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Thread: Intercepted Emails

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  1. #1
    WebProWorld MVP chandrika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Question Intercepted Emails

    Some months back I posted here about a new neighbour who had asked for my wireless key just until he had sorted out his internet conection.

    I secured my hard drive, but I wanted to ask, how easy would it be for someone who has your WAP key for wireless, to intercept emails. The person I think may have done such, does have a computer science degree, so if something is possible it may not be too difficult for him.

    I have actually changed my wap key now, as it became obvious that he had info on me that I had never told him, it got really weird.

    I am trying to work out how he got it, I am pretty sure my hard drive was secure, and my laptop is wired to the router not on wireless, but I am wondering could he have intercepted emails and if so how difficult would it have been, as I can not imagine he would have gone to alot of trouble to do so, but if it is fairly easy he may have done so just because he had nothing better to do...

  2. #2

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    It'd be worrisome if you are using POP3 (port 25) or IMAP (port 143) but it'd be much more likely that he was intercepting unencrypted chat if you are a webmail (i.e. Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo) user.

    When you gave him your WAP key you also gave him free reign to launch attacks against your home computer (particularly problematic if you are running behind on operating system updates).

    You may want to have a talk with the police if you feel there is any cause for concern with your neighbor.
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  3. #3

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    E-mail is downloaded unencrypted, so in theory, someone with a sniffer (utility that records wireless traffic) could probably record your e-mails. It is unlikely however... if it was me, I would use the sniffer to record your login credentials for the e-mail server, as this is sent unencrypted. I could then log in to the e-mail server and check your e-mails without you being able to tell.

    Just a suggestion, but you might want to change your e-mail password, and any other usernames and passwords you use that could be submitted unencrypted, such as FTP passwords.

    Also, do not rely on the security of your encrypted wireless connection. If this person has shown that they are targeting you specifically, as opposed to looking for a target of opportunity to leech a wireless net connection from, it is likely they will be able to break your wireless encryption fairly quickly. 104-bit WEP can often be broken in under five minutes of traffic monitoring. Go for the highest level of encryption supported by all of your wireless devices, and use a wired connection for any sensitive traffic.

    Also, to further protect your e-mail specifically, check with your mail provider to find out if they offer secure SMTP, which allows you to encrypt your login credentials when downloading your e-mail.

    And, if you have file sharing over your wireless network, you may also want to run anti-virus scans on your entire network to look for keyloggers and backdoors that might provide access to your network over the wired connection.
    The best way to learn anything, is to question everything.
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  4. #4

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    I think it totally depends on your hosting provider,if you are using pop3 accounts,its better to consult with them.However there can not be issues with hotmail,gmail etc.


  5. #5

    Re: Intercepted Emails


    Please keep us updated... Do you have conversations with him when you see him out?? What kind of details did he have that you never told him? Have you called the police or will you consider it!?

    As you can see I don't have a lot of answers but I do have a lot of questions as I am using a wireless connection on my laptop...

    I do agree wige; change passwords , user ids, ect..

  6. #6
    WebProWorld MVP chandrika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    I will change all my passwords for emails, I was also worried what he may possibly have been able to install, although I am pretty certain he couldnt have accessed my hard drive, nevertheless I have started running Spy Protector which should block any keyloggers and recorders, just in case. I actually feel like backing up, wiping the hard drive and reinstalling windows + added wireless protection.

    I realised after a few conversations that something was odd, but I put it down to coincidence. There were a couple of things, such as I had made a joke to someone and he repeated same joke almost verbatim to me, I actually said to him, thats odd I told that joke earlier and he said oh really, what a coincidence and I just kept putting things down to coincidence. A few things like that occurred and when he said such things, it was out the norm, as if he were thinking and then he would come out and say something odd, that seemed more than coincidence.

    He seemed to know my interests, which was odd, he would out the blue state how he liked this and that, such as I have been arranging to visit a stand up comedy open mic night and he mentioned that he wanted to do that, even though I had not mentioned it, again I put down to coinciedne, he could just have same interests.

