A very frustrated woman brought the family computer to International Investigators because she was convinced spyware had been installed on it. Our computer forensic investigator began the spyware detector process. In this instance, the analyst started with the open ports and he did indeed find something, but it wasn’t spyware.

He found a Trojan, which is an application that can open a port like a remote desktop – and it does it without your permission. Malware like Trojans can crash the computer or send you advertisements. It’s not necessarily spying on you – but it does make your online life miserable. This Trojan was causing the problems she was having and once removed, she was good to go.

On occasion we discover that people do things on their phones like create flags for a shared family plan and it makes the phone or computer tablet do things that they don’t expect. So they are scared that spyware has been installed. That’s when they contact us.

Fixing this sort of problem is not the purpose of a computer forensic investigation and doesn’t require the expertise of a computer forensic specialist. A forensic investigator would be skilled at detection and spyware removal rather than Trojan, virus or bug fixes.

However, even with that being said, users do need to be aware that transferring contacts, videos and pictures can also transfer malware or spyware. Although it might not be an exciting prospect, entering contact manually one by one could solve that issue. Two perks: One, you might not find yourself calling a computer forensics specialist and two; you have the opportunity to clean out that list of contacts!

Spyware gets on a computer usually with inadvertent permission. And with so many people using computers and the Internet on the job, that opens up company computers, networks and servers to spyware, too. Many organizations are hiring a computer forensics consultant to help develop a plan to complete computer forensic services on a regular basis to forestall damage – to the technology, the security of the company and to maintain confidential records.

Computer forensics firms like International Investigators work mostly with attorneys and corporate leaders when there is concern about the activities of computer users or when spyware is suspected in industrial espionage.

However, our goal is to uncover the truth and that means we are anti-spyware – on computers for personal use as well as those used professionally.

-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators