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Erratic mouse movements on 4 pc's at small business, security concern or wireless interference?

Posted on 2007-11-21
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I have 4 PC's close together (within 10 feet or so) where users are claiming that the mouses are moving on their own. I witnessed it on 2 machines. They all use wireless mouses. They are all on a network, but one has no DNS info so it can't connect to the internet. The employees are concerned that it might be some kind of hijack or hacking. They have a Fortis firewall and supposedly they don't see anything. This all started a few days ago. In these few days, an outside company is doing an audit, on the floor above them and they are using a wireless mouse. I thought that might be causing interference. Sometimes the mouse movements seem purposeful, but most the time it is random clicks on the desktop, opening icon properties etc. We scanned for Viruses and spyware and the machines came clean. My question is has anyone experienced this? Is this more likely to be a simple interference type issue or something more sinister? Do people actually try to hack into systems allowing the cursor movements to be seen the whole time? These machines don't even store sensitive data locally; anything interesting would be on their server accessed through a browser or proprietary software running of a server. Wouldn’t they access the server? Can someone from outside the building get to these through the internet, even the one that doesn't get out because of the missing DNS info? That might be a dumb question, but I don't know how that works. I am just trying to help them out. I wanted to switch out to wired mouses, but they didn't have any and this has been very intermittent and it may take hour or days to see a difference. All PC's are XP Pro or XP Home.

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Question by:techpronetwork
8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 20327281
seems like some one installed something like LogMeIn :  https://secure.logmein.com/
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Accepted Solution

by:
r-k earned 200 total points
ID: 20329484
Just as likely to be wireless malfunction or interference. I would replace one of the mice with a wired one as a test and see if the problem goes away.

If you want to check for spyware, try HijackThis:

Download and run HijackThis from http://www.hijackthis.de/
(use the "direct download" link in the upper-right corner)
Copy-and-paste the resulting log here.
Optionally, you can post back to that same web page, and click "Analyze"
and note which entries are marked as nasty or unknown.
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Assisted Solution

by:sparkys-stuff
sparkys-stuff earned 200 total points
ID: 20336057
Are the mice optical? If so my first check would be that. I work with several makes and models of optical mice and have yet to find one that has not suffered from this.
The issue is most pronounced when using a mousemat.

As r-k suggested, try a wired mouse. If that resolves the issue take a look at the surface the wireless mouse is using. If different surfaces do not resolve the issue the problem is likely wireless interferance.

Whilst it is possible for an outsider to take remote control of the mouse pointer I would suggest this would be very obvious to anyone using the computer. An up-to-date virus scanner and fully patched XP pc should not be vulnerable to an attack of this sort.
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Expert Comment

by:pheidius
ID: 20339510
if it does turn out to be interference I have always found bluetooth mice to behave the most lik  a wired mouse in terms of precision and they are far more likely to play nice together.
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Assisted Solution

by:alwayssmiling
alwayssmiling earned 100 total points
ID: 20345105
Hi there,

    I have to agree with the other experts on the interference as the likely culprit here.  If you can, disconnect them from the Internet, and see if the problem goes away.  If not, then it's most likely interference.  If it does, then it's possibly an outsider or virus-related.
    One thing I would like to clarify for you is this.  You mentioned the computer without any DNS information on it.  Basically all DNS does is acts like a phone book or more accurately Directory Assistance.  Without it, instead of typing www.experts-exchange.com you would have to type 64.156.132.140 (which is the IP address equivalent to a phone number).  This is a way over-simplified explanation of DNS for you, but it gets the point across.
   Just because the computer doesn't have DNS information, doesn't mean it can't get on the Internet and it doesn't mean that it can't be hacked from the Internet.  All it means is that it's harder to get around on the Internet.

Hope this answers part of your question at least, and have a wonderful week :-)
Patrick.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 20345429
a feed back would help now . .
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Author Closing Comment

by:techpronetwork
ID: 31410315
With the Holiday last week, I couldn't get back in there to try these, however,   these solutions are in alignment with my feelings. I will swap out the mice and come back if it does not help. Also, thanks for the quick DNS lesson, it makes sense to me.
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Author Comment

by:techpronetwork
ID: 20351059
With the Holiday last week, I couldn't get back in there to try these, however,   these solutions are in alignment with my feelings. I will swap out the mice and come back if it does not help. Also, thanks for the quick DNS lesson, it makes sense to me.
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