How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

clintons   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your ComputerA relationship is not always the easiest thing in the world to manage, and when you suspect your spouse of cheating, life can be very difficult. Are you being overly paranoid? Are you seeing signs of infidelity where none exists?

While it should always be a last resort, it is possible to spy on your spouse with your computer and set your mind at ease, or escape a troubled relationship with a clear conscience.

Is This Ethical?

This article will cover a few simple ways that you can spy on your spouse with your computer. While MakeUseOf authors have covered a number of very useful tools to prevent others from spying on you, such as Aibek’s article on How to Cheat Keylogger Spyware or Varun’s article on Public Computers Made Safe, the concept here is actually the monitoring and logging of how people are using your computer.

The ethics are certainly debatable, but in the end, you must ask yourself how ethical infidelity is. If you discover that you’re being overly paranoid, then uninstall all of the applications and continue on in your marriage with confidence. However, if you discover that you’re married to a liar and a cheat, isn’t it best that you find out now rather than many years from now? Once you’ve worked through the techniques in this article, you will have the answer to your questions either way.

Use VNC to Monitor PC Use & Capture Evidence

VNC is a very popular, free remote computing application. While it’s an excellent way to remotely control a computer, it is also one of the best applications for spying on unsuspecting users.

This approach requires a unique configuration.  First, install the full free version of VNC on the computer that you want to monitor. Install it in “service mode,” which will automatically launch the application every time the computer starts up. Enable password protection by opening the configuration and clicking on the “Authentication” tab. Next to “VNC Password Authentication,” click the configure button and create a secret password.

vnc configure1   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

You’ll also want to configure it so that when you connect with your PC or laptop, it doesn’t affect the computer and signal to the user that something is up.  In the properties screen, click the “Inputs” tab and configure the VNC server to ignore all inputs from clients.

vnc configure2   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

Make sure all boxes are unselected. The final step is to install the software on your laptop or PC at some other location. Once it’s installed, open the application in “viewer” mode and view properties. Click on the “Inputs” tab and make sure that the boxes are unselected for the viewer to “send” anything to the server.

vnc viewer   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

Once you have the server (the suspect computer) and your viewer configured, you can connect to the remote PC whenever you like and monitor how the person sitting at the computer is using it. This can be boring and tedious, or you might find your unsuspecting husband/wife visiting some questionable websites…

dating site   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

Accessing Cell Phone Records

One of the more common methods that cheaters use to secretly communicate with their “lovers” is through the cell phone. Many people feel that since their cell phone is so easy to use in secluded locations, that it is a safe way to facilitate an affair. Unfortunately for cheaters, the cell phone is the worst device for trying to have private conversations.

Few companies are as diligent at keeping such detailed records as cell phone companies. Not only can you view the date and time that certain numbers were called, or which numbers called the phone, but often you can also view the length of the phone call. How do you have a look at those records?

If you are listed as one of the owners on the cell phone account (most families have multiple cell phones under one account) then you have every right to view the bill. The easiest way to do this is online. If your spouse hasn’t set up an online account yet, that’s even better. All you have to do is configure the account for online billing using your email address. However, if your spouse already has an account set up, getting access is simple.

First, visit the online login page (this example is from AT&T Wireless).

attwireless   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

Click the “Forgot your password?” link, and you’ll be taken to another page where you can have the password sent to the cell phone.

attwiresend   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

The trick to doing this is to submit this form late at night when you can “borrow” the cell phone. Submit the number on this page, click continue, and then view the password that gets sent to the phone via text message. After this, you’ll have full access to the entire online log of cell phone calls. Be careful, if you are not listed on the account, you could potentially get into legal trouble – so tread carefully.

Use a Keylogger To Log All Computer Usage

While there are dozens of MakeUseOf articles outlining how you can remove keyloggers from your PC, in this case you are actually going to install one so that you can monitor all activity on the PC.  Running a keylogger can reveal some very fascinating information about your spouse.  One example of such a keylogger is the free version of the Revealer Keylogger.

When you launch this application, you can set it up to automatically launch at Windows startup. You can also define the special key combination that will open the invisible application.

keylog2   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

This particular application doesn’t allow stealth startup, so if you want to use this app, the best approach is to start it up secretly just before your spouse is about to use the computer. Then walk away into another room and allow the application to do its thing.

Many free keyloggers do a terrible job capturing keystrokes, especially if the user types fast. I tested four free keyloggers and found that Revealer was the only one that captured every keystroke.  It even logs application use as well. The results of such a log could turn out to be rather shocking – so be prepared!

keylog3   How To Spy On Your Spouse With Your Computer

Final Words

It’s important to keep in mind that all of the techniques detailed above should be used as a last resort. Many people find themselves in some very difficult situations, and however hard they try, they just can’t get to the truth. Technology can offer answers that a lying spouse refuses to provide. By capturing the evidence that proves infidelity or disloyalty, you can then free yourself from the burden of living a life full of doubt and worry.

