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Is it Safe to Allow Remote Access to My Machine?

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Is it safe to allow a tech support person from a reputable firm to have remote access to your computer to solve a problem? I recently had an issue that required me to contact such a company, and permitted the tech to view my desktop. My problem was solved, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was a bad idea. Can they browse around inside your machine if you give them this kind of access?

How much do you trust them?

No, seriously, how much do you really trust them?

All other issues aside, this is a matter of trust.

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Reputable or fraud?

The key word in your question is “reputable”.

Recent years have seen rise to something we call the “Tech Support Scam”. Using lies and even threats, scammers attempt to get you to give them exactly what you’re asking about: remote access to your machine. Once they have it, they install malware – often including ransomware – or they leave back doors that allow them continued remote access to your machine when you’re not around.

Needless to say, this type of remote access is absolutely not safe, and should be avoided at all costs.

It’s not about remote access technology; it’s about who you’re allowing to access to your machine.

Would you let them access it physically?

In general, remote access means giving someone complete access to your machine. They can then do whatever they want.

Remote Access ReachIt’s not unlike having a technician visit your home to access your machine, or taking your machine into a shop for repair. Once again, you’re handing that person control. Presumably, that means doing whatever is necessary to resolve the issues that brought you to them in the first place, and nothing malicious along the way.

It bears repeating: it’s all about trust. Regardless of how you allow them access, do you trust the person to whom you’re giving that access?

Watching isn’t always enough

Most remote access technologies allow you to watch what the technician is doing as he or she does it. That’s kinda cool, and often quite instructive. Some also include voice, so you can talk to the technician and they can explain what they’re doing, or answer your questions along the way.

The problem is that this can lead to a false sense of security. It’s possible there’s more going on that you can’t see. That “more going on” could be quite legitimate, or it could be quite malicious.

That’s why I keep coming back to trust.

Multiple layers of trust

The problem is compounded because there are several levels of trust at play. There’s more to it than assuming good intent.

Do you trust they know what they’re doing? Even with good intentions, will they do more harm than good? Will you spend a lot of money and get little for your efforts?

These are the same issues we need to consider whenever asking someone else to help us, but the ramifications of allowing someone to remotely access your machine are more serious. With a local technician or shop, you have someone and some place you can go to in order to resolve your issues. Presumably, they care about their reputation and your power to impact it. Companies that provide remote access support are often far away – faceless entities on the internet. It’s not uncommon for them to be in a completely different country.

My personal position is that I’d be very reluctant to let anyone connect to my machine that way. They’d have access to everything! I can vaguely recall allowing someone to do it once, briefly, a very long time ago, but it still feels like a huge risk.

I also realize that sometimes, it’s just the most expedient approach to problem solving, and by and large, the reputable companies and technicians doing it are probably quite competent.

Remote access is appealing

Remote access is a wonderfully appealing tool. Rather than relying on your description of the problem, the technician can see it and investigate directly. Rather than trying to walk you through a complicated set of steps that you don’t need or care to actually understand, the technician can just do it for you.

I really, truly, honestly get the appeal. Heck, I’ve used remote access myself to help my friends.

One hard-and-fast rule for remote access

With the rise of the tech support scam, there’s one very simple, easy-to-follow rule:

Never allow remote access to someone who called you.

Never. Period. That’s exactly how the tech support scams succeed in capturing its victims. They call first.

The only acceptable approach to allowing anyone remote access is only after you’ve vetted and selected an appropriate technician or service, and only when you make the first contact. Then, if they suggest it, it might be worth considering.

And please, for safety’s sake, always make a full system image backup of your machine first… just in case.

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48 comments on “Is it Safe to Allow Remote Access to My Machine?”

  1. I disabled Remote Assistance almost as soon as we got our computer. That was so long ago (and I do believe I used more than one method) that I no longer remember how to re-enable it, assuming that such should ever be necessary.

    And I shall make SURE it ain’t necessary, because NOTHING can EVER be THAT necessary!!!

  2. as a technician i am very happy with remote access. it means i can solve my customers problems from a distance and that means faster. as otherwise the client will have to bring the pc or laptop to me (or i have to go to them) there is no extra risk for them. the risk is there anyway when i have the machine on my desk with full access. obviously my clients trust me. they have to trust me otherwise i can not solve the problem. in my opinion only when you are skilled enough to solve each problem yourself you have the option not to give access to somebody else.

