The Latest on the Ohio Recount
December 16, 2004
(archived broadcast )
(archived broadcast )
Guests: Reporter Harvey Wasserman and Stuart Comstock-Gay, Executive Director of the National Voting Rights Institute
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Skip December 16, 2004 5:38 pm
For some strange reason, your accidental computer takeover story reminded me of the local Roto-Rooter guy cleaning out the next door neighbor’s drain. He managed to find my kitchen sink’s drain instead. He cut through some platic pipes which resulted in the flooding of my kitchen.
Nathan December 16, 2004 3:40 pm
That’s true, there are many programs that allow remote access to systems, and many businesses use them for their help desk people.
But for this to happen software needs to be installed on the client computer. And they are incredible bandwidth hogs, not likely to work well over a dialup internet connection and even some broadband.
It was freaky to me the first time I saw it too. I was at my first internship and all of a sudden my computer was taken over and someone was remotely messing with my internet settings. Turned out they were trying to help someone else and accidentally typed my IP address. 🙂
Nathan December 16, 2004 3:35 pm
Well, I was somewhat familiar with Carnivore before, but I did go out and research it a bit more just now.
If you remember the 2 ways I said someone could monitor you, carnivore falls into category 1. Although it’s only a monitoring tool, not a control tool. What this means is that all it does is record information about web sites, emails, chat sessions, etc from your internet traffic at your ISP. Carnivore by itself won’t give agents ability to control your computer, and won’t even compromise your connections, all it does is track your internet traffic.
For more information, the best explanation I found of it was at: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/carnivore1.htm
As far as ISP dropped connections, I actually have broadband internet (all us rich republicans do ;-)) so my internet is either on or off, there’s no dialing in. I do know from my old dial-up days that it’s not uncommon for computers to try to reconnect itself after it’s been disconnected.
Also, the volume thing may be a virus. My old boss had a virus that turned his volume all the way up at random times and played a sound clip of Homer Simpson saying “You are gay, hehehe”. Funny as hell. He alwaya had stuff going on with his computer. Once we finally got him to run spyware/adware detection we found out he had over 200 occurances of it (yikes!).
I can’t say much about the typing threatening messages to you. I’d be interested to see how they are displayed to you. There is a little known message method in windows that allows someone to send a message to any windows computer and the receiver gets a message looking like a windows dialog box. This is called IP messaging. Refer to: http://www.pchell.com/support/ipmessaging.shtml to see how to protect yourself from it, and see if the messages stop.
I don’t doubt that maybe *someone* is messing with you on your computer. I just seriously doubt it’s Ashcroft.
Skip December 16, 2004 3:32 pm
I have heard about the Real player having some sort of “hole” in it that outsider’s can take advantage of. It’s also pretty weird to watch the system administrator at the company I work for remotely take over my machine to install software. The mouse cursor moves around and merrily clicks away. The outsiders would have to be pretty cleaver to get around firewalls etc, but that is a “cakewalk” for the really talented ones.