How to keep my IM conversations from being accessed by other users of my PC

30 pts.
Instant Messaging
Other users of my computer are somehow able to read my instant message conversations even if I am offline and without my password. I use windows xp and the messenger service I use is yahoo. I have even tried going into yahoo preferences and choosing the do not save option but somehow this user is still able to access the conversation on the hard drive. I do not think they are using a keylogger as these cost money and this user is broke. The only thing they have is a lot of time.

Answer Wiki

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First off, key loggers do not necessarily cost money. If this user is technically competent, and has the right connections, such things can be obtained for free. So assess the user from a purely technical capability standpoint.

Second, get a program like CCleaner (Crap Cleaner). This will go through and clear out almost all of the temporary files. There are numerous places where temp files are stored, and it knows where most of them are.

If you suspect that the system has been “rooted” (compromised/owned) download the Sysinternals rootkit detector from Microsoft’s TechNet web page, and run it to analyze your system to look for file system discrepancies that indicate the presence of a rootkit.

Assuming that you’re running Win 2K/XP, and have the disk formatted with NTFS, lock down and propagate user access permissions so that no one else – not even the system – has read privileges to anything in your Documents and Settings folder – although you may get some protest from the O/S there, lock down as much as you can.

Turn off all file sharing.

Write back and let us know how it’s going and what luck you’ve had. There are other things you can do, but these give you a good place to start.

I just LOVE problems like this!


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  • Bggbread
    I have done the things suggested by Bob and will let you know in a week or so how things turned out. Thanks.
    30 pointsBadges:
  • Bggbread
    It really worked out great. She could access nothing of mine but it really pissed her off because she could not figure it out and eventually gave up. I actually don't even fool with im's anymore so I guess we both win. Thanks and sorry it took so long to get back I had to leave the country unexpectedly.
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