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Installing a program

By phanson26 ·
I need to know if it is possible when on the internet for a program to download and install itself without your knowledge. My son said a porn. site program installed itself on my computer. He also said all the porn. pictures on my computer put themselves there. I of course do not believe him. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I would like to see if anyone knows how this could happen.

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by Toivo Talikka In reply to Installing a program

The programs displaying porn may have got to your PC inadvertently, without your son even realising what was going on. Some innocent looking sites may co-operate with adware and spyware peddlers and when a seemingly useful program is downloaded, it comes with umpteen unwanted friends, causing popups advertising porn sites and gambling.

Some websites use known vulnerabilities in Windows and take over your PC so that sometimes a complete re-install is required.

To prevent spyware from infecting your PC, in addition to running an uptodate antivirus application, you need to run a selection of commercial or freely downloadable anti spyware tools like Spybot Search & Destroy, AdAware Personal, Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta.

Using the above tools you may be able to clean your PC from the nasties.

It is also important to update the PC with the lates security updates from Microsoft: Start - all Programs - Windows Update. It is a free service, but the downloads can take quite long and you will pay for the connect time and possible volume charges, depending on the plan you are on with your Internet Service Provider.

If you want to read more, I have a writeup and the links to the above anti spyware products at

Further reading:

If you prefer prevention rather than cure, you could install something like NetNanny to control the sites your youngster can get to.

You have to be careful and proactive in how to get the situation under control. For example, your PC may have been taken over by a mail robot to distribute porn pictures without your knowledge and untimately you may be held legally responsible.

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by ctrservices In reply to Installing a program

Yes, you can have programs download without your knowledge (called "drive-by downloads") if you don't have the proper security devices in place (spyware scanner, av scanner, ad scanner and firewall).

However, in my opinion, you would need to visit a nasty website to download porn without your knowledge. Not that your son was planning to view this type of material.

I would determine whether or not your son had volunteered this information to you before you noticed the pictures on your computer. If he would have admitted it before you noticed it, a little leniency might be in order.

You can also check the Internet history of where your son has been surfing if it has not been erased.

Click Tools--Internet Options--under Temporary Internet Files click the Settings button--in the Settings dialog box click View Files--right-click on any of the files and choose Properties and you can see the date and time the web site was accessed. If you know the time of day your son was on the computer, you can determine where he was surfing.

Hope this helps.

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by phanson26 In reply to Installing a program

My son did not tell me anything about this. I found the pictures on the computer. He said he did not go to any porn sites. This cleaver young man probably erased the temp. files as the only files I saw were todays date. Under history I did see 2 porn sites. This has to mean he did go to these sites right?

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by TheChas In reply to Installing a program

The software "may have installed itself.

As stated, it is possible that a program he downloaded also installed this stuff for him.

If he uses file sharing sites, it is possible that one of the files he downloaded had an unwanted payload.

Some people post files on the file sharing servers with malicious payloads as there way of having fun.

As to the pictures, look at the file properties. If they were placed on the PC in very rapid succession, or with the same date and time, it is likely that they were part of the software payload.

As to how you respond depends on a lot of factors that you need to weigh on your own.

If you have a history of an honest and open relationship, I would give him the full benefit of doubt.

Even if you have concerns, the first step is a heart to heart talk on both your values and computer security and safety.

If you have lingering doubt, I would take 2 simple steps:

Limit his access to the Internet.

Move the computer to a prominent location where anyone can see what is on the screen at any time.


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by phanson26 In reply to Installing a program

I used a recpvery program and recovered the deleted files. They were on multiple dates with many different times. The computer geek now has no computer. Thanks.

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by phanson26 In reply to

My little genius finally fessed up. He did go to the porn sites and he did download pictures. We had a long talk and my computer now has parental control on it. It is password protected and he can not get to these sites any more. He still is banned from the computer for several months and can do homework on the computer at the school library. Thanks for all your help.

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