    I only had suspicions, but became 99.99% sure after a specific thing, which was that I had a operation some months ago. I had definitely not mentioned anything about it to him, as it was before he had moved in, and he asked me about it and whether the wound had healed, which only one person who could have known that I even had a wound that I was worried about was my brother who I had emailed to let him know what was happening.

    There have actually been quite a few odd occurences and odd things he says, so I now just avoid him, but I could kick myself for giving him access in first place.

    When I changed the wap key, I heard him downstairs, he started crashing around in angry fashion, and then he came up to my flat which I was expecting, but I expected him to ask why internet had gone off, but he didnt, he just came up and started making weird lewd comments and at this point he freaked me out so much I asked him to leave, which he did.

    I am just surprised he would have even bothered to do that, but fact that he did, I now have to be really careful, as like Wige says, he could easily break my new key, and to have someone specifically targetting me, as Wige says, means extra care needs to be taken.

    I have thought of going to the police, but I do not think they will do anything, as I can not really prove it as it will be my word against his.

  7. #7

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    Quote Originally Posted by chandrika View Post
    When I changed the wap key, I heard him downstairs, he started crashing around in angry fashion, and then he came up to my flat which I was expecting, but I expected him to ask why internet had gone off, but he didnt, he just came up and started making weird lewd comments and at this point he freaked me out so much I asked him to leave, which he did.

    I have thought of going to the police, but I do not think they will do anything, as I can not really prove it as it will be my word against his.
    Ok, reading this thread has really freaked me out. In todays world you cannot be too careful and if you are a woman living alone and have a guy like that living below you having shown his colors so to speak now is the time to be critically careful. After all how much do you really know about this guy and how far he might decide to go. I might even think about moving but at the least it is time to be very security conscious. Also you mention a spyblocker but make certain you have a very good virus scanner and firewall and is all up to date. But look beyond your computer security to your home security. Now might be the time for a big dog. Just a thought.

  8. #8

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    Hi Chandrika, I'm not trying to worry you even more .... but maybe I should; you are far too open. I thought long and hard before posting this but I do think you need to be very careful. You are telling the world *FAR* too much about yourself ... all online .... including here in this very forum. Photo, location, fairly unusual name (easily searchable therefore, I would have thought) now very personal info too, which some freaks out there (including the nutter you gave the WAP key to) might take an unnatural interest in finding. You gotta be more careful and I don't mean just with the WAP key. I would hope that you don't show completely accurate info, for example, on your profile and biog pages, contact info in links in your signature etc. Sorry to compound your worry but you're giving away far too much info online in my humble opinion.

    Some credentials for you .... I did this series of large and comprehensive safety manuals for the UK police for use in schools etc here in the UK although I don't want to scare you even more by telling you any more specifics (it was regrettably related to and instigated by a well-known case) ... including large sections about online safety etc. Be careful please. When someone innocently asks for more info including things like the specifics of this WAP thing ..... think twice about telling [the world] any info about yourself like you've done here. Sorry if this worries you even more but you young ladies generally need to wake up a bit to the potential dangers of some of the stuff you're publishing online ... for just about anyone to see. Of course none of this is your own fault .... it's the fault of the few nutters out there that we even need to think this way.

    But, if I were you, I WOULD tell the police about this guy. If it were my daughter I'd have her out of there pronto, and into a new place. Better safe than sorry. That WAP key guy has an unnatural interest; there seems little doubt of that. But if nothing else .... please generally give MUCH less personal info to the world e.g. on forums, facebook, in signatures, profiles, blogs etc. I'd even think about editing your post about the coincidences a bit (to take out the specific personal info) .... MOD is that possible?

  9. #9

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    Geez Chandrika - that would freak me right you have any 'big' friends you can invite that may be intimidating? Sad that one has to be so careful these days, even when just trying to help...
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  10. #10

    Re: Intercepted Emails

    Don't know about the UK, but privacy regarding medical issues is a big deal stateside. That alone might be enough to at least contact the authorities. Bringing up knowledge of your operation could be a very big mistake on his part.
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