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(CBS Philadelphia)   Does your computer turn itself on and go online while you're asleep at night, then turn itself back off before you get up in the morning? Sharyl Attkisson's has   ( philadelphia.cbslocal.com) divider line
    More: Scary, Sharyl Attkisson, computers  
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9008 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 Jun 2013 at 12:13 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-06-18 02:19:29 PM  
3 votes:
A couple of suggestions:

1. Create  NON-Admin account for Daily use
2. Use a password
3. Leave a password protected Admin account that you don't use (except in emergencies)
4. power- OFF the machine at night

You only really need to do step 4. Steps 1 - 3 are just a good idea - They preserve an "clean" Admin account which is essential to resolving any issue.
2013-06-18 01:55:13 PM  
3 votes:
Even if that's true and not something mundane like a scheduled software update running,the only way it's still an issue is if you don't require a password on resume or your password is compromised.

And if your password is compromised, especially if your account has rights to admin shares on the box, they don't need to be as obvious as WOL'ing your machine if all they want to see is your files.

Journalists and users act like this sort of thing is some mystifying and arcane hacker shiat, but it sounds to me like somebody, at some point, gained physical access to the machine and set the WOL option in the BIOS. A pretty basic and legitimate feature. I'd bet good money that at some point in the last few months she came back to her machine and found that it was off or restarted and she could just swear she had only locked it when she got up. Either that or she has no user account with a password or doesn't bother locking her machine when she walks away from it like so many other people.

Oh well. The continued refusal of users to learn even the most elementary features of their devices keeps me employed in a fairly easy job with good pay, I guess.
2013-06-18 10:13:21 AM  
3 votes:
She can disconnect wake-on-LAN, disable network adapters, unplug (if it's a desktop)/remove the battery (laptop), put it in a copper-lined box, get a better firewall...

Reporters often seem surprised that computer security is a thing, even for personal computers (or perhaps especially so) - and the fact that the DoJ just crawled up AP's pooper and the NSA is watching your metadata should make reporters that much more sensitive.

// I bet her home network is WEP
2013-06-18 03:26:52 PM  
2 votes:

Kimpak: Judging by the article, she wasn't working on anything secret on her computer.  Also, she's a reporter that was working on a story that gets..you know...read.  By people. So at best the "hacker" would have just gotten to read her outline and an early draft of her story.  So the only 'harm' done was the breaking and entering of her computer.

So you only really need to be secure when you are working on secret stuff? Do you only use a password when you think someone might be trying to hack in? According to her "The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn't tamper with those, so they weren't interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances." I guess you are right. These are fine upstanding hackers. No need to worry about things like security. It just takes up time and is complicated.

Also FTA: "Whoever was in my work computer, the only thing I was working on were work-related things with CBS were big stories I guess during the time period in questions were I guess Benghazi and 'Fast and Furious.'" They must have stolen her punctuation.
2013-06-18 02:23:44 PM  
2 votes:
Thank FSM that bush is out and the party of hope-y_change-y has stopped the government from attacking people they disagree with.

// sorry ... it's only wrong when a republican does it.
2013-06-18 12:51:33 PM  
2 votes:
There were just signs of unusual happenings for many months, odd behavior like the computers just turning themselves on at night and then turning themselves back off again...

stopped reading right there.

encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.comView Full Size
2013-06-18 11:42:33 AM  
2 votes:
FTFA:"So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there."

