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Yesterday, I woke my computer up from sleep mode (it had been on all day while I was at work). And my browser was open to an email account that was not mine.

Is it possible that someone hacked my WiFi and then used my computer to visit websites on my computer?

If it is, is there a way to detect when someone had access to my WiFi (were he didn't belong to be) and is there a way to detect if they had access to my computer?

Is this is something that would be relatively easy to do, or would only really experienced hackers be able to do so? Also, would they have to be physically near my house?

  • Hacking your WiFi connection and hacking an operating system are two very different things, in my opinion. You might want to ask more specific questions. – Asak Apr 22 '14 at 12:29
  • Whose was the e-mail account? Surely your answer's right there!? – user81147 May 23 '16 at 8:20
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Is it possible to hack your WiFi and then use your computer?

Possible, yes. Likely, no. To be able to 'use' your computer remotely, they would need to have some kind of shell access, use that to open a browser and check their email. Not something you would expect a hacker to do.

Is it possible to see if someone had access to your WiFi?

Yes, depending on your router, there should be some kind of log, showing which mac addresses have been connected. They would have to be in range of your WiFi to do this.

Is this easy to do?

Hacking WiFi is pretty easy and straight forward, if you use a WEP password, it's very easy, using a WPA makes it a bit harder: It will take longer, but it's not impossible.

Gaining access to your computer is a bit harder; they would have to make you click a link to gain access, or use another method, requiring more knowledge.

I really don't think that this is the case here, though. Sounds like someone had physical access to your computer and forgot to log out.

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Did anyone else have physical access to your computer? While it is technically possible for someone else to access your wifi and then to hack in to your computer, there is no good reason for them to do so just to use the web.

If the attacker had actually broken in to your Wifi, there would be no reason to need to use your computer unless they wanted information that is only on it. They could directly access whatever site they wanted and it would appear to come from your network, it wouldn't matter in the slightest which computer they used.

It is also far harder to break in to a computer remotely unless you have no password set on it and allow for remote desktop connections without a password (not on by default). Wifi is relatively easy to break in to, but computers themselves are pretty hard to get in to unless you've done things to make it easier.

  • Thanks. My husband does have access to the computer, but said it wasn't his account. We never set the laptop up for remote access, so It sounds like it would be difficult to access the actual computer. – Alicia Apr 22 '14 at 13:32
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Hacking wifi is not that difficult if you have the right tools. If someone does this, he probably wants to use your ip address, to send spam or to hack another site or server. I don't think hacking wifi and then hacking your computer is a logical combination.

Hacking your computer is another thing and more likely. I guess a rootkit or virus or malware could be the cause of your problem.

But - if your computer was in sleeping mode, how could it be used by someone else? Is it possible to activate the computer remotely?

  • I haven't set my computer up to be accessed remotely. My husband said he did a virus scan and found malware and then he threw the laptop away. :( so I'm not really sure what is going on. – Alicia Apr 22 '14 at 13:28
  • How could malware open an email account on your computer? – Alicia Apr 23 '14 at 1:05
  • It could, but I don't see the point. Next time this happens, make screenshots. I don't know how good your technical computer skills are, but I've seen many situations where people describe something that is something completely different when I take a look at it. Are you sure that nobody used the computer like a friend, even if you didn't know the name of the email account - which can use a fake name? – SPRBRN Apr 23 '14 at 7:37
  • I took a picture with my camera phone of the email account, since strangely enough my printer wasn't working. And yes, it is possible that someone used the computer and logged into the account and then simply forgot to log out. – Alicia Apr 23 '14 at 13:09
  • Well then - lock your computer if you leave it unattended: log out, shutdown, or use a screensaver that locks the screen and requires a password to unlock. And use a password! If you use autologin someone can shutdown and restart your computer and do anything... – SPRBRN Apr 23 '14 at 13:17

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