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.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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All Answers

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Reponse To Answer

by PaperNPen In reply to And opt out of the multit ...

Thank you. I would love to pass this off and have someone just fix it for me but it looks like this person has no intention of leaving me alone. I can't keep asking for help and not learn to fix and avoid the problem on my own. I would also LOVE to never use Facebook again but it is a social medium that has become mandatory for bartenders; owners even ask how many friends or followers you's free advertising for them. I do keep my Private life Private and completely separate from anything thats public. I have changed all user names and passwords and deleted accounts. It does literally take me all day every time I make changes; it's always a race with this person. Having to go through password recovery because he has changed my passwords then quickly moving to the next account. I'm not the type of person who likes loosing so I will keep it up...hopefully he gets bored and just goes away...OR I figure out who the H** he is. Thank you for your help.

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Scan Hard Drives

by rayman99 In reply to How do I COMPLETELY remov ...

Appart from securing the network internet access as mentioned already, my way of cleaning up malware or virus infestations is to remove all hard drives, Connect them one at a time to a trusted PC via usb adaptor, run anti malware anti root kit software available free from the web. Get someone else to download this software to the trusted pc - ie friends pc, or buy it on a cdrom, dont use your suspect pc to download.

You then run scans to fix the bugs on the suspect hard drives. I have found that root kits that have been integrated into your system files cannot be removed by running software of any kind on the infected system. The method I described found and removed the root kit that had hijacked my pc quickly and efficiently. Try the free Kaspersky TDSS Killer anti root kit program - and malwarebytes free scanner.

good luck.:)
ps it aint rocket science.

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Seem like you have a jealous evil person coming at you-a professional too

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

It appears as though this person has created and hidden administrative accounts on all of your devices and installed a keylogger, so it does not matter what you do, they will see and log everything you see and do on your computers. SO other that taking it to a forensic expert, which is what you could do, if you had the money and really wanted to find out who it is. It can be done. So here are my suggestions. It will be a little costly but doable.
1- You will need to purchase a USB drive at least 2TB.
2- You will need to run an application that will take an inventory of all your installed applications including the serial numbers on all your computers.
2- Turn off the internet. Disable your network card and wireless connections.
3- Make an image of you computer, using something like Ubuntu Live or any imaging software you can get.
4-Then copy over your personal files (pictures, music etc) . Once you have backed your personal files and have the serial numbers of your operating systems and applications, format the devices-
5-Wipe them clean and wipe them maybe 2 to three times to make sure.
Reinstall your operating system. Install antivirus and antispyware from reputable companies.
6-Reset the router to factory defaults- (**** away all the configs and accounts. Then log back in, and use a very strong password and encryption - NOT WEP!!! Use ( use a password that is not found in any dictionary in any language - mix of upper and lower cases, numbers and so forth)
7-Once that is secured, you can now connect your computer to the internet and update the antivirus and antispyware, scan the computer first. Then take if offline again.
8-Install all your applications- connect the USB drive and scan for virus and spyware before copying your files back onto your device.
After you have installed all the applications, create a regular user account and make sure your admin or root passwords are very complex. Log on with you regular non admin account and use it. Now create a brand new email address (gmail or whaterver you use.) You can contact each of your people one at a time form your new email address.
9- DO not access the old mails on your new computer. Instead get a UBUNTU live or any Linux live CD and boot fro this one when you access the old email. You should be safe from that person now. DO the same thing with your phone. It is hard to get your contacts back but you can export them and then reimport tnem into your new account.
If you see email from people you dont know or are not expecting email from just delete it. Don't click to see what it is or click links from emails that you are not sure about. Instead copy the whole thing and past it in notepad and read from there if you don't trust the source.
All the best.

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Reponse To Answer

by PaperNPen In reply to Seem like you have a jeal ...

umm I'm not sure what just happened but I can't see anyones responses anymore. I'm so hoping I can just log back in and see them.

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Reponse To Answer

by PaperNPen In reply to Seem like you have a jeal ...

Thank you SOOOO much for your advice and time. I will definitely follow it word for word. I appreciate the time you gave me to respond.

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there is rudeness amuck here

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

everyone is missing the point of the question. so i wonder why my post / suggestion was deleted a couple of days ago. seems to me a bit rude.

to reiterate the question:

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

the answer are:

1)The hard drive has to be reformatted (preferably re-partitioned first) before reinstalling the o.s.

2) Toss the wifi router out the window and use network cables instead

3) Learn the many concepts behind infections and the variety of tools available to attack them.

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Reponse To Answer

by PaperNPen In reply to there is rudeness amuck h ...

I didn't delete anyone's post and I am truly thankful for everyone that has given me advice. I haven't been able to log onto my computer for a few days...idiot has been causing problems more aggressively and I have been locked out of most devices. I am going to print out everyones suggestions and just start all over and try everyones suggestions. I have tried some of what everyone has suggested but maybe not in the right order so I think I just keep re-infecting my devices. I will update with my hopeful success or bug you for more help :) --- Side note, I have hired a tech to help me with this issue. Unfortunately he wasn't as proficient with Mac as he previously stated to me and MAC "experts" swear it's impossible for me to have any virus or spyware.

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Reponse To Answer

by kmdennis In reply to there is rudeness amuck h ...

Your suggestions are probably what will happen, however tossing out the router will not solve the problem. In fact that is the least of the problem. There are many companies with corporate firewalls, I don't have to name any here, that have been hacked. Wire or wired, practically any vulnerable system can be breached. If there are exploitable applications or operating system, as long as that computer can visit a webpage, it is possible to be infected. At this time "paper" just need real practical suggestion to resolve the issue by himself, because the paid experts have not been able to fix it. I don't understand why they did not back up his files, save his serial numbers on all computers and simply **** them away, reinstall and install AV and go on from there. However, I think he should be able to get it resolved finally.

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Excellent answers Ben. However,...

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

you missed the bonus points regarding the abounding rudeness. (I think). :-] Seriously though, I have experienced similar glitches in this new website many times. Enough times such that I am hesitant to direct my suspicion to particular persons. After all, your comment or answer can in no way be perceived as anything other than an answer to the question just as it was framed. WHile rudeness abound exponentially on a good many of these types of forums, I think it safe to say that TR probably has more balance than most, especially if one considers the number of users and volumes of contributing posts. Good day my friend.

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

"Unfortunately he wasn't as proficient with Mac as he previously stated to me and MAC "experts" swear it's impossible for me to have any virus or spyware."

impossible to have any spyware or viruses on a Mac? Well, in all honesty, I believe a statement like that simply lends more evidence in defining the difference between genius and stupidity. Genius has its limitations.

My friend it would appear that you are on the fast track in educating yourself about these things. Stay cool. Limit any direct conversation with this individual. Yet maintain vigilance in gleaning all you can about him. As rayman99 said, "It isnt Rocket Science" and indeed that is true. I wish you luck in a quick resolution.

Chances are, you are giving this guy far too much credit for skills or education. That is easy to do in the elementary stages of anything one deigns to learn. Keep us posted with your efforts. Commentary on your experiences is where the real meat is.

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