How do I COMPLETELY remove all spyware and set strongest security settings?

By PaperNPen ·
I have always been "old school" and preferred to avoid computers whenever possible; so let me start with apologizing for my lack of knowledge, my stupidity for not ever signing up for a computer course and for the length of the explanation below.

Since last November (possibly farther back on an old PC) I have been stalked/harrassed--and I say stalked because I am aware a normal hacker is smart enough to "get in and out" without me knowing---Except for his identity this person has made every attempt to make his presence known leaving dead-end trails of everything he is doing.

1) I need help removing all Spyware, malware, and viruses from my late 2011 Macbook pro, iPhone, and my daughters toshiba notebook and her All-in-1 Gateway PC.

2) I need to know how to prevent this Stalker from gaining access again and how to set highest security on all devices.

I've tried the following repeated times and none of them have worked.
I have re-set all devices to factory setting numerous times.
I have purchased Norton and MacAudit, web root, along with multiple other "apps". I have enabled all security settings from the devices user guides, microsoft security essentials, and have set strongest firewall settings on mac book pro, toshiba notebook, and gateway pc. The Norton software kept changing settings and bypassing --not scanning-- "trusted" certificates. Then kicked me out stating I didn't have administrative rights.
I have taken devices (all bought Nov 2011) back to Apple and Best Buy numerous times. Best Buy has a 14day return policy and the warranty doesn't cover viruses.
Apple refused to say there was anything wrong--they would just reset the devices and reset my security settings--even when they re-configured my hard drive and the laptop crashed again that same day--they swore Mac's don't get viruses....finally after the 4th time the "genius associate" was nice enough to pass me a note with steps to secure my wifi and he whispered I needed to hire "someone" because I had a "serious" issue---but legally all he could do is reset my computer and say nothing was found wrong--then the manager sent him to the "back" and took over the (re-configuring) --he treated me horribly--and rushed me out of the store.
I originally had Time Warner wifi--and they constantly said I didn't have a problem and all security setting were set properly--they just kept pointing the finger back at Apple. Apple pointed finger at Time Warner.
I hired an IT specialist "house call". This person basically dismissed me ---until he had to fight for control of my laptop (with whoever is stalking me). I could only afford 2hr house call and in that time all that the IT tech was able to find out was that my router was OPEN to the public and he took a log of my laptop and my daughters--but never got back to me with who the person is or how to stop it from continuing--he wanted more money.
I went to the police; after an hour of trying to find out which department they should direct me to they said they didn't have the resources and it would be like chasing a ghost. They instructed me to contact the FBI. The FBI said because my identity hadn't been stolen or a specific threat was not placed on my life--it was out of their jurisdiction and I needed to go back to the police.
I decided to move--hoping it would help--it didn't. Oh..and while I was moving my things from my apartment to the moving truck "someone" broke down my front door and broke the lock (I was only gone 20min). Other than the front door being wide open (when I had locked it) and the Lock completely damaged there was no evidence--and nothing was taken so the police were not able to do anything other than direct me to the FBI again. Of course, FBI directed me right back to police and told me I had to "make" the police do their job---it was a local issue.

Below is a small list of things this person has been doing.

