Can Croocked Sheriffs Department Access Private PC Remotely?

By Cindyrayne
Jan 2, 2006
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  1. Can Crooked Sheriffs Department Access Private PC Remotely?

    I'm in a small town where all four of the local cops are under the control of a crooked Sheriff elected during the last general election . Nothing is beneath this loser. One of the deputies that left employment here said the Sheriff was hacking into private computers and telephones to monitor the communications of private citizens. As a reporter I'm # 1 on his list of those he feels threatened by.

    Is it possible? If so, what would I look for to determine if he's been Big Brotherin' me?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Yes, it is easy to break into your computer if you are using Windows. A lot harder if it is anything else like Mac OS or Linux.

    Of course, people overestimate the computer security risks and underestimate plain physical dangers. If that sheriff is really that ruthless then he might just break into your house, make a copy of the computer's contents and leave in a matter of hours. Or just steal the box. (I feel like I'm consulting a cheesy 1980s thriller/comedy)

    Now, if you have been compromised by someone really skilled, then there is no way to tell :p Better wipe the computer clean and start over. If it was someone less skilled then they probably used some "standard" script kiddie tools that can be detected by experienced people, antivirus software and antispyware programs.

    Unless you are sure your computer has been compromised, then doing a thorough checkup with spyware programs (see the security forums here) and a couple of antivirus scanners should be enough. Maybe let someone trustworthy and knowledgeable look over the machine.

    As for tapping telephones.. Technically that is just a matter of connecting some wires. Needs some knowledge of telephone systems, so one would have to assume the existence of a corrupt phone technician or something similar.

    Cell phones are relatively secure. You'd need to have access to the computers of the cell phone company to eavesdrop on a cell-to-cell conversation. Or boast James Bond class equipment that can intercept and crack the GSM protocol in real time :p
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Doesn't police at your area have internal affairs people?
  4. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    If they install trojan software in your system somehow, yeah they can spy on ya. If there's like an NSA backdoor in all M$ installs, and they know how to use it, yeah they can spy on ya.

    Howard, over here wiretaps aren't done by switching wires around unless it's an illegal (as in private citizen doing the spying) one or where alerting the phone co will interfere with the "investigation". It's all normaly done by software at the phone co. I know someone who used to do all the tapping for the county, state and feds in a certain phone co.
  5. Cindyrayne

    Cindyrayne TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you so much for responding, Blakhart, Mictlantecuhtli and Nodsu. I do have Windows. We don't have any internal affairs people here. The community is so small. That's part of the problem-- only 5 officers including the sheriff.

    I don't think the sheriff would come in my house because he knows my husband who is a retired cop has police K-9s. The crook wouldn't want to risk opening the door and finding one in the house.

    As for the phone thing, all the crooked sheriff would have to do is go to the local telephone repair guy and waive a paper that looks like a legitimate court order. The man is very kind and trusting. I could see him doing it because he believes it is legal.

    Thank you all again so very much for responding. If you think of anything else please let me know. For the time being the cell phone will be my comunication device of choice... if that's the safest.

  6. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    Hire a "good" technician to come in, set up a router/firewall, scan your hard drive for anything malicious and generally go over your setup with you. You can stress security to him (without tipping your hand as to why) and ask him to help you secure your system.
  7. Toad`

    Toad` TS Rookie Posts: 40

    another good bet would be to set urself up with a good hardware AND software firewall.. or better yet a couple; when using the software firewall (zonealarm is my personal favorite) dont give access to any program or anything that u dont recognize wat it is
  8. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    When there's any doubt about a situation in my system, I do not hesitate to format and reinstall os and apps after making needed backups.

    What masque said is good advice, firewall/router is peace of mind. You are probably better off learning security yourself via a good book on the subject tho, and this eliminates 3rd party breaches of security by technicians you might hire to do the job for you...
  9. Cindyrayne

    Cindyrayne TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Y'all are great, guys. I thank you each and every one! :)

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