# What to do when I found a spyware that my spouse has installed?

Today I was trying to uninstall some application and I was very surprised to see this entry in my applications list

Then I try to find what is this and I finally found it in "Program Files". After I opened the application and explored it a little bit I found this window

The email address you see is my spouse's email address. What I see from this is that my spouse has installed this application to spy on my computer and then send reports to her email.

What I should do with my computer?

Update: Thank you for all the answers. I feeled that Rob Church's answer fitted y situation the best way. I will post further updates in the comment section later.

• Talk to her...? – user10211 Nov 27 '13 at 15:18
• Talk to her ? Seriously, this is not a question for se.security but for yourself. – Stephane Nov 27 '13 at 15:18
• .. there is also a huge potential for a prank. – teresko Nov 27 '13 at 16:02
• Life isn't good when you get relationship advice from the nerds. – Griffin Nowak Nov 27 '13 at 21:19
• do you work for US government? Is your spouse from Russia? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you haev a security problem. Otherwise, just talk to her... – Sulthan Nov 27 '13 at 23:38

This is assuming that you're going to take an open approach to this problem rather than engage in counter-spying or image manipulation of your own. It's fairly basic advice, but do this on a computer you trust (this one cleaned or at work), and don't re-use any of your old passwords. Personally, I like using LastPass to store my passwords (generally random characters) but your mileage may vary.

If you have things to hide (or just value your privacy) consider also using TrueCrypt to encrypt your system drive - you have a terrible security situation in that the attacker has physical access to the computer so let's make it hard for them to read the data while you're away.

And then, on a personal level, perhaps prepare for the worst regarding your relationship. The fact that she (or he) installed this either shows a desire to leave anyway, or a serious lack of trust from them - and if that's not recognised and dealt with, it underlies all your dealings with each other.

Update: On the passwords/account compromised note, you may want to check key accounts to make sure the recovery details haven't been changed or that no forwarding is going on. For example: GMail lets you set recovery options (click on your face - account - security - recovery) or set up a filter that silently forwards everything (gear icon - settings - filters). Consider setting up two-factor authentication on accounts that support it and look for ways to log-off other sessions. Google has a checklist that covers some other things.

• thank you very much. I think this is fitting my situation the most. – Green Fly Nov 28 '13 at 17:11
• No problem, best of luck sorting things out with your spouse... – Rob Church Nov 28 '13 at 17:30
• Best remove the keylogger before changing those passwords. :-) – Anonymous Dec 20 '13 at 16:41
• Hopefully this situation has resolved itself amicably by now but encrypting the drive after discovering an indicator of compromise stemming from a lack of trust would only escalate things under any circumstance. This is a people problem, not a technical issue. – Ivan Sep 28 '16 at 19:50

Normally, I'd just parrot the "nuke it from orbit and start from the beginning" line. However, information security is also about understanding your adversary, the practical risk, and the assets you're trying to protect.

In this case, I think situation is a bit different; your spouse clearly just Googled for "free key logger" and downloaded the first one or two results. You're not dealing with some skilled attacker trying to hide rootkits or compromise your BIOS.

I've just looked into this Spyrix application and it seems that if it's not password-protected, you can simply click "Stop" (which, according to the screenshot, you've already done) and then uninstall it normally. You don't need to remove your operating system or flash your BIOS or anything of that sort. You don't even need any special "removal tools" in this case.

Having that said, if you still feel you're not satisfied with the integrity of your system (I generally wouldn't), then just remove it and install it again.

Side note: I really don't think your problem is technical. Go talk to your spouse as there are deeper reasons behind this. Almost everything can be fixed with an honest and calm conversation.