Thanks!  I have decided that the ghost of Murrow was checking to see if you had stopped being a hack reporter yet.  Fox News is going to drag your ass into court if you keep infringing on their "We imply, you fill in the blanks" schtick.
2013-06-18 10:34:12 AM  
2 votes:
Well, lots of computers at my client sites do this because of automated updates, WSUS, or automated asset management probing.  She should probably have a conversation with her IT guys first.
2013-06-19 05:58:14 AM  
1 vote:
I unplug my cables when I turn my shiat off for bed and I'm not even that paranoid. Just an old Captain Planet trick about saving power. I did have an old Magnavox TV that would turn on in the middle of the night even with the cord unplugged. It wouldn't have a show on, just the "hum" that accompanies a TV being on and a slight glow from the screen ( and it would make the click sound before it was "on" ). Before I got it the fark out of my house, I rationalized that it was because I kept my alarm clock which was somehow magnetized on top of it for so long. The top of the picture was greenish before the strangeness occurred....
2013-06-19 03:58:35 AM  
1 vote:
Dear Sharyl Attkisson,

When the NSA hacks your computer, they won't do anything as conspicuous as turning it on when it's off. They will know what hours you use it, and hack it while you're using it.

signed, how I would do it, and the NSA is smarter than I am...
2013-06-18 11:30:14 PM  
1 vote:
Could also be the laptop coming back on from standby to drop down into hibernate.
2013-06-18 09:15:09 PM  
1 vote:

mongbiohazard: So yeah, my BS detector is screaming here.

*shrug* A PC I had a few years ago had wake-on-network set on by default. It basically did what she says hers is doing. Until I toggled the setting. Then it stopped.

/ Modern motherboards don't shut off entirely unless you perform a hard shutdown (holding the case switch down four seconds or so), and will fire up given any signal to which it's set to respond.
2013-06-18 07:00:02 PM  
1 vote:
I had this happen at my house. i came home and there were dozens of Safari and Firefox windows open to my (unlogged into) financial sites, the local paper... basically every single bookmark I had. I closed about 50 windows and the very bottom one was a running slideshow of pictures of my cats. After I stopped hyperventilating, I realized that the lappy was covered in cat hair and little paw prints. It dawned on my that the chilly day, combined with the warmth of a MacBook was too enticing to my cat. He must have spent the day alternately walking on it and sleeping on it. It was very odd that he somehow managed to fire up a slideshow of photos of him and the other pets in the house. (An infiinite number of monkeys may type up Shakespeare, but nothing matches the ego of a ginger cat.)

I now leave the lappy closed when I leave the house.
2013-06-18 06:51:14 PM  
1 vote:
What I don't get is people who turn their computer off all the time. If she means it wakes from sleep, I get that. It happens. Some updates apply during that time if you tell them to (or don't tell them not to). But if she actually turns it all the way off every day? How weird... That's like shutting off the water under the sink every night, or disconnecting your car battery after every trip. Modern computers are made to operate at low power or standby 24 hours a day.

I shut down my desktop once every few days, but that's just because it has a louder fan than most laptops or tablets and I like the quiet every once in a while. If it were silent, I wouldn't shut it down at all.
2013-06-18 03:22:44 PM  
1 vote:
YES. It does - It's called System Update where a computer downloads Windows updates, installs, then reboots during the early morning or whenever you have it scheduled.
2013-06-18 03:12:28 PM  
1 vote:

China White Tea: It turns itself  on, or it  wakes up?

Because those are two really different things.

As Douglas Adams pointed out in one of his books, the concept of 'off' is outdated. Almost everything these days is in some level of standby state and it's common for real-time clock chips to also have a programmable wake-up alarm. If you're worried about it, pull the battery or physically disconnect the incoming AC power.
2013-06-18 03:10:17 PM  
1 vote:
Old Ben Ghazi... that's a name he's not heard in a long time.  A long time.  He hasn't gone by the name of Old Ben Ghazi since oh, before you were born.
2013-06-18 02:40:25 PM  
1 vote:
Can't wake my computer up at night without my knowledge because I leave my laptop and pc on 24x7. That being said, if I was a reporter working on reporter shiat I wouldn't be saving my precious work to a non encrypted drive for hackers to snoop out in plain text. In fact maybe she should think about going back to pen and paper for some of her more important work. I agree with most here, the level of naiveté people have about basic computer security is astounding at times.
2013-06-18 02:38:57 PM  
1 vote:

Myria: If only the NSA would hack my computer like this, I'd find the malware, reverse engineer it, and post how it worked all over the Internet.  This happened with Stuxnet, which is probably from U.S. and/or Israeli spy agencies.

