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Computer Wrecking Relationship with Mom


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#1
Ska93

Ska93

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I'm not sure where to start -- well my mother and step father were in an abusive relationship for a long time, and he mainly worked in restaurant POS systems. However, he was also into a lot of shady things like keyloggers, "hacking", remote access programs that ran hidden in the background, etc. He put my mom through a lot of mental anguish between changing her passwords to her emails, keylogging, impersonating people she knew with fake emails, just being a stalker in general.

Fast forward to about a year ago, he gets put in jail for stealing CC #'s from the restaurants machines and gets charged with embezzlement and some sort of hacking charges.

Now, my mother and I have not lived with him for 2 years or so. About 5-7 months ago, she decides to purchase a new Dell laptop. Everything works great at first, until up to about 3-4 months ago. She began to think people are hacking into her computer, that someone had put up all fake Dell websites when her programs hot linked to their website (what made her think they were phished? The bottom of some company pages would say copyright 200x or 2010, when it was 2011), began to notice programs that she didn't install (except she did, but didn't un-check the boxes while installing another program, so automatically she assumes its a hacker).

Whenever something would 'change' or something 'looked different' or some feature wasn't working (such as wireless internet, webcam, etc...) a hacker was to blame. Now, I consider myself very knowledgeable in computer basics... but you know how other people think your some amazing computer whiz just because you know how to do simple networking but in reality it's them who know absolutely nothing? Yeah, frustrating.

Meanwhile, I genuinely look over every one of these claims and spend countless hours checking her computer for problems that didn't exist, run multiple virus scans with programs such as AVG, Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D, and Norton. When something DID come up in the scans, it was always ad-ware or cookies something silly like that. She still wasn't happy, so I told her to order restore CD's and that would erase everything on her computer and bring it back to factory settings. She was really happy for about a month there until her computer was getting way over cluttered with links, shortcuts, programs, and just a very messy unorganized computer. Right about this time, the old claims of problems would raise again, and apparently one day Google deleted her GMail account.

Oh god did I hear about this for weeks about how we're being watched and someones in her computer, stealing her info, passwords, stalking her, etc. Note, I'm still doing weekly virus scans every once in a while at this point.

Eventually, I got very tired of hearing about imaginary people hacking her computer and told her I cannot look over her computer anymore, it has to end, I was being driven crazy and this is all she talked/thought about all day. She got pissed and took it to a computer professional who apparently didn't have time to look over it that day but would look over it next time for her for free (guess who never went back?). At this point she was convinced all of her info was compromised and 'they' were into everything (she doesn't even use online banking or put in debit info online to begin with). Next round up she phones the police saying somebody's hacking into her computer, and they never followed up on that (it's been a month or two).

Guess who the next scapegoat is? Me, yes me. One day 2 weeks ago a key-logger was found during one of her virus scans. She brings it to me and I say yes, your right somebody is hacking you. I tell her to just delete it and change all of her passwords after that's done and a reboot. She now yells at me with profanity, calling me all sorts of names, starts crying, threatening me... I try my best to ignore her, until she accuses me of putting a key-logger on her computer and now I'm the hacker.

Honestly, I've been trying very hard to stay away from her computer and her issues. Now I'm being accused and treated like [bleep], yelled at every day, called an [bleep], [bleep], piece of [bleep], basically just looked down on like dirt. All I've ever done was try to help my mom, but now I've turned into this persona of her abusive ex-husband.

A couple of days ago, her computer black screened with fatal errors -- karma, karma karma... -- and of course I'm to blame because apparently I put a virus/spyware on her computer that made this happen .I wasn't even home the week this happened, I was away at my grandmothers for a while. Now I'm back at my moms house and she's actually starting to make me feel like I'm some evil son of a [bleep] even though I've not done one thing to her laptop... I wouldn't even know where to start with making or sending a virus and would never do that anyone anyway, I'm a very honest person; it can't be helped though I guess.

I offer to fix her computer but she won't even let me look at it or fix it in front of her because she doesn't trust me.

Can someone help me here? I'm tired of being treated like [bleep] every day and don't know how I can prove my innocence and just go on with day to day life without hearing about her computer.
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#2
sari

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I'm very sorry to hear what you've been put through. For obvious reasons, your mother has issues with trusting people, and unfortunately her paranoia is now directed at you. While better understanding of PCs in general, and security more specifically, would certainly benefit her, it's gotten to the point where you are not the person to provide this information to her. We are not psychologists or counselors here, just a bunch of computer geeks who like to help people. While I wish I had an answer for you, I think that your mother needs more help than we can provide here, including counseling to help her with her trust and paranoia issues. Maybe you could find some local classes she could take that would help her become more comfortable with the computer, while also teaching her some basic security lessons, such as avoiding installing unknown programs, clicking on every link she sees, etc. That would at least give her another outlet for her questions, and maybe hearing the responses from someone else would help her understand things better. I wish you luck. If you have some specific technical questions that we could help answer for you, please feel free to start another topic in the appropriate forum, such as Applications, if it's about a program, or the Windows forum for her operating system. We would also be more than happy to help review her PC for malware, if you could get her to follow this link and start a topic in this forum. One of us could take an in-depth look at what's running and determine if there is any malware, and we could also make suggestions for keeping her PC more secure.

I wish you luck, and as I said, please feel free to ask for any technical help that we can provide.
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