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I Think I've Been Hacked, Need Some Advice From the Pros!

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posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:23 AM
First of all, let me state that I generally prefer lurking and hardly ever post, but I find myself in a dilemma and decided to bring my problem to my fellow ATS members to try to get some answers or ideas.

I was on my laptop yesterday when my cat (who likes to lay his head on my keyboard while I'm trying to type) hit a key with his paw that took out my top toolbar and bottom status bar. Rather than try to figure out what he did, I thought just rebooting my computer would resolve the issue. At the logon screen I entered my password, but got the message "user name or password invalid." Tried at least a dozen times, same result.

Needless to say, I am extremely angry and feel violated. I feel like a burglar broke in and locked me out of my own home!
While I certainly am no IT whiz, I thought I was being fairly security conscious and have antivirus and malware software (MS Security Essentials, Advanced System Care and AVG) and also PeerBlock (Sidenote: My OS is Windows 7; I've been wanting to ditch Windows and have read that Linux is more secure, but have been told that it is not at all user-friendly and you really have to know what you're doing, so it looks like I'm stuck with Windows for now).

My roommate is pretty computer savvy and says that I've most likely been hacked and have a key-logger. He won't have time to work on my computer until this weekend, and was kind enough to lend me his spare laptop in the meantime (I would go stark raving mad going more than a day or two without computer access). He says if he can't get into the Bios to turn off or change the password, he will have to completely wipe and reinstall it. I'm really hoping that he doesn't have to wipe it because I will lose a lot of valuable info and research (not to mention videos and pics) that weren't backed up.

Any ideas or suggestions you could offer as to how it happened, why it happened, how can I find out who could have done it (was it just some teenaged hacker out for kicks or something more nefarious?), and how to prevent something like this from happening again would be greatly appreciated.

edit on 2/20/2013 by 1yearning2bfree because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:28 AM
put your cat to sleep.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:32 AM
reply to post by DeadSeraph

Not exactly the solution I was looking for, but thanks for your input.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:35 AM
I very much doubt that you have been hacked. The caps lock isn't on, is it?

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:40 AM
reply to post by SpearMint

My password is both upper and lower case, so I would have noticed if the caps lock was on.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:42 AM
DON'T use the BIOS. It's a windows-username-problem, right? Well, don't touch the bios then.

You should use a tool like Offline Windows Password Editor or something like that. You have to have access to a second pc to download and burn the *.iso-image.

I don't know how the password might have been altered by your cat. It is a more complex number of steps needed to change it than just your cat putting its head on the keyboard.

It is unusual for a virus/trojan/keylogger to change the users password, as that would block the user from starting windows into desktop-mode, effectivily hindering the malware to start up some bigger codes, I guess.

My guess: something went wrong. Not malware.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:58 AM
reply to post by ManFromEurope

Thank you for your intelligent response. I wasn't suggesting that the cat was able to change the password by tapping a key with his paw, but that whatever he did caused my top and bottom toolbars to disappear. I thought that restarting the computer would resolve the toolbar issue, only to discover that I had been locked out.

If it's not due to a hacker as you suggest, how does a password randomly change itself? When I received the "user name or password invalid" message, just below it is the "reset password" option. Upon clicking that, was instructed to insert a USB device which I did. Windows then opened a "Reset Password Wizard" which says that the installed USB needed to contain a reset password template which I didn't have, so I wasn't able to reset it.

Thanks for the link, I am checking it out now...
edit on 2/20/2013 by 1yearning2bfree because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:05 AM
I'm not sure if you use numbers in your name or password.

If you do and if you also have and use the 10-key style keyboard, make sure the num lock is on. My laptop doesn't have a light to show if that is on or not (unlike my old desktop). My cat has managed to hit the num lock button and it took me a few minutes to figure out why in the heck I couldn't log into my email account when I knew I was typing everything correctly.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:21 AM
Download this linux based disk image OP Crack !Burn the image to a CD or DVD, or mount to USB if you know how. Now boot your computer from the disk. Choose Automatic mode when you see the list. When it's finished booting it will automatically run a scan and crack your password for you. Then it will display it. You'll have to be patient if you used mixed case but it does work. Good luck!

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:41 AM
reply to post by cyoshi

I went to the link that you provided, when downloading received the following Microsoft Security Essentials Potential Threat Alert:

HackTool:Win32/Fgdump Alert Level: Medium Status: Active
HackTool:Win64/Fgdump Alert Level: Medium Status: Active

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:47 AM
Working on a laptop is an important consideration. Depending on other settings, the NumLock key could lock a section of your keyboard as numbers, when they would normally be letters. NumLock being active should give a visual indicator on the keyboard.

Otherwise, if your cat activated an alternate character set (international key boards are easy to activate too), you could be typing an accented character (I can't find one on my tablet). This should be visible, and changeable on the login screen itself.

The top and bottom bar, while likely due to button mashing, is likely also a separate issue, as typically F11 or Alt-Enter activates Full-screen mode in applications that support it.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:52 AM
If not Caps Lock or Num Lock, maybe the Fn key?

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 06:08 AM
reply to post by CrikeyMagnet

I just checked again to make sure, but it is not the CapsLock, NumLock or FN keys; still not recognizing my password.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 06:18 AM
BTW: Do you have any other account on that computer? Are you using the admin-account, only that one?

And, just for the kicks of asking: did your cat maybe DESTROY your keyboard? Like, getting some hair into it? Can you verify that for every key you press, there is only one "x" on the screen? Yes, I am just guessing

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 06:37 AM
reply to post by ManFromEurope

I do have a "guest" account set up, but it is turned off so that it defaults to the admin automatically.

As far as the keyboard is concerned, I don't think it's an issue of cat hair as I've owned the computer for less than 2 months.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 07:45 AM
see if you can borrow a keyboard with a USB connection.
edit on 20-2-2013 by Rikku because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 08:59 AM
reply to post by 1yearning2bfree

2 of my favorite options when i deal with problems like that:

a)System restore

Follow option 2 "Restore at boot"


If system restore won't work then format is the best option.It wipes out every trace of key logger and virus.After the format make sure that you change your log in password.

Good luck

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 09:01 AM
Please post your operating system.. (Windows XP, Vista, 7) Edit: Oops, somehow missed in your OP.

Depending, there are workarounds to logging in.

Most likely, as said, your cat hit F11, but it would not mess with anything to do with user credentials.
edit on 20-2-2013 by AsarAlubat because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 09:11 AM
You might try this link.

posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 10:46 AM
reply to post by 1yearning2bfree

Oh my, yes it is a hack tool and yes MS security essentials won't like's harmless to your machine though and it works if you want to solve your problem. OP Crack hosted by source forge for the benefit of new readers.

I posted you the application in error.....this is the page for the live CD. If nothing works for you then this will.

Good luck.

edit on 20-2-2013 by cyoshi because: Spelling correction.

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