What is your opinion on the ethics of using technology to spy on your spouse? Is it OK or is it an invasion of privacy?  Share your opinion in the comments section below.  Do you also know of any other software tools which can be used?   Tell us about them too.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

27 Comments -

0 votes

techandlife

The ethics of this is indeed highly debatable. Leaving that aside, unfortunately, this sort of monitoring has a dark side as well. When I started to read the piece, it jogged my memory back to a post written by Bill Mullins last summer on how technology is being used in spousal abuse. Here’s a piece from that post:

…this type of technology is now pervasive in spousal abuse. According to Anna Stepanov, manager of the Anti-Spyware program at McAfee Avert Labs, “Using spyware for surveillance in cases of domestic abuse is a serious matter.” ….“Monitoring a victim’s online, cell phone, or general computing activity is of more value than ever in controlling or hurting a victim.”

The article is well worth reading and really thought provoking. Here’s the URL:

http://billmullins.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/domestic-violence-hi-tech-spousal-abuse/

0 votes

Eddie

Can this be used on my Mac?

0 votes

Stephen Williamson

I’ve been in a relationship where doing this would have saved me a lot of heartache and a hell of a lot of money in the long run. That said, I would never in a million years spy on my spouse like this. I think if you’re at the point where you think you need to do this, there’s probably not much of a relationship left. It’s a huge violation of trust.

I would, however, use these methods to monitor computer usage by my children. I’d let them know they were being watched though – no “gotcha” bull.

0 votes

me

I think you’d better serve your site and the question of the ethics if you accompany each suggested spying tool with a section on how to remove it or detect it.

0 votes

Vale

I’m sorry, as long as it’s to protect your privacy is one thing. But writing articles on how to spy on someone else is not right. There are already too many people who do it – and no matter which selfish reasons you can do it for (saving yourself heartache, time, money) it’s simply not right. I don’t think this kind of article belongs on MUO, to be honest. I was disappointed to find it here.

0 votes

Shame

This is a truly disgusting article.

0 votes

Del

This is truly a very scary article. Any information such as this could turn out to be a very bad thing in the wrong hands and could do more harm than good, especially if the suspicion is unfounded.

0 votes

Mark O’Neill

I am the editor of MakeUseOf and I would just like to make a few comments on why I chose to publish this article.

I know a couple of people who are trapped in unhappy marriages mainly because their spouses are unfaithful. But the one thing that stops them from leaving the marriage and getting a divorce is that they can’t prove to a divorce court that their spouse is cheating on them. No evidence of infidelity means no divorce. So they are forced to stay at home because otherwise if they left with the kids, they would have nothing.

So when I read Ryan’s article, I immediately decided to publish it because I am sure there are many other people out there in similar marriages (not just wives but husbands too) who need that proof for a divorce to get out of marriages and this technology will help them to do it.

Yes, in the wrong hands, these programs can be used for other scary things but ALL technology can be used for other bad things if you put your mind to it.

If you have already made your mind up that this post is disgusting then my comments will be meaningless. But to other readers, I hope that what I have said will help you to understand my reasoning for publishing Ryan’s article.

0 votes

becky

This is a poor excuse. Most states have “no fault” divorce laws so infidelity is never an issue and you don’t need proof of anything to get a divorce.

0 votes

Susan

While most states have “no fault” divorce, the terms of settlement/alimony/child custody are sometimes at the discretion of the court – and this is applied district by district, no matter what the “state” policy may be. To have proof of a spouse’s deceit – not just in terms from relationships, but finances – can make a great difference in the outcome of divorce proceedings. THANK YOU to Mark O’Neill for publishing a lifeline to the miserably married and their discouraged/neglected children!

0 votes

Jimmi

…well according to scientific fact proven by psychologist…infidelity never directly leads to break up. It can bring on negative effects but will and does never constitute a divorce.

0 votes

Marie

Ithink this article was RIGHT ON! It’s up to each person how/where/when its ok to use this or not use this information, BUT some of us “want” to know, if your not one of those then use your delete key.
Makeuseof isnt the moral police for goodness sake, there are lots of other information everyday that doesnt pretain to each of us as well, I dont use MAC so all those arent worth my time reading, and vise versa, Pick and choose what your interested in and leave the rest of us the right to do the same.
Quit expecting everyone else to only read what YOU would want us to read, this is still America!
Hats off to you Mark, Some of us actually appreicate your article!