• Maybe it's a sleight of hand, you know: an obvious keylogger and a hidden one. – Stephane Nov 27 '13 at 15:30
• @Stephane that would only be plausible if Green Fly's spouse had reason to suspect that Green Fly would be looking for evidence of being spied upon. Nothing in what has been posted so far would support such a conclusion. – Dan Neely Nov 27 '13 at 18:07
• @Adnan Almost everything can be fixed with an honest and calm conversation ... yeah... and sometimes a different spouse. A healthy relationship takes two people to maintain, no matter how reasonable one of them may be. – tylerl Nov 28 '13 at 8:24
• @Thomas I sandboxed the installation and looked at it with Tiny Watcher and InstallWatch. Clicking "Stop" seems to deactivate the whole application and there's nothing nasty left behind. – Adi Nov 28 '13 at 8:59
• @Adnan, really great analysis - except maybe you're the author of Spyrix, hmm... – Rob Church Nov 28 '13 at 17:31

Like many others mentioned, there are trust issues here. thats needs sorting. the best way is a face to face discussion.

an even better way to invite her is by typing out the invitation on your computer so that she sees your invitation and also comes to know of the keylogger in there.

Now that you know your laptop is insecure, you should setup some admin controls on it. This time around, it was just your spouse, tomorrow.... who knows.

all the best !

## Disclaimer

The approach I am about to describe might be unethical and perhaps even illegal. I am posting this for two main reasons: one I have no emotional attachment to your relationship; and two, because I like solving problems, the answer below is from a technical point of view: I am not really suggesting you do as I say below - the other answers that have suggested you speak with her is perhaps the best human way of solving this; I don't know: it's your call.

For this you will need to have two things:

• Strategy
• Tactics

One thing is clear: no matter what you ask her, you can never trust her answer. If you depend solely on what she tells you, you will never know whether this keylogger was installed there because she was just suspicious that you might be cheating on her, or that she is trying to build a case to run away with half of what you own. Either way a new situation has been unveiled and you will need to to be tactful; treat it like a case to be solved. The key point in your strategy is to understand her motives, and depending on the findings, take an appropriate action, even if it means divorcing her. That's your strategy: find out her real motives. Enter your tactics...

I agree that the problem is not 'technical', but 'human' (social). Now, pay attention to this: your best chance of getting to the bottom of this 'human', social problem might be via the 'technical' one. The fact that you have the upper hand, (as it has already been said here, you have the knowledge that she doesn't know that you know that the keylogger is in your machine) gives you extreme advantage in this incident: take the opportunity to use it in the following way:

1. Pretend that you don't know it is there and don't use other software to scramble what you do. To the contrary, as it has already been suggested, make a model of yourself. Send e-mail to some friend (you may tell him about it or not) in a way that in the e-mail you say good things about her. Every woman I know enjoys compliments: use it to soften her. Make her read your messages that say good things about her. Why this approach? Two reasons: one, you have better room for action if she does not know that you know, and secondly, if she starts reading these words of flattery she will lower her guard a bit, giving you even more room for investigation. (I hope you have not posted this question from the infected machine.)

## After Math

If you find out that all her problem was that she was suspicious because she thought you might be interested in another woman, either because you don't treat her like you used to in the beginning, or because you have been behaving strangely, you should still keep secret that you knew about the keylogger and start acting like you were in love with her. Re-gain her trust. Remember one thing. The best seducer is not the one that can seduce many women once, but the one that can seduce the same woman over and over again.

If, on another hand, if you find out something worse, like she was wanting to divorce you to get your stuff, or that she was cheating on you, you can use her unethical behavior against herself and nullify the marriage, which depending on the laws of your country, because of her actions, she might not be eligible for half of your stuff. I don't know, I am not a lawyer.

## Conclusion

You have asked a social question on a techy site. Pedantically speaking, the question is off-topic, as although the means of the problem is technical, the root is human. Therefore, the only reason I answered is because I am taking a cold and detached analytical solution to the problem. So treat this not as a recommendation but as an exercise of, methodical, aiming-at-being-flawless problem solving, that's all.

