Question about remote access/laptop on lan waking..

Nov 30, 2016 3:10PM PST

I am asking about, if someone physically set up any program or malware/virus if you will on my laptop, is it possible for him to continuously take control of my machine for many sessions, without i get a clue about it? Can such program keep functioning somewhere in the background without showing any signs/pop ups or anything like that? Is it possible for someone to remotely do things from my computer without me seeing what he is up to on my screen? The only program i know that can do this is TeamViewer but as far as i know the session is terminated the moment you restart your PC, and also teamviewer iv visable on the task manager.
And most importantly is it possible such program to wake up my laptop from sleep and start operating like in the middle of the night. I've heard about WakeOnLan possibility but wouldn't that require physical access to the router and so on.. Also, i was told that when the laptop lid is closed, the magnets terminate all posibillity for the laptop to run at all, even if you connect it through cable to alternative monior for example. I will be happy if someone sheds some light on this question! Thanks in advance

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Clarification Request
why are you worried about this possibility?
Nov 30, 2016 5:01PM PST

What's happening that's made you worried?

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I friend mentioned me that possibility.
Nov 30, 2016 5:06PM PST

James currently i have no clues/evidences of anything, it's mostly paranoia after i used to leave my laptop unattended (with only windows password on)..
I fear remote access the most because it will use my own ip for any purposes the intruder has.

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If this bothers you much...
Nov 30, 2016 6:05PM PST

...I have the perfect solution, if it will work on your laptop. Laptops are more problematic at times than desktops, usually wifi, rarely by wire.

You can choose a Linux "LIVE" DVD of your choice and boot direct from it. That loads a system from a "read only" media that nobody can infect except each time it was running and they'd have to hack into it each time. Basically it's foolproof against "wake on lan" hack attack, or any trojan remaining resident between reboots.

You don't install it, you just boot from it.

Look for videos on Ubuntu, Mint, Zorin, Ubuntu-MATE since they are the easiest to use and very full bodied versions.

I myself use Mint 17 with MATE desktop. Specific Video about it.

You can still save things to the hard drive, otherwise all you do is lost soon as you reboot, which is the advantage to keeping trojans away. It also means no trojan installed on your windows system can run, since it's not booted. You would set your computer to boot to CDROM first, which defeats any "wake on lan" attack, since the Linux would boot and you'd obviously notice that! In fact, if you set the first boot to CDROM in BIOS and leave the DVD in the drive, then it will tell you if anyone is prompting your computer to "wake on LAN".

make your own free DVD

buy one already made

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But what work can i do on it?
Nov 30, 2016 6:44PM PST

James, i was planning to use TAILS. but i need to use photoshop for my work. Can i do that on any of those Live dvd? I need to exchange photos between different devices/accounts and i fear if my laptop was compromised it could spread to all over.

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There's GIMP
Nov 30, 2016 7:10PM PST

Or can install Virtual Box and put a windows into it that is restricted from internet access and run photoshop in it. Doing it that way about 350-500 MB of RAM is taken by Linux and the rest available for the virtualized install of windows. Problem there is you'd need a retail version of windows instead of OEM.

You can also do a "side by side" install and kill all internet access for windows in it's program and boot to Linux when wanting to access internet. That's not as easy as using windows in a "sandboxed" virtual system, since it involves booting between each.

You can use a version of PhotoShop that runs in WINE, which is a program available in most Linux repositories allowing some windows programs to run under Linux. Here's the ones that work and those that don't.

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How to video
Nov 30, 2016 7:19PM PST
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Thanks James for the time and explanation..
Nov 30, 2016 7:34PM PST

This matter is a bit hard for me but i need to learn it. I don't trust our family router and network as well anymore (if i had RAT installed on my pc on purpouse by evil intended people, i just can imagine what damage is already done), if i got it right (i am bit tired its 5.30 am here) i would still need to be online for the photoshop authorization, which would still impose even minimal danger.

The only solution that comes to my mind is to buy new tablet with Windows OS, and only use 4G network from celluar carrier to do my work. In my case, if even little information leaks from the accounts i manage, it becomse big problem. The only angle i will still have for infection is that i will still have to log into the facebook accounts (that i am talking about), change their authorization email and passwords, i was told there is no way to get infected like that (by simply logging)..