It was both agencies and thanks to the Israelis botching the code, we know about it. It was never supposed to leave the Iranian network at the plant, but to keep the Israelis from bombing the place we let them work on the code. They screwed up the protection to let it off the network, and boom went the dynamite.

/That's what I read.
//Air gap's the only way to be sure!  And not useful.
2013-06-18 02:37:18 PM  
1 vote:
Attkisson could not speak about whether the hacking was related to her questions about Benghazi because of "legal counsel," but she did say her work at that time was primarily on the occurrence.

I'm guessing it had more to do with you wanting to find out what friends had recently viewed your Facebook profile, or perhaps trying to win a free iPad.
2013-06-18 01:53:41 PM  
1 vote:
So there's a lot of people that aren't aware that you can log in remotely to someone's laptop if you can get access to it over the internet, or if it's on a WiFi network and not secure enough.  There's also network interfaces on some systems with Boot ROMs that will power up the system remotely.  Then there's just the mundane scheduled tasks that might turn your system on or wake it up.  Christ, my PS3 turns on to auto-patch and auto-backup every night at 2am.  This is not new technology.
2013-06-18 01:50:47 PM  
1 vote:

China White Tea: It turns itself  on, or it  wakes up?

Because those are two really different things.

Exactly.  I've never had a machine power itself on after shutdown, no matter what schedulers or automated task I had running.  I have had numerous machines come out of sleep/hibernation to perform automated tasks in the middle of the night, then go back to sleep.
2013-06-18 01:38:21 PM  
1 vote:
2013-06-18 01:08:37 PM  
1 vote:
Does your computer turn itself on and go online while you're asleep at night

No, but my chewing gum does lose its flavor on the bedpost.
2013-06-18 01:06:56 PM  
1 vote:
this was happening to a neighbor's desktop. she lives alone and is not much of a housekeeper. while looking things over i noticed some mouse shaite on the floor and since she eats and drinks in front of the puter and i told her it was probably a mouse getting at the crumbs around the keyboard and mouse. i turned off sleep mode and she is happy now. the house is probably still filthy since she gave a pained look when i suggested cleaning up was maybe the best thing to do.
2013-06-18 12:54:16 PM  
1 vote:

naughtyrev: I see she's been asking questions about Benghazi.

and Fast and Furious.
2013-06-18 12:34:15 PM  
1 vote:
My wife once found a Cd with some  porn on it.

/Fookin Hackers!!!!
2013-06-18 12:33:59 PM  
1 vote:

CapeFearCadaver: xenophon10k: CapeFearCadaver: I fell asleep the other night watching futurama episodes on the laptop next to me in bed while I laid on my side. Woke up several hours late with the dog whining wanting his spot to sleep... the laptop was open but turned off and when I powered it back up the dimness had been turned all the way down. I don't know if I did that or the dog did,,,

Does your laptop have an ambient light sensor? Mine does, and it sometimes flakes out and cranks the brightness all the way up or down.

No earthly idea. I know I can adjust the brightness with a tab button, but that's it.

Was it plugged in on or battery.  A power saving option is to dim the display.
2013-06-18 12:33:06 PM  
1 vote:
imgs.xkcd.comView Full Size
2013-06-18 12:32:57 PM  
1 vote:
Article is heavily implying that it must be the NSA...
2013-06-18 12:31:25 PM  
1 vote:

TwistedIvory: I love their image of "hacking."

They've done an ipconfig and a dir search for mfc42ui.dll on a German machine, and then launched the registry editor from a command line. Hacking!

A command line means you're a hacker
2013-06-18 12:28:38 PM  
1 vote:
Thanks Obama!

/Gonna turn off the power bar from now on.
2013-06-18 12:21:43 PM  
1 vote:

Vigilant even as you sleep.
2013-06-18 10:39:07 AM  
1 vote:
I see she's been asking questions about Benghazi.
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