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Braybuddy
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Posts: 5866
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:14 pm

Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:17 am

My PC is in my bedroom and is permanently on, so when I sleep it goes into hibernation mode. Very occasionally, say three or four times a year, it will suddenly spring to life during the night, for no apparent reason. I'm usually woken by something on Youtube or the RTE Player (both of which I use frequently) and I assumed at the time were open on the desktop. I drag myself out of bed to close them and am usually too sleepy to check exactly what they are.

Last night I was woken by an unusual piece of music. It woke me slowly, and I wondered what it was. It was vaguely familiar, but couldn't place it initially. Then I woke fully and realised it was "Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds" by the Michael Nyman Band. This was an instrumental piece I heard on the radio over a week ago (3 June, to be precise) and was intrigued enough to find out what it was and look it up on Youtube to listen to in its entirety. I liked it enough to leave it open on my desktop for a day or so, and haven't opened it since. I was puzzled as to why it had suddenly come to life seeing that I hadn't opened it for over a week. The Irish Times for 4 June was also open (along with other sites), which was also strange as I check it every day and only the current day's paper will appear when opened.

I am certain that neither of those pages were open as I downloaded some updates to Spybot and Avira two days ago and had to reboot my PC to install them, so there is no way either of them were lurking in the background anywhere.

Unless my house is haunted, I have no idea why my PC is suddenly springing to life in the middle of the night, and why it is pulling-up websites I viewed eleven days ago. Anyone any ideas here?
 
JakeOrion
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RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:44 am

I would say there is a strong possibility of your PC being hijacked. Any indication of somebody trying to access your bank accounts or unusual credit card bills lately?

Might want to look at some firewall programs just to be sure. Also, don't just rely on Avira and spybot; get additional programs such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Trend Micro HijackThis (WARNING: Be EXTREMELY careful when using this program, as it can and will delete your core OS files; recommend for advanced computer users only) as additional protections. Sometimes not all viruses/malware/etc are found by one program.

Until you know EXACTLY what is going on with your PC, I strongly recommend not doing anything "sensitive" (banking/credit transactions/etc) until you are absolutely sure it is safe to do so.

[Edited 2012-06-14 01:45:47]
Every problem has a simple solution; finding the simple solution is the difficult problem.
 
GST
Posts: 808
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:27 am

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:49 am

I had the same issue with my laptop for about 2 years before I solved it. In my case the computer was password protected so never got to the desktop (and was powered off at night anyway so programs wouldn't be open) so I was woken up by the fans whirring and bright screen.

It turned out that the default setting for my machine to check for windows updates was 02:00am, and it would sometimes power up to check (though not every night, just once a fortnight or so). Changing the update check time to when the computer was likely to be on anyway has solved this, it gets to check for updates so regularly now that it has not had cause to spontaneously power on for over a year.

[Edited 2012-06-14 01:55:53]
 
AR385
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Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:03 am

You can´t have more than one malware/spyware/anti-virus software running at the same time on your PC. Having more that one can potentially do a lot of damage up to and frying your hard drive. Stick to one or the other. I use one software I´ve suscribed to for the past 6 years. PM me if you are interested, I don´t want to appear as sponsoring it here. Sure, it´s expensive but it beats anything found for free on the web.

As to your particular problem, I´d suggest you shut down your PC when you go to bed. My PC does all sorts of strange stuff on its own (including what you´ve described) to the point I´ve stopped wondering why it does it. I´ve talked to a lot of "techies" and it´s really not particularly strange. There´s so much garbage out there that gets downloaded onto your PC unsuspectedly, it just reacts.

Another reason is that many apps, sites and software update themselves regularly, at not so regular times and then your PC powers up to accept those updates.

Or, the Cylons are finally among us...

[Edited 2012-06-14 02:06:53]
 
GST
Posts: 808
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:27 am

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:08 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
Or, the Cylons are finally among us...

This. The only solution is explosive rounds.
 
