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3:20AM



cbjk

Paranormal Novice
Hello everybody!
I'm not exactly sure how this works but I need clarity. Some strange things have been happening to my boyfriend and I recently. here's the series of events:
1. We were at my cottage on July 30, watching TV on my laptop. We stopped watching at around 8-9PM, closed my laptop. Don't think it was fully powered off but it was shut and all. That night, we went to my other cottage to sleep. Keep in mind this cottage has NO wifi and spotty signal. We're woken up in the middle of the night by a LOUD noise. I wear earplugs and I jumped out of bed (my boyfriend did too). It sounded like radio static with a loud man yelling over top. I don't know if I couldn't make out what he was saying because I was groggy or because it wasn't English. My boyfriend hunted the room and discovered it was coming from my SHUT laptop. We had to do a hard power down and it finally stopped. I check the time - 3:20AM. My student house had some odd occurrences a few years back so I'm familiar with witching hour. I saw the time, got a bit spooked, went back to sleep. My boyfriend thinks I'm ridiculous with my paranormal beliefs but he admits in the morning that it was WEIRD.
2. After that occurrence, I have been FULLY powering off my laptop every single night. A week or so after that occurrence, I'm at home. I get woken up again in the middle of the night to my fully powered off laptop, making LOUD Facebook "ping" noises. I check my phone in case it was a glitch, no Facebook messages. Checked the time - 3:20AM. Was too scared to open my laptop so I put it in the bathroom, closed the door, closed my bedroom door, went back to sleep. Checked the laptop in the morning and it was indeed fully powered off.
3. My boyfriend, the one doubting all of this is related to paranormal things, sends me a text this morning. He was asleep, woke up in the middle of the night, a minute after he woke up, he got a text to his work phone. He got up to check it in case of emergency, but there was no message there. He's confident he heard the sound. Checks the time - 3:20AM.

We have no idea where this is coming from. I have no connection to the number 320 nor the date March 20. However, my boyfriend's mom had a miscarriage about 26 years ago on March 20. I have no idea if there is any connection here but that is the only thing that comes to his mind.

What could this be? It happened to us together at a cottage, happened to me alone at my home, happened to him alone at his home.

This may be a coincidence, but I have been randomly waking up at 3AM about 4-5 times a week recently and in Ontario we have been having amber alerts, all occurring between 3AM-3:30AM.

Please help me get to the bottom of this!!
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Way back in the day I remember using L0phtCrack (L0phtCrack - Wikipedia) to mess with friends.
You essentially would take control of the victim's computer. I'm pretty sure you could enable wake on lan that would wake the machine if it was asleep and do anything.
My favourite game was to play the x-files theme randomly at odd hours to freak people out.

I don't know the current state of the art with such deliberate remote hacking, but I'm sure it's possible that your laptop is infected. I'd do some kind of deep scan or even wipe the machine to see if it stops - although you may be able to have the BIOS infected too, I'm not sure.

Before you jump to paranormal stuff, I'd see what's going on with that laptop. Is it a mac or PC? Is the phone an iPhone or Android?
 

cbjk

Paranormal Novice
Hey! Thanks for the response.

My laptop is a new MacBook - how would this happen if it was fully powered off? And what about it happening to my boyfriends work phone (Samsung)? We don’t have many friends in common that would do this to the both of us
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Hey! Thanks for the response.

My laptop is a new MacBook - how would this happen if it was fully powered off? And what about it happening to my boyfriends work phone (Samsung)? We don’t have many friends in common that would do this to the both of us
The thing about technology, especially computing, is that nothing happens that doesn't have something to do with logic and circuits. I'm not that familiar with Mac, but I would imagine that they probably have services like Windows machines that can be configured to run on a schedule or a certain time. You need to find that app, or whatever the Apple equivalent is, or any apps like it, and check to see what actions have been scheduled. These can include things like waking your computer up and running various routines.

It could also be malware. Contrary to the Mac meme, Macs can and do get infected. The first suspects are a number of free apps that carry with them stuff you didn't ask for. For example I downloaded a free QR code scanner for iPad to test my QR Code for my music video. If you don't know what a QR Code is, they look like this:
YouTubeVideoQRC.png
Using the camera on a phone, or other portable device, the app decodes the pattern, which in the QR code to the left, should open my YouTube music video. I thought that was sort of cool. And if you have a safe app, it is actually sort of cool in a geeky kind of way.

But the app I got from the Apple Store turned out to be rather shady. It didn't simply read the QR code and pass the data along to Safari. Instead, it bypassed Safari, opened it's own browser, and ran my video inside it while delivering pop-up ads, all trackable to me. Needless to say, I deleted that app right away.