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need to balance worry with reasonable possibility
Dec 1, 2016 10:38AM PST

In the 70's I worked in a garage. There was this one customer who worked at local funeral home, drove a 69 camaro. He constantly came in every month to have his brakes checked, even though he was told nothing wrong with them each time. He needed that reassurance, I guess due to his closeness to death. While dying is a valid worry, and it happens to us all at times, his worry about it was really bothering him more than it should, interfering with his life otherwise.

We can worry about being hacked. It does happen. What you need to realize is mom and pop isn't really the target of most attempted hacks. Hackers look for larger targets than me or you. The only other that would be of interest to them is setting up "bots" that could be used for Denial Of Service attacks against other main targets.

Most of us take reasonable steps to protect ourselves and realize nothing is guaranteed to be 100%.

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It's hard sometimes..
Dec 1, 2016 3:01PM PST

The bad thing with paranoia is exactly what you said, you need constant reassurance otherwise it takes all over you life. In my case it's mainly because of my work (managing facebook pages and emails of people with some popularity) and as that the possibility of me being hacked is really bothering me. The worst is that i suspect (although there are no actual evidences) certain hostile people that may have accessed my laptop (that i work on) and not only threaten my career but also damaging the people i work for. I've always been very careful about how i access the web, https only, antivirus/antimalware scannings and so on, things like that and i've never been infected by anything ever. My sole mistake was that i though windows lockscreen password is enough to keep people away, but i found out they are ways people can bypass that undetected. I live the type of life that i do not live on my own home, i often change locations, districts. And the responsibillities that i have make me wake up at night fearing what may be happening. It's the worries that are the worst, as Daffydd said, its probably nothing ever was installed on my machine. But i does makes me better to know all the posibillities, back in the days i used to ask people that are working in the IT sector if there was any danger, they all kept saying don't be paranoid and so on, nothing happened. Good thing with people here in the forum is that they do explain how things are, which will atleast make me do some changes in the future..

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Make sure it's not medical
Dec 1, 2016 4:41PM PST

I have an adopted cousin, he's doing better, just saw him a couple months ago. He is recovering from OCD. Started about 10 years ago and got so bad he couldn't drive, thinking maybe he'd hit someone on the road behind and ended up circling back many times to check on it. That was just one indication of it. It was a slow descent and just as slow coming back from it. It started with paranoia that grew. The medicine works, I think his is an Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor or something like that. Might be worth getting the serotonin levels checked, just in case. It's easier to avoid it, than to start climbing back up from the bottom instead. I'm not saying that's true for you, but just urging you to eliminate it as a possibility.

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Achieve Peace of Mind on this.
Dec 1, 2016 5:00PM PST

Keep your work computer off the internet. No contact by wifi nor cable. Get a cheap desktop (even used or refurbished) you can use for internet, preferably with a Linux distro you install on it. If you need to transfer data from work to internet computer, just use a USB flashdrive, which keeps them separate. Even if the work computer should get infected with something from the flash drive, it still can't be accessed from internet, it's cut off from the world, completely. I think that would help your peace of mind about your work computer. I have two computers sitting side by side, one is windows and not connected to internet, the other is Linux, and I use a KVM between them.

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Will try that.
Dec 1, 2016 5:33PM PST

In fact my original idea years ago was to start studying medicine, my family are doctors, however i dropped because i felt it's not for me. You are right about the levels, they can cause a lot of trouble, it's even proven that conditions like paranoid schizophrenia are genetic and related. In my case though i do realize the level of paranoia is to high but i doubt it's anything medical. I lack knowledge of how those software exploits work and that unawareness triggers these panic attacks. I myself don't have trust that any type of brain condition can be cured. This playing with the chemical levels of the brain can backfire heavily, it can either worsen the symptoms or may cloud your judgment to e severe extend. We have e neighbor who had some mental issues, after the drug therapy he took he now looks and acts even creepier. What i mean is they have no cure for those conditions, they only suppress the mind, making the patient less aggressive and more friendly to the society, but for sure they don't cure him.

About the desktop thing, unfortunately i cannot own one. I am moving way to often to carry anything more than a laptop with me. In 2016 alone i changed 2 districts and 3 rents. My plan is, as i mentioned. to buy windows based tablet and transmit my work there, so i would only use the laptop for fun and free time. I do believe modern tablets would be able to run Photoshop, also they are lot more lightweight and easy to carry with me most of the places i go for my work. I basically need the machine to be able to run photoshop, so i could easily work on photos before i upload them to the accounts i manage. In future, when i settle on my own place (i don't see that happening in the next few years) i will
think for alternatives.