0 votes

Atlanta Private Investigator

Ryan/Mark This is a great tutorial, however one should check the local laws and federal laws before adopting such behavior in a spousal case. There are plenty of people with felonies on their record now for conducting activities such as this. It’s irrelevant who owns the computer, who owns the phone line, who pays for the internet connection, etc. If the person using the computer has a REASONABLE expectation of privacy, and you violate it (in a judge’s or jury’s eyes) you will be in some deep and very hot water. Talk to an attorney before you do anything like this for this kind of purpose.

0 votes

Nancy

I like this piece. Even if you don’t want to spy, it educates people who might be the target of this kind of thing. It’s not just jealous lovers who might use these tactics, it could be your boss, housekeeper, coworker, kid, employee, creepy guest, the guy that fixed your computer or sold you the used cell phone. You may be the most ethical person on earth but it’s good to know what’s out there. I’ve been married for 29 years and so far I haven’t spied on my husband. But who knows, maybe sometime I might want to and this article will be useful. Show me the tools and let me decide how to use them.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Thanks for all of the great comments everyone. Even those of you who feel such an article is wrong – I respect that. My motivation for writing this article came from being asked by a friend what he could do, as he suspects his wife is having an affair. He knew that I’m a tech geek. I asked why he suspected her, and his reasons were pretty convincing – caught her in a few lies, etc…

Therefore, I shared the same information with him as we’ve offered in this article here…with the caveat that you’ve GOT to understand what’s reasonable and legal where you live, as many of you have correctly pointed out. Also – if you want to understand how to *prevent* people from spying on you like this – heck, MakeUseOf is loaded with awesome articles on how to clean keyloggers and otherwise protect your PC.

With all of that said – I think from the reactions here that the act of spying certainly does raise some interesting questions. As many of you have stated, if you choose to spy, is the relationship already over at that point? I really don’t know the answer to that – it’s a very tough call. Thanks again for all of your comments – I’ve enjoyed reading all of your opinions.

0 votes

Smarterchild

can i make money off this or is it usa

0 votes

Guy McDowell

I think it’s an awesome article. Very well written. A few years back I was using VNC so I could check e-mail and such from home, while I was at work. I logged on once and my now ex-wife was doing something she shouldn’t have been. And she knew we had VNC.

0 votes

greg

how do you find out if this has been installed on your computer though?

0 votes

Jake

I think my gf is cheating, so I got questions for the VNC is there steps missing like do you need the ip address or something else to connect the viewer to the server?

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Hey Greg – yes, actually when VNC is installed you’ll see an icon in the lower right corner of the screen with “VNC” on it. Most users won’t even know what it is.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Hi Jake – thanks for your comment. Yes you’ll need to know the current IP address of your VNC server. Log onto that PC, open a command prompt and just type “ipconfig,” and make a note of the IP address. Use that IP to connect to that server from your viewer.

0 votes

wolverene

Come on now guys! It’s obvious that stuff like this are at the discretion of the user. It’s how you use it. A knife is supposedly for the kitchen most of the times. Yet it is there in plain site at the kitchen and you can use that to kill people. It is of the importance of how you use it. Bottom line no matter how many laws out there are. It all comes down to the proper use of it in any given situation. One final blow of an example. Get this right. My cousins are cops. Some cops are bad. They have guns. Who’s protecting us now from them? Huh? It’s how you use it. If you have to use it to save someone, or for a better cause. It has to be done. I’ll say it’ll take ages of debate and no one will ever get the right answer simply because one answer is right for one doesn’t necessarily mean it is for the other.

0 votes

Example

Ehm.. I don’t know if i should be posting this in here. But here goes.. :P

Hamachi is a great application i use to help friends (who already have VNC installed) fix issues on their PC. But sometimes I kinda take a peek at the stuff they do on the internet (which is mostly watching p**n). My fav thing about this application is, people with dynamic IPs (or behind firewall and stuff like that) still get the same hamachi ip. For more info check out the Wikipedia Article or google it. :)

0 votes

brenda

Ryan Dube – I have followed all of your instructions for installing VNC, but every time I log into the other PC, it takes it to the home screen. What is configured wrong?

Thanks for your time!

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Hi Brenda – when you say it takes you to the home screen, do you mean all you see is the desktop of the target computer you’re connecting to? Or do you mean it’s not connecting at all?

0 votes

brenda

Sorry, I should have been more explicit. It logs the person off and goes to the login screen (Windows XP login screen). I’ve checked and unchecked everything you’ve said.

I’m doing this for all the computers in my boss’s office.

Thanks for your time!

0 votes

loraine

great stuff, dont mind bad coments, this is educational and very usfull.