How is my boyfriend reading my email?

karen January 4, 2012
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Unfortunately, I don’t know much about his set-up. He has a PC. I have a Mac and connect via wireless to his network. He set it up, so I don’t even know the password.

Initially, I didn’t think much of it, but lately he has been making off-hand comments about things I have written in emails. He has no reason to be suspicious, but as more comments are made, I am pretty sure he is reading them somehow.

Can someone explain how that might be possible? And what can I do to protect myself? Again, there has been no cause for suspicion, but I am a little upset at thinking I am being spied on regardless. Thank you!

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  1. Chadkuckler
    January 16, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Here is how to check whether or not he is reading your email without him knowing he's been checked:
    Write an email about how you keep nude pictures of yourself in an old envelope in a hidden, but distinctive place. Please note, the only thing that's important is that it is something you are sure he will have to go after and check. New letter from an old boyfriend. New letter to an old boyfriend you are deciding whether or not to send. You get the idea. 
         Around where the would-be envelope would be, measure the outlying books and objects, their orientation, angle etc around the envelope of everything down to the millimeter. And I mean down to the millimeter. Now when the email goes out, he'll look for the pictures. Of course, there is no envelope and there are no pictures. But when you see all books, containers, objects etc on that shelf have moved half an inch, you'll know he had reason to search through it. Remember, this spot is distinctive but hidden so that there will have been no other reason for either him or you to have rummaged around there for a random reason. When he doesn't find the envelope he will merely think you were bluffing in the email to sound interesting or whatever. But you will have found out he is reading them.

    • Karen W.
      February 9, 2012 at 3:00 am

      Thank you everyone for your helpful answers! I don't want to go the route of posting fake info or anything like that, and I know he will just deny it if I ask him outright. I am convinced now though, since he has made new comments. I did find out that his ex-wife cheated on him, and that explains a little of his behavior, even though again, I never gave him cause for this. I did look for keyloggers as best I could, but I don't think I found any?? One person mentioned to me that since he is in control of the router, he can see everything that happens on my computer when I use the internet. Is that true? And does that include passwords, even if the site says "https"? I stopped using my email application on my computer completely, and go straight to gmail. Would this change things since I'm not downloading messages to my Mac anymore? For the record, I am in the process of trying to get this guy out of my apartment, but it isn't as easy as it would seem. Thank you again to everyone who has helped!

      • Natasha
        July 2, 2012 at 2:58 am

        honey the best way to fix this is get yourself a new router. have a trusted friend of YOURS, not his set it up for you, if you dont know how to do it yourself. get a new email acount make sure the password is different from the old one. and change all you login info. and then just tell him things arent working anymore. that he is treating you like his ex and you cant take it. and that should get rid of the problem.

  2. Matcotton
    January 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Check your email account settings. Easiest way to read your emails is if you left it open one day and he set it to forward all sent and received mail to an account under his control. only takes about 30 secs to set up and you'd never know unless you checked.

  3. Anonymous
    January 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    He might be using BackTrack a forensic Linux program, and reading your history and cache.  It can even download a whole disk without ever starting your computer OS.

  4. Rob Hindle
    January 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    My son had a problem - a girlfriend was most insistent that she know his p/w saying stuff like "you don't trust me" or "what are you hiding".
    When they split up not only did she send unpleasant messages to his email contacts, pretending to be him but also had access to his facebook and a couple of other places where she did the same.  Stuff like advertised him as a gay escort service. Your email account can be a gateway to so many other things.

    She had taken the precaution of changing his password reminder options too and it was a real battle to get his accounts sorted out.  Fortunately she'd not got his bank or paypal credentials.

    BTW in this respect Gmail does the best job of helping with recovery.

    Where there's a security question always use the "make your own question" option if there is one and use an illogical Q&A combination like Q:"what is your favourite colour?" A:"Rhodesia".

    Don't re-use the same p/w anywhere else - suppose you use it to access a formu website - do you know how secure their system is?  You may have just given them your email address and used your "common" password - how easy to hack might that be?