Rara
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RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:38 am

My advice is to steer clear of any anti-malware/anti-virus software. This stuff is designed to scare you into thinking that you really need it, and it'll slow your PC down. As long as your system is up-to-date, you use a current browser (also keep all plug-ins updated, that's very important), you have your Windows firewall active, and you don't open any executables from questionable sources, you don't need third-party security software. Microsoft Security Essentials is perfectly sufficient.
Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
 
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Braybuddy
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Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:14 pm

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:18 am

Thanks guys, I appreciate your feedback!

Quoting jakeorion (Reply 1):
I would say there is a strong possibility of your PC being hijacked. Any indication of somebody trying to access your bank accounts or unusual credit card bills lately?

Funny, I had my credit card skimmed last December and I put it down to a restaurant somewhere. I cancelled the card, and haven't had any trouble since.

Quoting jakeorion (Reply 1):
Might want to look at some firewall programs just to be sure.

Just checked the status of my firewall and it's on.

Quoting GST (Reply 2):
It turned out that the default setting for my machine to check for windows updates was 02:00am, and it would sometimes power up to check (though not every night, just once a fortnight or so).

You could be on to something here: I just checked and updates were installed at 03:06, though I don't know if that's the time the PC woke me. Looking at updates history, they can happen at any time and often during the night, but it only wakes me up a couple of times a year (I'm a light sleeper, so any noise would wake me). The only thing that puzzles me about this is why the PC would launch sites I visited 11 days ago. I cleared my cookies the other day when updating Spybot.


Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
You can´t have more than one malware/spyware/anti-virus software running at the same time on your PC.

That's what I always thought.

Quoting AR385 (Reply 3):
Or, the Cylons are finally among us...

I'd prefer a ghost!

Quoting Rara (Reply 5):
My advice is to steer clear of any anti-malware/anti-virus software.

Really? I thought it was standard practice to install at least anti-virus software.

So it may be something to do with the updates, but pulling up sites I visited 11 days ago seems very strange.
 
AF1624
Posts: 498
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:57 am

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:22 am

Aren't you just sleep-walking ? Fair question, really, especially because if your PC really was being hijacked :

- Hibernation mode is not sleep mode. You can't "wake" a PC from hibernation mode without physically pressing a button,
- Why would the hijacker go through your internet history and just listen to a random song you've listened to recently ?

You should film a typical night and see what happens !
Cheers
 
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moo
Posts: 4074
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 2:27 am

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:13 pm

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 7):
- Hibernation mode is not sleep mode. You can't "wake" a PC from hibernation mode without physically pressing a button,

You can actually - wake on lan. Most systems support it these days, but you have to have turned it on at some point in the BIOS.

Quoting Rara (Reply 5):
My advice is to steer clear of any anti-malware/anti-virus software. This stuff is designed to scare you into thinking that you really need it, and it'll slow your PC down.

Use Microsoft Security Essentials - it regularly tops the charts in usefulness, lightweightness and successful detection of issues. Its free.
 
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Braybuddy
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Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:14 pm

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:34 pm

Quoting AF1624 (Reply 7):
Aren't you just sleep-walking ?

While never say never, I think this is extremely unlikely, for two reasons:

1: I've never knowingly had any sleepwalking experience, and none of my friends have ever had any experience of me sleepwalking.

2: Apart from the Youtube video, the front page from the Irish Times of 4 June was also open. I couldn't do this if I tried: I know they have an archive, but I only use it by putting a word into the search function, which will give you a list of articles containing that word. It won't give you the front -- or any -- page.
 
varigb707
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Joined: Wed May 10, 2006 6:02 am

RE: Spooky PC!

Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:41 am

Quoting Braybuddy (Thread starter):

You lost me at My PC is in my bedroom


Just kidding mate.... Keep yer PC on Hibernation Mode during your sleeping hours. Is all.
First, I said 'hey' and then I said 'now'. "Hey Now!" - Hank K.

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