1. He continually "fights me" for control of my computer screen and iPhone screen by re-sizing the screen, by changing keyboard shortcut commands, by restricting my access "you don't have administrative rights"--I'm the only user and some of these folders and or files I was the original creator, then by crashing the laptop/iphone as soon as I am able to regain access...etc.
2. this person went as far to put "his" picture as the owner of one of my email accounts---SO every time I open an email from that account his picture pops up (I doubt its a real pic of him). He repeatedly changes the passwords and recovery info on all of my emails--blocking me from gaining access for weeks at a time)--I've had to close and create new accounts multiple times.
3. I happen to bcc myself on an email (using a new email) and when I selected "show all details" of header--there was TWO emails BCC and I didn't create one of them. This person created a Spring PM account for me --with password and everything---he was able to receive a copy of all of my texts and pictures--shortly after finding out about this email he changed my password to my main Sprint account and had my text messaging removed along with my cellular data--Sprint security said this was above them and I had to go to the Police.
4. I have multiple screen-shots of hidden folders/files some that have dates as far back as 2007?? Again my devices are all brand new from November 2011. --Side note--the hidden files/folders are not the ones that are normally hidden for the protection of the system. I also have multiple screen shots of recent history into apps and folders I had not gone into or modified.
5. He has embedded my ICHAT icons with commands (discovered when I clicked restore to original photo)--I never created a logon for ICHAT and I never tried to use that app---but it was constantly showing up in my recent history.
6. In the history I could see my photos and files dropped into the public folder thru "airdrop?" --even though I put all my settings as private and DO NOT SHARE...
7. He crashed and remotely removed my Lion software (or is it a hard drive?) from my new Mac laptop 4 different times. Despite setting all security settings Apple instructed me to do...he has been able to bypass AND change those settings---oh, and prevent me from changing it back.
8. I continually have to disable the setting for FaceTime and photo booth but keep seeing both apps in my history and files from them being "dropped" into the public folder.

This person has invaded my privacy, harassed me, stolen my pictures, my info--all through my mac laptop and my iPhone --- I gave up and quit using both devices for awhile hoping this person would get bored and leave me alone---he got worse-- when he couldn't access me through my devices...he went after my daughters toshiba notebook and all in one gateway PC.

I was a quality manager during the day and I Bartend at night so you can imagine the amount of people I come in contact with on a daily basis. I have no idea who is doing this or why; I just want him to leave me and my daughters alone. I've learned a lot on my own (online) since this has started but I am still a beginner and just need a credible Step by Step guide on what to do and how to completely remove this person out of all of my devices and keep him out. I do not have the funds to hire another IT Tech or buy new computers. One thing I am doing is....looking into IT classes--Ignorance is definitely NOT BLISS.

I want to thank you for just taking time out of your day to read this HOT mess and I appreciate any help or advice you can give me.

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All Answers

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Start off by resetting the WiFi Access Point to Factory Defaults

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to How do I COMPLETELY remov ...

Then enter the Setup Routine of it and disable the WiFi and change the User Name if Possible and most defiantly the Password from the Default.

Then reset every computer type device that is used to connect through this Modem to Factory Defaults by using the Recovery Media that came with them and making sure that you format the HDD's in them.

That is the starting point and just disabling the WiFi and Changing the Routers Password will be the best way to start here though that is only a start.


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Reponse To Answer

by PaperNPen In reply to Start off by resetting th ...

Thank you for your help. I have actually changed the username and password of the router a number of times and I also changed my service provider. I have reset every single device in the house while the wifi was off and that did help---for maybe a week. I'm not sure if I have formatted the HD correctly. With Mac and IPHONe they do not supply any disks that restore to factory (hard reset)..but there is a process to set to factory by pressing command and 8 at the same time on boot. I believe thats called a "soft reset" and I've been told (of course after the fact) that process doesn't remove all root issues but makes them worse. I appreciate your response and I will definitely try the process again--couldn't hurt..Thank you!

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Secure your router

by n_kahnman In reply to How do I COMPLETELY remov ...

I'm sorry but the only suggestion (and probably most effective one) I can make here in this limited space/time is to secure your wireless router/modem. You will need to do some research on the manufacturer/model of the router/modem your internet service provider supplied you with (for example is it a d-link, smc, netgear, cisco). Most router/modems will have a page you can log into to setup/customize/secure the device. For a novice these settings can be very confusing and honestly you would be better to get someone experienced to do it for you (I know myself I charge $20-40 to secure a wireless router/modem and it takes less then an hour to do but not sure what you would have to pay where you are). There are alot of different settings (router password, lan settings, wifi security and settings, mac address filtering...) that need to be changed to truly secure your internal network (lan) and unfortunately I don't have the time at the moment to type it all in here. Once the router is secure you would be wise to save all your data (pics, documents...) from all of your pc's and reload them to the original factory received setting. There are also settings on your phone/s that could be allowing the intruder to gain access (bluetooth, mobile network settings...) and to be honest I have 'zero' experience on apple products so I can't offer any help there but maybe someone on here who works with apple products can. Also once your router/network is secured and all of your pc's are reloaded go and change ALL of your passwords to all of your mail accounts, social network, banking, ebay, websites you visit... etc. Sorry I couldn't offer more detailed instructions but hopefully this will give you an idea of some of the steps required and good luck.

