View Full Version : Computer Help

mike thomas
11-29-2003, 12:46 AM
I need help. Someone got into my computer and used Internet Explorer. When they were done, they erased the history. I have no idea where they went or what they viewed. Is there any other way, besides History, to figure out where they went. Knowing who it was, I am afraid of what they might have gotten into and left me holding the ball.
Thanks, Mike

11-29-2003, 02:59 AM
Open My Computer. Find C drive icon and double click. Find the Windows folder. Find the Temporary Internet Files folder. Start browsing through there. You will see many, many files. Sort by date to find the recent ones.

If you are just interested in erasing tracks then open IE and select Tools, Internet Options and select Delete cookies. Then select Delete Files and make sure to check Delete all Offline Content. It make take a few minutes but that will clear the real history.

Better yet, go to Microsoft and download Tweak UI for your system. It installs to control panel and has a "Paranoia" section that allows you to easily clear everything you like. Just use Google to search for Tweak UI (plus your operating system), such as XP as the search terms.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 11-29-2003).]

11-29-2003, 04:34 AM
You may be able to restore the temp files and the cookies if they haven't been over-written yet. You might go to "help" and look for "restore deleted files". Worth a try.


mike thomas
11-29-2003, 01:42 PM
Guys, I took out the cookies last night. What I do not know is whether or not pop-ups give you cookies. I think not unless you go to the site. Can one of you tell me?
I have worked for one of the major phone companies 27 years. I have installed the first dial-up modems for the ISP's through the fiber they are using today. I have a fairly good grasp of the process used to catch the kiddie porn people, and from the cookies, should be nervous.
The wife and I had to go out of town yesterday, and the kid had some of his buddies over. They could not use my ISP, but they went to one of the other kid's parents ISP through dial-up. I can wipe the computer as best I can, and play stupid, but that still leaves the deceit ect. to be dealt with.
I am getting denials about whether or not they actually went to the sites. I call BS on that, but as I said, I do not know if pop-ups leave cookies. Mike

11-29-2003, 02:09 PM
According to my brother who is a programmer, computer science instructor, and software developer, the ISP has a record of the internet activity on the account the kids used. However, it will show that it was your computer that was logged on to the account. You're not out of the woods even if you clean up your computer.

Ain't that the pits?


11-29-2003, 02:19 PM
Cookies may be left by any web site you visit if cookies are enabled in your web browser. They may be produced at any time by a web site. A pop up window is just another Internet Explorer (or other browser) window. When a web page calls up another window the programmer may specify what controls and toolbars will be presented, all, some or none. All cookies are stored in the temporary internet files folder and on older versions of windows a folder named "cookies". Using the Delete Cookies function will get rid of them.

To expressly answer your question, yes, a popup window may leave a cookie. Any IE window may leave a cookie. Pop up windows are a part of how javascript works and are not a "feature" of IE. They can be invoked in any web browser. If you would like more control over popups go to www.mozilla.org (http://www.mozilla.org) and download firebird 0.7 and install it. It works better than IE and has none of the many unpatched vulnerabilities that IE has. It also allows you to disable popups or enable them on a site by site basis as some sites depend on them.

What is a cookie? A cookie is a small text file sent to your machine by a web server when you visit a web page. It contains information that the website uses to do a variety of things. A cookie does not personally identify you in some mysterious way. It can only contain information known to the web site.

Cookies have several features and uses. They are time limited. The time limit to expiry is set by the web site and can be minutes to years. An example of how a cookie may be used is online banking. When you visit the bank website and log in the server sends a cookie to your computer with a session ID in it. As you navigate around the site each web page requests that cookie be sent back to the server so the server can verfiy that you are the same user that logged in by examining the session ID. The cookie is updated to reflect what page you are on and sent back to your computer. When you log off the cookie is "expired". If you fail to log off the cookie will automatically expire within some short time limit.

Cookies can also be used to "remember" customizations and preferences that you make when visiting a web site. The next time you visit, the server requests the cookie relevant to that site and uses the information in the cookie to present the site in the form you have chosen.

Pretty well the most incriminating information that a cookie may contain is the address of the web site itself. The only other information relating to the use of the computer that may be contained in a cookie is where and what you did at that web site. Cookies are also fairly limited in size to a maximum of 4K bytes.

11-29-2003, 02:37 PM
The web server for a particular site keeps logs of what IP addresses visit a particular site on that server but there is no requirement for an ISP to log anything that passes through thier routers and they don't. The amount of information that would generate would be mind boggling and is not practical. There isn't any requirement for a web hoster to keep server logs either unless ordered to by a court order in a federal investigation. The only information logged by an ISP is who is on what IP address assigned by the ISP, not what they did on the web and not what IP addresses they visited.

There is a BIG difference between an ISP and someone who provides web hosting for web sites. I provide web hosting but am NOT an ISP. Many businesses provide both services but the two services are separate and distinct.

You might be suprised what information can be deduced from a server log (NOT the ISP log). When you view one of the pictures that I post on this BBS I then know your IP address. From that I can determine who your ISP is. I know what country you are in and can usually narrow it down much further. I know what web browser you use and what version. If you followed a link to get to my site then I know what site you were at before. If you use a search engine to find my site I know which one you used and what search terms you used. I know what pages you visit on my site and how long you spend on each one. I also know what operating system you are using and what version, both of the operating system and of the browser. I can tell if you are using a MAC or a Windows PC. I know exactly what files you have viewed and what files you have downloaded.

One small item: The ISP log also keeps track of the amount of data passed as well as time and duration of the connection for a dialup. This is for billing purposes.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 11-29-2003).]

John Stevenson
11-29-2003, 02:42 PM
OK then Evan.
What colour shorts am I wearing ??

John S.

11-29-2003, 02:54 PM
White boxers with cute little Disney characters on them...