    Keep your email p/w as secret as your online banking details.

  5. Anonymous
    January 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

    you can use a virtual keyboard and see if still your boyfriend catching your notes, make a scan with antivirus on your mac. Also try to use internet cafe to send some emails and if your boyfriend knows about included message then this is beyond MAC.

  6. James Bruce
    January 5, 2012 at 9:11 am

    All these answers so far are completely missing the point. If you suspect he might be reading your emails, ask him. You dont need to be confrontational about it, just casually ask.  If you're this suspicious of each other at the moment, just think how quickly a divorce will come. 

    • James Bruce
      January 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

      And if you do try to methods below and discover he's either hacked your account or been using a keylogger, I suggest a hasty break up. 

    • Jay.0
      January 5, 2012 at 9:25 am

      Yes, I thought the same, there is no cure of doubt.
      But there is no guarantee that the person will not lie when asked.

    • Lee
      January 7, 2012 at 3:53 am

      I agree. Just talk to him about it instead of trying to find out on your own. If he admits to it, tell him to stop because he has no right to read your emails without permission.

      About how he could see your emails though, all of the other answers are correct. One thing I'd like to add is that, since he setup the network, he can potentially see any traffic that goes through his router (with the right software). This means that everything you do online could be viewed by him (which I'm assuming isn't anything bad considering you said there is nothing to be suspicious about). If the website is encrypted (has an https:// at the beginning of the URL instead of http://) then it will be much harder for that to be viewed.

      • Anonymous
        January 10, 2012 at 5:31 am

        Asking the fellow is the right track, but you have to consider that he may be a good liar, and since you're still in a relationship with him, it would be hard to judge his answers/excuses objectively.

        I would recommend a social engineering approach. If you think he's reading your email, begin writing to someone (either a very trusted accomplice or a second account you set up yourself for the purpose from a separate computer on a different network) about a topic both untrue and extremely inflammatory. Pretend you are cheating in some really egregious way, pretend you've just gotten some bad news on a nasty STD test, or a pregnancy test. The subject matter isn't important, it just has to be something that if he reads, he won't be able to hold himself back from confronting you about directly.

        Since this will be something you've made up, the only way he could learn of it is through reading your emails. Thus if he brings it up, you'll know for certain that he's violated your trust. If he doesn't bring it up, and doesn't act at all differently, you can be somewhat confident that he's trustworthy.

        The advice to connect securely with SSL, use strong passwords, and check Gmail's login history is, of course, sound. However it seems tome that the primary issue here is personal, rather than technical.

        • Jeff Fabish
          January 10, 2012 at 6:49 am

          I think I saw this advice on an episode of "Fatal Attractions" on I.D, it didn't end well (as the name would no doubt imply). He sounds like the jelous type, and explaining away that "I was just setting you up" may be difficult to prove and highly dangerous, granted he is abusive.

        • Anonymous
          January 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm

          I had considered that, which was why a "cheating" scenario was only one of the suggestions.  If he is abusive, the question of whether he's reading email is moot, because she needs to DTMFA regardless.

  7. Jay.0
    January 5, 2012 at 2:30 am

    First of all,
    I hope you used a different computer and email id for asking this question.

    Because if your doubt is correct that he reads your mails, he can read these answers (and your question)as the mail notifications,

    If he installed keyloggers, then he came to know that you posted this question, even before the question was published. and he will read the solution of the problem he created for you!

    Do not ignore the possibility, of a coincident.

    Now,
    possibilities of how he can read what your mails:

    0.He has your password.
    1.He hacked your session.
    2. he installed keyloggers.

    =>Use gmail if you don't.

    0.change your gmail password.
    1. Enable https from settings.
    2. Check if he comments about everything you type on your computer or just emails.
    (and then check for a hard-soft keyloggers and use antimalware and anti-key loggers)

    You have an option if you use gmail.

    Check the login history,
    press ctrl+f and type : Last account activity
    click on "here" when you find it.

