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Someone Else's Files Saved On Our Computer?!

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#1 kbmb


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Posted 27 October 2006 - 01:17 PM

OK, I know enough to get me around in the computer world, so please forgive me if I'm slow...

Last night my husband was doing some computer 'housekeeping' and making some space by getting rid of old files and burning things onto discs. He ran across a file folder marked 'nethood' and when he opened it there were at least a dozen more file folders with names like 'don and deb', 'laurie's stuff', 'lonnie', etc... They're totally not ours! He opened and looked into each one and 95% of them are seemingly harmless things (like pictures and word documents). Weird thing is that at least some of them look like they're local people. (For instance we've been getting phone calls for a local artist ever since we moved here 4 years ago that apparently had our phone number before we did. His name is Don, his wife is Deb, and they have at least one child named Jessie or Jessica. The folder named Don and Deb was FULL of pictures that look like they were taken locally, and some school papers by 'Jessie' - weird. There was also another folder that had a word doc with a list of coworkers and we could tell it was a local business here. We live in a community of 600 people that are most retired! How could all these folders be from local people?)

Anyway, my husband spent a good chunk of time going to each folder and 'deleting' access to the 'network'. How can we even have a network in the first place? We have fiber optic internet (kind of similar to DSL/high speed) and from my understanding it's always 'on'. But we don't' have a wireless hub or anything. I know we don't have a hardware firewall (and I don't think we have a software firewall), but how could all these seemingly 'local' people decide to use our computer to store their useless info?

Also, I noticed about a year ago that that every now and then we would have printers added to our computer. We didn't recognize them so we would delete them (they would have names like dondeb or dizzy1100), but new ones would appear occasionally.

Is this just a firewall issue (I'm already planning to drive the hour long trip to a 'real' town so I can buy a firewall)? (I read the firewall tutorial-awesome and THANKS!) Is this a normal thing to have happen? My husband also made copies of the files so we can 'track these people down' - but whan can we do? We noticed in the properties of one of the files that it had been modified 10 minutes before we found the files, but my husband was on the computer at the time and surfing, didn't even know that it was happening.

What can you tell me?

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#2 acklan


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Posted 29 October 2006 - 01:53 AM

First of all there are several excellent freeware firewall programs, unless you just have your heart set on spending money.
About the mysterious files. back in '97 when i was beta testing a cable internet service, they had forgot to secure the local access. everyone on our sevice could see and access each other. If you are familar with '98 you can see what kind of nightmare that was. The point of all of this is you should be in contact with your ISP. See if they are aware of the problem. ssecond install one of the freeware firewalls until you can purchase the one you want. That will "Close the tap".
Go to start, then My Network Places. On the left side of the window, haft way down, is a button "Entire Network". Click on it. It will show you everyone who has access to your computer.
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