Stop my son from hacking his laptop and see what he is doing online(14 Posts)
Hi everyone I need serious help with trying to control my teen sons laptop use. We bought him a windows 8 laptop at christmas for doing home work and chatting to his cousins who live abroad on skype. Before he was using the family computer and we had never had any problems before with his computer use that we know of aside from spending a little too much time online but he is doing well in school and has never given us any cause to suspect anything malicious was going on.
We have parental controls and time restrictions set up on the router to only allow internet access from his laptop at certain times and net nanny software on the laptop but recently he has become withdrawn and we think he is spending time online late into the early hours and is somehow bypassing the security settings. His laptop account is a limited account which is not administrator but when we logged into his username (we have the password) it looked like the account had never been used because there were no new programs installed and there was no internet history or recent documents but there. When we logged in to the administrator account it looked like he had been using that as there were lots of programs installed we didn't recognise and the internet history had lots of searches about something called ubuntu linux which we think is a hacking tool he has been using to hack into the admin password. We have talked to him about it and he says he is just using it for chatting to his cousins and doing home work and he doesnt know anything about the administrator account. We noticed that the laptop also connected automatically to the neighbors wifi instead of ours but he won't tell us why thats happening or how he got the password but he says computers do this sometimes and its by accident. We changed the password to a very long password he would not know but he is somehow able to make the computer go into the ubuntu linux hacking tool from a USB stick he kept in his room and reset the administrator password because my husband saw him inserting the USB stick into the laptop and the ubuntu hacking tool came up on the screen when he switched it on.
We confiscated the USB stick and my husband put it into the family computer and turned it on to see what it did and it asks for an encryption passphrase when you turn it on and my son wont tell us anything about it or what he has been using it for and denies that it is his but we are concerned he might be doing something terrible on the internet and he is hiding it from us. We have confiscated the laptop and USB stick and we took it to a local PC repair shop but they said they can't access anything on the stick because it is encrypted but his restricted user account had never been logged in to apart from once which was when we logged in! We think he might have been doing this trick with the family computer too and but he denies everything so we have banned him from accessing the internet for now by unplugging the router and making sure he isnt on the neighbors wifi from the family computer.
Does anyone know how to stop this ubunu linux hacking tool from working on our computers and is there any better software for spying on his internet use without him knowing?
Linux is an operating system. So he's essentially starting the computer into a different operating system using the USB stick, so nothing on your operating system will affect him.
How old is he?
It could be that your neighbours wifi isn't secured, and he is using that, particularly if you restrict the times he can access your wifi. (yes, some people are daft enough to leave their wifi open). Or he may have cracked their password.
Linux is not a hacking tool. It's an operating stystem, like Windows. He's using a clever workaround, but not a hack. I'm actually quite impressed at the inventiveness
To be honest, if he came up with that and you don't know about linux (and I say that without judgment, many people don't nor do they need to), I'm not convinced you're going to stop him with technology and you may simply have to go for oldfashioned supervision and/or removal of internet capable devices. How old is he? Does he actually need his internet use spied on and heavily restricted? I'm not saying you're wrong to do it, especially not knowing how old he is, but maybe you could work something out where he gets to do the things he wants online, whatever they are, and you keep some oversight? Talk to him.
I agree with those saying he's smart. I don't know how to stop him, though. Most removing his devices. Not what you want to hear for now but I hope he ends up with a well paid career in IT!
I meant apart from removing his devices. Not sure what went on with autocorrect there!
Ubuntu Linus is great I have used it for years since 2004. I never use Windows. It is much safer than Windows and it IS NOT A HACKING TOOL. Look at Ubuntu.com for more information.
Also quite impressed by his work around but appreciate it must be hard to be the parent. Ultimately sounds like he is very computer savvy so will find a way round whatever restrictions you put in place.
I suspect you need to have a very open talk - you'll give him more freedom if he is totally honest and shows what he has been doing on line, and if he agrees to time limits. He breaks the agreement, you take away the devices.
He breaks the agreement, you take away the devices.
I'd go along with that. Making use of Linux as a "bypass Windows" method is neat, and kudos to him for that, but fully understand your concerns.
He probably has a proxy to bypass the parental controls. My ds had one set up by 10 or 11. The one and only way to limit his computer/internet use is to confiscate the physical computer. I have similar issues with my ds (combined with other more serious issues) and I no longer allow him to use the computer unsupervised. That means that the computer (and smart phone if he has one) gets handed in several hours before bedtime (to give him time to slow down) and it stays in your room under your supervision until the next day. Please don't fool yourself into thinking that any controls you put on the internet will stop him in any way....from the description you've given, he's far more internet/tech savvy than you can ever hope to be and you will not be able to limit his activities in that way.
First of all have a word with your neighbour and tell them you noticed their router was unsecured and that someone could hack into their system this way. Suggest they secure it lest someone uses their router to access stuff they wouldn't want to be associated with. Secondly when you go to bed shut your router down, software can always be beaten, no power - not so much.
You could disable usb (and cd, because Ubuntu can run from that too) booting in the laptop BIOS then put a password on the bios itself so that he can't over-ride the boot order. Make sure you don't forget the password though because most modern laptops need opening up and soldering if the bios password is forgotten!
There are a lot of things you can do to lock down a windows operating system, but you do need to be fairly technical. I work in IT and used to work in a college. I swear, if the kids had put as much effort into their coursework as they did into trying to get round the restrictions on the computers, we'd have had the best pass rates in the country!!
I think I'd be having a little look at your relationship with your son as well. Basically, he's been lying to you - probably big time - because he thinks/knows he can get away with it. Not so good.
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