    You will see the ip addresses and the time of session.
    Note, if there is a time, when you did not use your account,
    it means it was used by someone else.

    Sign out all other active sessions if there are any.

    And tell me if you find any change after you applied these things.

  8. Mike
    January 5, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Did he also setup/install your Mac or know your password on your Mac? 

    Go into "System Preferences > Sharing" and uncheck "File Sharing", "Remote Login", "Remote Management" and "Screen Sharing".

    Change your users password:
    1. open System Preferences
    2. go to "Users & Groups"
    3. select your user and click "change password"

    If he doesn't need access to your Mac also make sure there are no other user accounts listed. There might be an account named "Guest access". If you can't delete it (clicking the minus at the bottom) it means it's the system default guest and is it's ok to leave it alone.

    If he does need an account on your Mac I suggest to uncheck "Allow user to administer this computer" for his account.

    If he initially setup your Mac I also suggest to change the "root" password. See "Resetting the original administrator account password" at http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1274

    The root password is set the same as for the first user ever created on the Mac. That means if he setup your Mac he knows the root credentials which allows him to access your users files without knowing your actual/current password.

  9. FIDELIS
    January 4, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Hello, one possibility is for him to know your login information.  When you are not around, he can just login to your account and read your email.  This could be possible if your email is setup to keep copies of email sent. Try checking the configuration of your email to see if that is so.  Even if he doesn't know your login information but you have your email setup to remember your login information, he can just login to email and click on the login button and that is it.  If you do not have a password to login to your computer, make sure to set one up.   

    Another possibility is for him to have a keylogger utility installed in your computer.  Keylogger software can create snapshots of your system, they also can create logs about sites visited and some of them can even record login information either through snapshots or logs. 

    Another possibility if he has access to your email is for him to setup your email to forward copies of your sent emails to his email.  He can also be in contact with people you correspond and get copies of your sent emails that way.

    You could try checking for keyloggers in your system.  If there is any, make sure to get rid of them.  Once you are sure your computers is free from spyware, you could try and change your login information for your email.  Also make sure to set a password to login to your profile in your computer.  Check settings in your email.  There are other possible ways of doing this but right know this is all that comes to mind.  

    • Jeff Fabish
      January 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

      Good answer! I'd like to expand a little on this a bit.

      First things first, make sure that when you visit your email host (Gmail, MSN, Yahoo, etc.) that it's not auto-filling in your information. If it is, stop it from doing that.

      Next, make sure that when you log into your email that it's encrypted using SSL or TLS. You can check this by looking at the link, is it HTTP (unencrypted) or HTTPS (secure, encrypted)?

      Keyloggers may be installed via software or hardware. If you use a USB/PS2 keyboard, follow the wire to your Mac. Make sure that there are no extensions onto the cord (i.e it should plug right into the interface, rather than being linked into a sub usb/ps2 device).

      Change your password. Follow these steps to creating a secure password, then run the password through a password strength test. Finally, put your password through a test with one (or more) of these password strength tools. Only if it passes all of the challenges, should you use it.

      I'm not familiar with Mac, so please read the following articles.

      How to Protect Your Mac From Keyloggers
      How to Detect Keyloggers on a Mac

      • Karen W.
        February 9, 2012 at 2:58 am

        Thank you everyone for your helpful answers! I don't want to go the route of posting fake info or anything like that, and I know he will just deny it if I ask him outright. I am convinced now though, since he has made new comments. I did find out that his ex-wife cheated on him, and that explains a little of his behavior, even though again, I never gave him cause for this. I did look for keyloggers as best I could, but I don't think I found any?? One person mentioned to me that since he is in control of the router, he can see everything that happens on my computer when I use the internet. Is that true? And does that include passwords, even if the site says "https"? I stopped using my email application on my computer completely, and go straight to gmail. Would this change things since I'm not downloading messages to my Mac anymore? For the record, I am in the process of trying to get this guy out of my apartment, but it isn't as easy as it would seem. Thank you again to everyone who has helped!

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