• This answer is pretty psychotic. – travisbartley Nov 29 '13 at 6:24
• I laughed too much reading this!! – Fabinout Nov 29 '13 at 10:37
• -1 For an answer essentially escalating the problem. – Jan Doggen Nov 29 '13 at 11:19
• Excellent answer from a social engineering POV – kizzx2 Nov 30 '13 at 5:21
• I logged in just to downvote this answer .. – wim Dec 1 '13 at 1:38

You now have an advantage: you know something, and the other person doesn't know that you know.

The worst thing you can possibly do is reveal that you know.

From now on, if it is not the case already, use the computer in such a way that the gathered surveillance data paints a picture of you as a model human being.

You have the upper hand in the relationship: you're not spying on her. Plus you're secure.

Look at me. I don't know you and don't care who you are or what you do. But do not take my word for it: I show my non-caring attitude by all the little things I do not do, such as installing spying software on your computer. (Unlike, for instance, your spouse).

However, let us not be hasty into coming into conclusions about the source of this interest. One possible reason for gathering surreptitious information in this manner is not insecurity, but rather to build a case for getting away from a person, with half of what they own.

• But what if she knows that he knows that she doesn't know that he knows? – Thomas Nov 28 '13 at 8:15
• We have to go deeper. – Simon Richter Nov 28 '13 at 8:19
• How can a case be built with a keylogger? Isn't it illegal? – BrownEyes Nov 28 '13 at 8:45
• @Thomas then it boils down to who has the superior poker face, basically. – Kaz Nov 28 '13 at 8:47
• You use the illegal keylogger to inform your efforts to collect legal data. E.g, typing "let's meet at the hotel", becomes a reason for the spouse to drive past and "accidentally" see your car parked at the hotel, to drop by at work, or to check for unusual charges on the credit card statements etc. – mgjk Nov 28 '13 at 13:25

TRUST is something which really needs in any relationship. I would emphasize that you love and care your spouse as much you can. bring her to long drive or a candle light dinner and ask her softly that "Honey! did you install SpyWare on our computer?", you can steal the information in this way. As i believe that LOVE can reveal anything. This will also sort out some doubt of your mind too. probably she may not aware about it.

Technically speaking,

• try uninstalling the application from your system. Bute there are some keyLoggers which insist for password which she gave while installing the application.

• If you want your system to be clean, just format your system after taking backup of files you stored in Desktop, Documents, etc..

One thing I would definitely do is install some Keyscrambler software, which is an anti-keylogging application that jumbles up every letter you hit on your keyboard, which results in confusing and unreadable logs to your spouse, without having to deactivate the keylogger which the spouse will definitely notice immediately and start to find excuses to use.

Also for now I would pretend that I have no knowledge of any spyware installed, and remain vigilant to any new spyware your spouse might install, after noticing the scrambled logs made by the keyscrambling software.

You can see how long s/he would log you, then, if you think s/he will not come clean on his/her own, you would give hints that you know what's going on; and eventually have a full conversation about what's going on, and how long you knew of the spyware that was installed.

It's not your computer that needs attention...

...I think that you would know better than anyone in this forum why your spouse would do something like that- and you came here to get sympathy. How would any of us be able to answer your question with any validity since no one here knows the whole situation?

Getting 'revenge' or back at someone who has trust issues is probably the least productive move you could make. Either they have got issues, or you both do. So the solution is simple- if you are guilty, then you should be a decent person and leave them. If you are innocent, then you should either love them and do the right thing (talk to them and give them the good news) or leave them for doing the wrong thing if in fact you never gave them reason to distrust you - if you can't deal with it.

• I seriously doubt any person using this website needs instructions on how to remove a simple keylogger. – Mute Nov 29 '13 at 8:05
• I would say "he may have deserved to have his privacy violated" is on the same spectrum as "she may have deserved to be hit". He's not the wrongdoer in this case - he may have done something wrong - but if so, a keylogger was not the appropriate response from his spouse. – Rob Church Dec 7 '13 at 20:24

## protected by AdiNov 29 '13 at 8:44

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).