Unauthorised logon to the 'net


Covenant

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A bizarre problem this - and I'm not sure if it shouldn't have gone into the spyware section.
My PC illiterate friend aquired a secondhand computer from someone in his village, with software all loaded on and ready to go. All he wanted to do with it was get used to using the internet via the 56k modem and a PAYG account before investing in a new box and broadband.
He went on holiday for 2 weeks leaving the house empty, and when he returned, carried on using the computer .... until his BT phone bill arrived.
It appeared that the computer had twice started up and connected to the net during his absence - once for 98 hours and the other time for 60 hours resulting in a bill for over £200. It didn't dial up a porn site or any £1 a minute lines (thank goodness!) but just sat there for all those hours connected to his ISP home page both times until it disconnected.
BT are insisting the bill has to be paid and it appears as if my friend will have to cough up, but it would be interesting to find out;

  • how could the computer start up and switch off by itself ?
  • how could it connect and disconnect from the net unaided ?
I can imagine power surges stating the PC going, but the internet bit has me stumped. !! :confused:

Covenant.

PS. The machine, by the way, has been thrown into the nearest skip.
 
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muckshifter

I'm not weird, I'm a limited edition.
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The machine, by the way, has been thrown into the nearest skip.
Shame, now we cannot 'test' it ... All you had to do was unplug it from the wall. No power, no workie. ;)

A PC plugged into the mains is always on, even when you shut it down.

The BIOS can tell the modem to "wake up" and answer the phone, especially if FAX software is used.

There is settings to 'disconnect' when no longer needed and software to shut down a PC unattended.


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that is a real shame

you should have kept the pc and sent it out to pcreview HQ

there are some settings like sir mucks stated
but prob the most important one he said is one that can disconnect if the pc is idle for more than 5 mins

ie if there is no activity for more than 5 mins then the internet would get disconnected
funny how i remember that because back in the days I would connect to the internet go grab a drink and by the time i got back it would have disconnected

it was damn annoying
but unfortunetly it seems for your friend this did not happen..


p.s get back to that skip!
 
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Covenant

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Unfortunately I only became involved with all this after the PC was dumped. which is when I phoned Virgin.net on behalf of my friend to try and find out what happened when the machine had dialled out.
I know there are settings to turn of the internet connection, but £200s worth of sadly, my friend didn't.
What really puzzled me though was how the machine switched on by itself and then dialled out.
I've had machines in the past switch on by themselves during power surges such as electrical storms but I came to the same conclusion as Mucks that some fax software sprang into operation. The machine was owned originally by someone running a business from home and it's possible someone sent a fax to a wrong number.

The machine was taken to a local dump and believe me I would have been straight down the skip but nowadays because of local re-cycling initiatives no one is allowed to buy anything from there anymore - shame really 'cause I've had some good stuff from there in the past!

Thanks for your replies.

Covenant
 

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