchswinger
I broke off a romance with a tech geek who turned out to have unsavory connections. Initially he stalked me solo (I think), but somehow eventually got others to participate. Sounds implausible, but it happened and I have witnesses. QUESTION: During 2006 I repeatedly had this experience: I'd go to the library and begin to use a computer. All would be fine, but after a short time one of these proxy stalkers would show up, plant himself behind me, and start texting. Very quickly I'd lose control and/or access on that computer. I learned to beat the game, sort of, by suddenly running to a random computer, typing in an address I'd copied, and printing immediately. This was the only way to get any information on anything that might help me. A couple of times the thing I was reading disappeared,the screen and text changed color, and I was suddenly reading hostile messages like, "There's nothing for you here. Move along". (This when I'd found an article on rootkits in a journal for librarians.) Generally I don't share this bizarre story with people, because I know they'll be at least skeptical. But this stuff ACTUALLY HAPPENED, and I'd be grateful if you could help me understand HOW. Thanks in advance.
Clarifications Clarifications
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2 Votes
JohnStanton
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I'm an academic librarian. If anyone in a library (or elsewhere for that matter) think they are being stalked, notify someone immediately. Tell the librarian or other staff member you don't feel safe and need help.

Stalking on college campuses is far too common and assaults on college students happen too frequently. You have a right to feel safe, especially in a library. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask for help.

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0 Votes
info
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...that right now, thanks to some of these infantile and juvenile remarks on a near non-issue, I am actually embarrassed to be a member here.

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Slayer_
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Don't worry, we are embarrassed that you are a member.

:-) just kidding.

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Merlin the Wiz
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If you search for "Google" remote administration software you will learn more than you really wanted to know on wikipedia

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1 Votes
birchswinger
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Hello, everyone. I want to give special thanks to everyone whose contributions to this discussion were purely constructive. John Stanton, RSmiedy, glenharris, Nunob, Warwick05 : I'm grateful to you all, and Cybergrrl and GEChurch: I'm especially grateful to the two of you for going to bat for my right to try to learn something here. The reason I brought this question to TR in 2013 was that when I tried to tell the librarians and a couple of friends in 2006 what had happened to me at the library it was just not something that they could picture as possible, and I was broke, and my cameras had been taken repeatedly, etc., etc, and I couldn't prove it. Since I'm almost sure that I wouldn't have believed such a weird story had I not experienced it myself, I couldn't feel angry at them for their disbelief -- but I did feel incredibly depressed and defeated and scared. For all I know the librarians looked into things and eventually took the necessary steps to prevent their network being hacked; I don't know, because I stopped going. I did go to the police, by the way, but no real help. (I can elaborate/clarify further on that or on other parts of the story if anyone has questions.) I also have been treated by mental health professionals, and do essentially take care of myself, but thanks to those of you who expressed concerns for my wellbeing. I'm running out of time, so I'll just say that my main reason for asking my question on TR was to help anyone else out in the world who may be experiencing this kind of harassment, or something similar. I certainly have googled the Q that I posted over the years, and came up with nothing. I cannot be the only person in the world who has had to deal with something like this, and to think of someone else being harassed like this (and surely in so many other ways) and dismissed as delusional because "That's not possible" or "People would never do that" makes me feel ill, because it's terribly painful to be dismissed when you legitimately need assistance. By the way, wizard describes the proxy stalkers with the cellphones as "hired hackers" in one of his posts. Not my words. I do not know, to this day, who these people were, or why they participated in this. I can tell you that I eventually learned from a neighbor (others have spoken w/ her of this and heard this too) that she'd been seeing TONS of different people in different vehicles come to my house several times a week (I was never home, and the alarm was always set) --sometimes staying for minutes, sometimes staying for hours ---and no, this wasn't because I was dealing drugs or anything illegal, or had an "alternative" lifestyle, or anything. It was because actual strangers somehow got persuaded to join in on messing with me. How could such a thing happen in the real world ? Who were these people? Why would ANYONE smart enough to have a driver's license participate in such a thing against an innocent, law-abiding person like me --or anyone else? I've tried to guess at answers, but that's all I can do. I just don't understand it at all. Thank God these people don't hassle me anymore. The original stalker who started all of this did allude on a couple of occasions to being involved in some sort of community watch-type thing (or something), but he always kept the details murky, and I never dreamed of anything/everything ever getting crazy and scary.(And as I said, I just don't know.) He still likes to make his presence felt on occasion (I imagine he does this with every woman he's ever been with, like a hobby). Please just understand that (A) The unbelievable can actually take place. It's actually possible for an innocent person to be stalked/harassed by a bunch of other "adults" who they don't know. Apparently their "reasons" for targeting someone can vary. This has been documented by anthropologists, etc. What can I say? It's messed up. And OHSmeg's pronouncements notwithstanding, the number of people who are stalked in any form who "bring this on themselves" (and therefore, I guess, deserve it?) ---that's a number really close to zero. (B) New technologies have emboldened some creeps to perpetrate really awful things on others more than they might have done in an earlier time when these resources were not available to them. (C) It is incredibly important that people who are proficient with technology stay on the side of the angels and work to make the digital world a safer one for everyone. And in order to do that effectively they will have to keep an open mind and listen to their guts so as not to cause further harm to someone who legitimately needs help. So thank you again to those of you who have helped me here, and peace to everyone. It wasn't ever my intention to stir up bad feelings, etc.

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0 Votes
birchswinger
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When this discussion started the posts appeared in chronological order, and frankly the discussion thread made much more sense that way. I wonder why/how that changed? Now the posts are wildly out of order (ex: 3/18, 3/26, 3/28, 3/17, etc.), and everything makes less sense and is less interesting as a result. Also, my first response to other posters now appears to thank another member for what was really hacking advice, which WAS NEVER WHAT I WANTED. That member's post (advocating that I try hacking) didn't actually appear in the thread until after I'd posted my thanks to him ( for his earlier, more appropriate response) and to others on the site who'd responded "respectfully and rationally" to my question. I imagine that most people who read these threads don't necessarily scrutinize the date on each post, and I'm concerned that anyone reading the thread (as it now appears) would come away with the impression that I had welcomed Slayer's how-to-hack-for-revenge suggestion as "respectful and rational", when I was not seeking that kind of feedback. Can anyone shed light on this for me? Why doesn't the thread simply read vertically with each post appearing according to the time and day that it was originally posted? For several days (3?4? longer?) the posts here appeared in a chronological, sequential order so that a reader (having seen what preceded each post) could easily make sense of the responses that followed. Had the responses on this thread appeared disjointed/random from the start then the change several days later would have been less jarring to me, but I admit that I am new to TR. Perhaps threads here always end up this way, although given the result --- that posts no longer appear in the actual, chronological order in which they originally appeared --- I wonder if it has to be that way?

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0 Votes
PurpleSkys Moderator
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it all depends on how a person responds to your posts. if they post in "answer the question" it starts a different section of the blog and people respond to each individual question and it is posted chronologically under each one; If they click on "reply" , they post to that part of the discussion. That's how the Q&A section of TR works. The Discussion page works a little differently again. Does that make sense to you?

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birchswinger
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I think (?) I get what you mean about the way things get responded to here in terms of the order in which the posts appear. I take your word for it, certainly, and really appreciate your filling me in. I'd just been puzzled because for several days when the discussion started the order of the posts appeared strictly sequential, timewise, and the discussion thread did seem far easier to understand. The (vertical sequential) order of some of the posts here did change after a number of days, but I'll assume that perhaps some people revised their posts and that this somehow affected where they ended up appearing in the thread. (?) Or something like that; I don't know. :) At any rate, thanks again, PurpleSkys.

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3 Votes

Wow

Becca Alice
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What a disappointment. How can calling a user delusional ever be defended as professional IT response? This sort of thing is exactly why IT has such a terrible reputation for being a group of condescending jerks. We are all well aware from multiple media sources that group bullying happens, and in fact quite a few of our own "nerd" community have suffered through extensive bullying, so making an assumption that someone is insane is hardly a productive response. I went to the site noted for discussion and it has to do with asking for passwords, nothing to do with professional and productive response to end users. If you wanted to tell a user "we can't help you because this touches on areas in which we should not be involved" it's certainly possible to do so without coming across as a complete IT jerk. Googling things does not help non-professionals and while we're not used to seeing them pop up here often, when they do, slaughtering the lost lamb is not helpful. I have to agree with those who say this entire response from TR moderation has been condescending, defensive, aggressive and deeply unprofessional. What a disappointment in this site.

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birchswinger
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Thank you so much, Becca Alice, for coming to my defense here -- and to the defense of any non-geek who comes to this community seeking help/answers.Without a doubt many of the responders to my original post were nothing but kind, and tried in different (appropriate) ways to help me out, and for that I'm really grateful to all of you who did that here. As to the others, I hope that they'll give my question/my position some more consideration and conclude that they were hasty in being dismissive, or hostile, or whatever shoe fits some of the less friendly posts in this thread. I guess one of the things that I'd urge them to think about is that your basic smart geek-type is far less vulnerable to being messed with in the kind of ultra weird (albeit reality-based) scenario that I described above. They tend to have the smarts, the skills, the monetary and tech resources, etc. that would make messing with them a bad idea.

I'd also like to add that even if it appears very strongly that a newcomer to a place like TR is suffering from a terrible mental disease that has stripped them of sound judgment and perception --- if it appears overwhelmingly that that is the case, and certainly it may be at times --- well, that person would be someone in a state of immense suffering, and through no fault of their own. That would be a person living in what I picture as truly a sort of **** on earth, and someone who desperately needs to be shown some human kindness. And while I can appreciate the need to not have discussions dominated by someone who seems unable to perceive and interpret reality as well as most of us can, I think that it's a good idea to keep in mind the old Hippocratic idea of "First, do no harm" when responding to the concerns of people seeking guidance or help. Thanks again to all of you who have been so kind. I really do appreciate it.