How Do I Detect Remote Access on My Computer?

Wireless computer mouse image by Dmitry Goygel-Sokol from

If someone has remote access to your computer this can be the difference between keeping any information private and having someone use it to steal your identity. Someone with remote access can also prevent you from using your computer when they are using it. Detecting remote access is not always easy but it is possible once you know what to look for.

Look for instances where your cursor seems to have a life of its own. One sign is if it seems a phantom mouse is moving around your cursor. Another is if programs seem to open on their own without any selection by you.

Look for instances where your screen locks up. Windows XP has a built-in remote desktop. If someone uses it to connect to your computer it will lock up your screen.

Go to the "Start" menu and select "All Programs." Look for programs such as NC, TightVNC, RealVNC, LogMeIn, UltraVNC or GoToMyPC. These programs make it possible for anyone to access your computer without your knowledge.

Go to your task bar on the far bottom right of your screen and check all the icons there. If you find an icon that you are not familiar with, it may be a remote access program running in the background.

Click on "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Delete" at the same time. This will bring up the Windows Task Manager. Click on the "Processes" tab. Look at the "User Name" column for each process. The only names that should be there are your name, System, Network Service and Local Service. If any other name is there someone else is accessing your computer.

Check for open ports. You can do this by going to "Start," "Control Panel" and then "Windows Firewall." Double-click on the "Exceptions" tab. This will open a window that has a list of programs with check boxes next to them. Look through the list and see if NC, TightVNC, RealVNC, LogMeIn, UltraVNC or GoToMyPC are listed. If one of these or a similar program is listed with a check mark next to it, then your computer is being accessed.

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