Is Someone Else Using Your Computer?

Living with another person–be that a roommate, significant other, child, or someone else–challenges you in more ways than one. One of those ways may be the use of your computer. Perhaps you don’t want your roommate stealing your study guides or you’ve grounded your son or daughter for misbehavior. Either way, someone’s accessing your device and shouldn’t be. How can you know for sure?

Of course, using a strong password to secure your computer in the first place solves this issue. However, if the password still remains too simple to guess, then you remain in this state of uncertainty. If you believe someone may be using your computer without your permission, here are some tips that may lead you to the truth.

How to Know if Someone is Using Your Computer

  1. Check your activity logs.

    computer activity log

    Flickr: Trevor Isaacs

    As you likely already know, computers track every action they perform as logs. This means they’re dated and time stamped. Review your activity log for suspicious activity. Perhaps your computer was being used, but you were at work or out of town. Those actions serve as signs of unauthorized use of your device.If you own a Mac, your activity log is under your applications as Console. If you prefer Windows devices, open your Event Viewer, and click on the menu item on the right called Windows Log. Then right click on Systems, and your computer activity magically appears.

  2. Check your web history.

    Did you not search this? If no, someone else may be using your computer... Flickr: Danny Sullivan

    Did you not search this? If no, someone else may be using your computer…
    Flickr: Danny Sullivan

    You web history tells the story of what your computer searches online. Use this to determine if someone else is using your device. You access your history through your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.). Click on the top menu bar labeled History, and you can see what you’ve searched.Knowing this, you can use your search history in different ways to determine suspicious activity. You can:

    1. Monitor your search history. Don’t remember looking up the latest sports scores? That looks fishy…
    2. Always delete your browsing history after each time you use the Internet. Then check to see if the snoop has browsed and not deleted.
    3. Never delete your history; just check it. At some point, if your snoop does know to delete his/her search history, the snoop will accidentally delete all history instead of just his/her search history.
  3. Install Software
    computer alert sent to phone

    If your snoop knows the first ideas (and how to get around them), you may resort to more extreme measures. The first is to find a software solution that fits your needs.

    Many theft protection apps exist for computers, smartphones, tablets, and more.  These apps can alert you of device usage, lock the screen, geolocate the device, snap a picture of the perpetrator using the self-facing camera, and more. Some apps have free options with basic features, otherwise these services may be accompanied by a cost.

  4. Install Video Surveillance

    Video cameras prove themselves useful time and time again. In some cases, installing a small camera to monitor your device may serve as the best solution for your needs. Indoor security cameras can run upwards of $100, but video doesn’t lie. These cameras can also be used later, such as to ensure your child makes curfew or see who has been stealing all the cookies from the cookie jar.

If your business is in need of cybersecurity or on-site security, Heart Technologies may be the right fit for you! With almost 30 years in the business technology industry, we understand what works for local companies. We know how to provide you with the best solution at the best cost. For more information, give us a call at 877.494.3278.

computer hackers

Flickr: Jared Tarbell