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Reponse To Answer

by a.portman In reply to Secure your router

From the looks of your description you seem knowledgeable and have been doing the right things. Start at the router. Secure the router including hiding the SID and limiting the number of DHCP connections. Use the ACL and code the access point to only accept the mac addresses of your devices. Then pull the plug on all of the devices, reset to factory and start slowly.

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Several Things to Try

by sogorman74 In reply to How do I COMPLETELY remov ...

Backup your data to memory stick, external hard drive etc.
Use a strong password to secure your router.
Set up MAC address filtering
Hide the SSID
Format PC's/Laptops and reinstall Operating System and Applications (Maybe consider an opensource O/S such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint..)
Install Antivirus Software/Firewall/Spyware Cleaning software or a security suite e.g. Avast, Zonealarm, Norton, Comodo, Spybot etc.
Install and run Malwarebytes software and upload a log post reinstallation
Change all your passwords for web based apps facebook, banking etc.
Ensure that your kids aren't trying to drive you insane!

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Reponse To Answer

by PaperNPen In reply to Several Things to Try

lol, my kids are always trying to make me crazy. Thank you for your advice; I do have a couple follow up questions. How can I be sure that I won't re-infect my devices when I re-load backed up photos and documents? There are only a few documents I would need to save but I have a million and one photos. I've seen this idiot steal my photos and have also seen IChAt Icons being accessed when I don't use ICHAT. Is it possible for him to hide viruses or spyware in one of my photos?

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Good answers here but...

by Bruce Epper In reply to How do I COMPLETELY remov ...

I would do things the other way around by disconnecting the broadband modem, access point, and/or router(s) first (unplug 'em all), then start with fresh rebuilds of all computers first because if one or more of these devices are compromised, they may still be able to start with changing your username/passwords and other settings on your routers, APs, and modems before you do those rebuilds. Once all of those are done, then start powering up the other devices and securing those moving outward from your network toward the internet (access point/routers before broadband modem).

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Email Security Reminder Questions...

by dom19 In reply to How do I COMPLETELY remov ...

perhaps change your email security questions for all accounts. I had to get my sisters hotmail account back the same way. I helped her change her security reminder questions, as someone must have guessed the answers to (her easy) questions and got in that way.

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Reponse To Answer

by PaperNPen In reply to Email Security Reminder Q ...

Thank you. :) I have tried changing and completely deleting all accounts that I have...multiple times. I even pick completely wrong answers to security questions that would make it impossible for someone that knows me to guess. Apple swears I don't have a key logger (I don't think they even checked) I don't know how else my passwords and accounts keep getting compromised.

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And opt out of the multitude of Internet applications that...

by SmartAceW0LF In reply to How do I COMPLETELY remov ...

ask you for your email password or allow you to login with an account from another site. Change EVERY internet logon password for every single application you use on the internet working one to the other without stopping, using strong passwords on each. Do not stop until you are done with any/all login sites that work in conjunction with each other. If you own a facebook account start there, then email. Remember that with access to one, this individual may easily acquire the others. All of the above should also include new challenge responses (security questions) from every site. Avoid using the default questions and opt to create your own when possible. This is going to continue to plague you until you follow virtually every procedure mentioned in every post so far and do it dogmatically. With your limited experience you might consider hiring someone who can come to your place and work with you to close all of these doors. Should you elect that route, the tech will probably work quicker and cost you less money if you simply explain to him what is going on and then allow him to do his job without distracting him, yet be within earshot at any point in time he may have a question.

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