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a tablet is a good idea
Dec 1, 2016 5:42PM PST

I replaced my laptop recently with one for on road stuff. I also added the magic jack app (my home phone is MJ Plus device) so I could make phone calls from it when in an open wifi area.

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Can i ask for suggestions here in the forum?
Dec 1, 2016 6:14PM PST

Yes, this is the best option on my mind right now. The LIVE DVD. TAILS and so on are great ideas but it will take time for me to learn, i am pretty sure i will miss something again. Now holidays are coming it will be the perfect time for me to buy one. Is there a place here in the forum where i can ask about suggestions what tablet i should buy? I have a few brands in mind but i need to know if they would be able to run photoshop. They also would need SIM slot since i would be using 4G celluar carrier connection Happy

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I myself have one inherited tablet
Dec 5, 2016 10:53AM PST

Maybe someone else who uses tablets more can answer you on that.

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why not just unplug the LAN cord?
Nov 30, 2016 7:30PM PST

Or turn off the wifi?

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I do it now.. But..
Nov 30, 2016 7:37PM PST

I do that now, but i wasn't doing it in the last months. So basically i was asking if all this was possible that during this period- the last time i left my laptop unattended on hostile enviroment till now (which is around 4-5 months), someone could have remotely accessed my laptop undetected. I am not simply talking about accessing files, i am afraid if he could basically use internet/accounts using my own ip- because this way i wont be alerted that any new devices was logged to my account/

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Google Remote Access Trojan or RAT.
Nov 30, 2016 3:23PM PST

Is there still physical access involved?

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Physicall access is no more for few months by now.
Nov 30, 2016 4:34PM PST

Dafydd no physicall access for months. As you suggested once on one of the threads i did a factory reset on my laptop. My question is mostly if such RAT can sneak up for prolonged multipy sessions without detection and signs, also the posibillity of waking and powering up sleeping laptop with closed lid. I wonder because with remote access, he could have easily compromised our home router and probably even my family members devices. But again i always used to close the lid which sets the sleeping mode when i was not using it. Have you encountered that trojan?

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It's not months when you posted this.
Nov 30, 2016 5:39PM PST

Physical access is no more for few months by now.

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I mean the last time i left the laptop unattended.
Nov 30, 2016 5:53PM PST

Daffydd i couldn't catch you mean, i meant that the last time i left my laptop unattended was somewhere in the summer.

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No as to the magnets.
Nov 30, 2016 3:49PM PST
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Nov 30, 2016 4:38PM PST

About the magnets you mean no they cant wake up the machine with closed lid or no it wont stop the intruder. Beacuse before i only used to close the lid, which puts it in i believe sleeping mode. I have never noticed any night time waking, i was just wondering if some program lie RAT that was suggested by Daffydd can remain hidden and unnoticed Happy

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Not to belabor this.
Nov 30, 2016 4:46PM PST

A closed lid doesn't block many laptops from waking up. I'm going to state this as fact and not go on about it.

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I'll just add a link.
Nov 30, 2016 4:53PM PST
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Okey, the the odds are against us again
Nov 30, 2016 4:58PM PST

But do you think if this RAT can keep execute the whole awake process for period of months without any detection by antivirus, antimalware and so on?

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Nov 30, 2016 5:02PM PST

Daffydd, i've checked the link. Still they dont mention the possibility of waking the machine from sleep.

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A RAT can wake your machine.
Nov 30, 2016 5:16PM PST

As Bob mentioned Windows updates can wake it if "allow this PC to update other PCs" is allowed. Once a RAT is on your PC they have control. There are instances of people being spied on through their webcams.
The obvious indication of this is your webcam led coming on. Again, I fear you worry too much.

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Does it need to be on exact time ?
Nov 30, 2016 5:50PM PST

But in this case, it should be on exact time, isn't it? I mean the attacker should manually set the RAT to wake up lets say the machine at 2 a.m. or he can wake it up any moment he wants? Because to my knowledge it needs to send packets that would force the laptop to wake up.

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"Wake up any time he wants".
Nov 30, 2016 6:06PM PST

Yes. He has control over your machine. If you "sleep" he has access. Shut down like I do every night and you stop it 'till the next time you logon.
How to deal with this is on the web.

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