The first thing I'd do in your situation, is backup all of your data files onto an outboard location e.g. iCloud, or an external drive and stop using that device for anything important as it may all be compromised. The next thing is one of two choices. You either figure out the cause via computer forensics, which unless you happen to get lucky and find an obvious answer like a scheduler app; can be very time consuming, or expensive if you have to hire someone. The second option may turn out to be the simplest. Do a complete factory reset on your Mac, and start from there, being very careful about which apps you reinstall.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Hey! Thanks for the response.

My laptop is a new MacBook - how would this happen if it was fully powered off? And what about it happening to my boyfriends work phone (Samsung)? We don’t have many friends in common that would do this to the both of us
I believe it would only work if it's asleep, not hard powered off. It's actually a little hard to tell with a macbook (I'm typing this on one right now) - you have to hard power it off to black screen (by doing apple - shut down or holding down the power button), and then close the lid.

But you can wake it if it's asleep even if the lid is closed over the network:

enable-wake-on-lan-mac-os-x.jpg

It might be interesting to pull the battery out and see if it continues.

Android phones are notoriously vulnerable to hacks with third party add-ons - it's why they are all but disallowed at my company. Again, it might be interesting if you pulled the battery from the phone and see if it continues. Personally, I'd be very hesitant to use an Android phone.
 
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marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
The thing about technology, especially computing, is that nothing happens that doesn't have something to do with logic and circuits. I'm not that familiar with Mac, but I would imagine that they probably have services like Windows machines that can be configured to run on a schedule or a certain time. You need to find that app, or whatever the Apple equivalent is, or any apps like it, and check to see what actions have been scheduled. These can include things like waking your computer up and running various routines.

It could also be malware. Contrary to the Mac meme, Macs can and do get infected. The first suspects are a number of free apps that carry with them stuff you didn't ask for. For example I downloaded a free QR code scanner for iPad to test my QR Code for my music video. If you don't know what a QR Code is, they look like this:
View attachment 7391
Using the camera on a phone, or other portable device, the app decodes the pattern, which in the QR code to the left, should open my YouTube music video. I thought that was sort of cool. And if you have a safe app, it is actually sort of cool in a geeky kind of way.

But the app I got from the Apple Store turned out to be rather shady. It didn't simply read the QR code and pass the data along to Safari. Instead, it bypassed Safari, opened it's own browser, and ran my video inside it while delivering pop-up ads, all trackable to me. Needless to say, I deleted that app right away.

The first thing I'd do in your situation, is backup all of your data files onto an outboard location e.g. iCloud, or an external drive and stop using that device for anything important as it may all be compromised. The next thing is one of two choices. You either figure out the cause via computer forensics, which unless you happen to get lucky and find an obvious answer like a scheduler app; can be very time consuming, or expensive if you have to hire someone. The second option may turn out to be the simplest. Do a complete factory reset on your Mac, and start from there, being very careful about which apps you reinstall.
First of all Randall, my jaw is on the floor. You have an iPad but you don't have a cell phone?

But seriously, I agree with the advice here. I have kids and although I've taught them about spyware/malware, have locked down all devices, and I have content filtering at both the OS and router level... I still managed to get one of my kids to install a virus on one of our iMacs. It's only happened once in 5+ years, but it did happen.

I managed to get it off with Malwarebytes, but these things happen. I was lucky it was in the userspace only, and didn't infect either the OS itself or other accounts on the machine, but everything is vulnerable. It's why sandboxing and rotating encryption is so key on iOS devices.

When in doubt, back your stuff up and wipe the device clean and start again. You can also attempt to trace inbound and outbound connection attempts if you have deep access to your router and know what you're doing - you could dump the router logs and see if any data was transferred to or from that device if you filter on mac addresses and look at what the traffic was at that time of the night. But if it's scheduled with a cron job or whatever, it will just be local to that device.

You can also go apps->utilities-> console and look at the log files to see what activity was logged at that time. It should also tell you if your machine was powered on then.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
First of all Randall, my jaw is on the floor. You have an iPad but you don't have a cell phone ...
Yes, quite the shocker isn't it? I got mucking around with the synth apps at the store one day and thought to myself, "I just gotta get me one of these." You've probably seen these apps yourself. But in case you haven't, instead of virtual "instruments" e.g. keyboards, guitars, drums, etc, there are various "sound textures". They're activated in different ways depending on the app. For example, on one of them, the sounds are mapped to different colors, blends of colors, pressures, and distances across the screen. So it's more like "drawing music". Perfect for ambient and electronica.
 



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