Can a home computer, not wireless, be hacked from the outside and have pictures copied? Can I track and see if that happened?

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    Welcome to IT Security. Why do you ask? Are you seeing evidence of pictures outside of your computer?
    – schroeder
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 16:22
  • You have posted two questions, almost about the same subject. If I understand correctly, you had some pictures, told someone that you have deleted them, but somehow one (or more) pictures have spread, and know you need to convince someone that you're not guilty, because you deleted them and perhaps your computer was invaded, and someone might have stolen the pictures. Is that it ? Commented May 9, 2013 at 19:52
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    I have been accused of giving out photos from a flash drive, but the accuser told me to prove, if I didnt do it, to: 1) Prove I deleted the photos 2 months ago when I did 2) Prove that I was hacked ..... Commented May 9, 2013 at 21:23
  • ok, got the problem... will post it as one answer below Commented May 10, 2013 at 13:26

5 Answers 5


Home computers are hacked all the time. Infected downloads, infected websites, etc can all result in compromises.

You can run tools to see if you might have been compromised, but no way to tell if pictures were removed.


It depends. Let me break each part down and answer more fully.

Can a home computer, not wireless, be hacked from the outside and have pictures copied?

Yes, if it has a network connection. No, not unless someone had physical access to it, or provided a network connection temporarily (such as connected a device like a cell phone via a usb drive to it). Can pictures be copied, of course. Anything on it can be copied, deleted, or otherwise done with as the hacker chooses, as long as they obtain the proper privileges. Assuming it is a normal windows based computer with limited account management - this is a simple issue. So if it was networked or someone had access to it; if they intended on hacking it; and if they wanted to copy pictures - yes they could and may have.

Can I track and see if that happened?

Maybe. If you want to put a lot of time and energy into deep diving into forensics and tear your machine apart at the bit and byte level you might be able to find some finger prints of the crime. You might be able to find some evidence of what took place, and you might find some leads as to where, why, etc. Think of it as any other crime scene - what is your skill, experience, and $$; and what is their skill, experience and time to conduct the crime. If it was a sloppy web based hack you may find some cache files that lead you to where the pics went. If you had had snort or some other IDS running (which I doubt) you might have captured some logs of network traffic... It is all about what evidence you find.

Unfortunately, on a typical home PC with multi-users, where a crime was done months ago... attribution is going to REAL hard.

But don't be dismayed. Maybe a little Sherlock Holmes'ing can get you part of the way there - low tech can sometimes solve problems better than high-tech.

The first thing that comes to my mind as an investigator is YOU feel there are specific pictures copied. Why? That is your lead. Has someone mentioned them? Are they somewhere they should not be? If so, then maybe you do some gum-shoeing and figure out how that took place.

Which if it is a person issue - let's just take a scenario of some not so flattering pictures showing up from your hard drive in an ex'es hands right before a divorce case is to be heard... Then maybe you have a pseudo-hack (as I like to call them) - Your ex, your kids, or a friend has put monitoring ware, or a backdoor on your machine and they have been pilfering it, and it is on there now.

The reason I bring this up, is the questions you ask, I hear a dozen times and they always lead back (just like a murder case) to the same familiar set of smoking guns like this one (or a handful of other kind of technical, but not so technical).

Unless you are a very specific value-added target for some highly talented hacker, why would they go after pictures? 9 times out of 10 that is an act of vengeance hack from someone we know or affiliated with someone we know.

Just my two cents.

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    Basically, the ex girlfriend says I gave out pictures from a flash drive I was storing at my house. I also had the photos on my computer. 2 months ago I gave her the drive, and deleted the photos off the machine. Fast forward - ex husband says he aquuired them from a 'friend' of mine that I gave them to, which is not true. So she has told me to 'prove' I dleeted the files 2 months ago (question I posed earlier) and to also 'prove' I was hacked, because that would be the only way the photos came from me. 2 others had copies, but she has cleard them of all wrongdoing :-) Commented May 9, 2013 at 21:29
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    "...she has cleard them of all wrongdoing" if she asked you to prove you deleted a photo she has some serious misgiving about technical matters, and may not be qualified to "clear them". I think it is far more likely that one of the other sources leaked the data than that someone compromised your machine for the photos. Commented May 9, 2013 at 22:55
  • If the ex-husband really got the pics from your 'friend', it's probably more likely that the 'friend' either copied them from your computer or one of the other two 'trusted' holders of the pictures. There's lots of ways to set up auditing beforehand proactively log any access to the files in question, but nearly impossible to track it down 2 months later.
    – Johnny
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 0:08
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    Actually the likely source is the flash drive... Every place she has taken the flash drive, someone could have peeled them off of it, even if she thought they were deleted off of it. Quite honestly she is an "ex" for a reason... politely remind her of that fact, tell her that her drama is her drama and kick her and her "prove to me" to the curb. Your wasting your time, my friend, no proof will satisfy such twits.
    – Tek Tengu
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 0:43
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    @TekTengu - To expand on your answer there are lots of ways a photo could have been automatically uploaded to a social website. iTunes for example uploads photos automatically to iCloud. I agree with your advice dealing with the human element, politely tell her, you had nothing to do with leaking the photos to anyone.
    – Ramhound
    Commented May 12, 2013 at 9:22

If the computer does not have a connection to the outside world (i.e: no internet) then the likelihood is no. There are very few methods that could be used to access a home computer without any sort of connection to the outside world. Physical access or possibly a blue tooth exploit would be practical in this instance.

If the computer does have a connection to the outside world (i.e: has internet) then there is a possibility. It is possible that you visited a website or downloaded a file that infected you with some sort of virus or malware that allowed the "attacker" to gain access to and copy your pictures.

The chance of you tracking and determining what pictures were "stolen" or what was accessed is probably not going to be possible. At a very slim chance you may be able to validate if a file was modified or viewed by the created vs. modified vs. access date stamps on the file but that is the extent of it.


Its difficult Mate. However, I would suggest to have a look into the Windows Event logs and registry. If it is sure shot remote exploit (via Internet), there must be some applications used to fetch/copy the files from your machine. Hopefully, cmd or Explorer etc. Again, this will just give us a hint about what happened during the time period.

So, do some date analysis very closely and get the closest time this incident could have happened. Run through the Event logs and registry for that particular time period.

Good luck


If you consent to have your PC repaired/cleaned by using a online fix-it site that takes control of your PC to examine it for a virus then they can do what ever they wish with your files and you can do little to bring justice to them. you must be very careful of what is on your PC, IE banking/financial/personal info and photos. there are tools and ways to fix your PC and not be online at the time you do it. for bad viruses you can save all your files and just format the hard drive and reinstall the operating system, or on most PCs you can restore to an earlier time or restore back to factory specs, All of these methods require you to reinstall all programs and files but it is the safest and least expensive way to fix your PC.

  • You should consider rewriting or revisiting the sentence structures and formatting. Not only was it hard to read, but many ideas are lost as there is no "flow" to your answer. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 4:32

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