  3. I’ve, worked in several phases of this technology in the last 25 years. I’m semi-retired now, and I use remote control almost exclusively for support. It allows me to keep the labor charge down by discounting my cost & time to travel. And, I don’t have to carry disks (tools) etc, to a customer’s site. Everything is on my local system that I’ll need.

  4. windows remote access can be disabled, but I use a remote access not involving the windows service as part of my job….
    the other point to make is, as I have read on other posts, if it is not physically secure it is not secure, and the other options for the service my company provides is for the customer to take the computer to the storefront or a tech to go the home. That means there is no difference between what I do remotely, and what any other tech for the company does.

  5. I understand the concern for security and safety with having someone you know nothing about, gaining access to your PC remotely, granted or not. But you must ask yourself this question. Is it any safer to bring your PC to a local support shop for repair, when you know nothing about them either?

    I looked at it this way. When you give access to a technician remotely, of course there is the risk they may access more than you hope. But at least you can terminate the connection at any given time you don’t feel comfortable with what they are accessing. Yes, you have that much control over the entire process, thanks to todays standard of connectivity. You have to actually say yes to it before they actually connect to your PC, and can stop the process anytime.

    However, what about the process you can only control to a point when you bring your PC to a local repair shop. You bring your PC in, you gave your information to someone(could be a technician), and then was told to come back the next day for pickup. But what you may not know is the level of invasion into your privacy that took place in this process, and the big thing is, you can’t stop it and you don’t really know what they did.

    At least with remote access, you can see everything the technician is doing.

    Cheers

    You’re raising some good points, however the issue to me is one of accountability. While there are risks in taking your PC to a shop (I’ve talked about them before), you know who they are, and if there’s an issue you go back to the repair shop an talk to the same person. There’s an individual involved, that you can see and meet and talk to face-to-face. That changes the relationship.

    With remote assistance from many large vendors you have no idea who it is that you’re letting access your machine. They could be next door, they could be on the other side of the planet. If you call back with an issue, you’ll likely get a completely different person who won’t know what the first one did. IMO it’s just too anonymous, and too risky.

    I totally understand the appeal to the technicians themselves – they, of course, know who they are and know that they are trustworthy. Unfortunately customers don’t have that knowledge, they can only make assumptions.

    – Leo
    27-Jun-2009

  6. The advice to make a disk image backup before letting a total stranger “drive” your computer is an excellent one. No matter what the software problem is, an image backup from a bootable CD should be possible. Great defensive computing, Leo.

    Let me also suggest using an external hard drive for storing all your sensitive files. This way, by simply removing the hard drive you know there is nothing on the computer that you wouldn’t want a stranger to see (be they a remote stranger or a local computer repair outfit).

    I have no connection to Lenovo at all, but I very much like the concept behind their ThinkPad USB Secure Hard Drive. Its an external 2.5 inch hard drive that does hardware encryption with NO dependency on any software on your computer at all. You enter a password into the device by pressing buttons on it. Your computer is oblivious to the hardware encryption, so it should work with any OS.

    Of course, you pay more for this security in the ballpark of $90 extra when compared to a standard external hard drive. But, if you have sensitive files, its a great way to go.

    I don’t use it, preferring the free TrueCrypt, but I’m a techie. For many computer users dealing with TrueCrypt is too much. And, there is great safety in not having any sensitive files on the computer at all, encrypted or not.

    See my blog for more about the hardware
    http://blogs.computerworld.com/about_the_lenovo_thinkpad_usb_secure_hard_drive

  7. A technician, yes. Anyone else that is not family, no! These remote access programs can be a lifesaver, but in the wrong hands they can leave you 100% vulnerable to attack and, worse, while you think you are receiving support, you can be getting attacked..as you watch!

  8. I allowed a McAfee tech. access to my computer, he did a great job fixing the problem. After I blocked future access. Not so funny, a week later someone or something trying gaining access to my computer, asking for permission, I blocked it!!!!
    Is this something I should be very concerned about?

  9. A comment on the other side. I do computer consulting out of my home, and remote access is one of my handiest tools. Most of the people I’m helping don’t really know that much about computers and trying to guide them through something can be a real pain. Will I misuse this? Hardly? Could I? Hardly, since I don’t keep log on information. The question is more: Do they want my help or don’t they? If not, don’t bother me, if they do, then let me do what I need to do. I realize that most of these people actually know me, which might make a difference…

    I’m sure it does. But would you let someone you didn’t know connect that way to your machine? That’s exactly what many companies are asking people to accept.

    Leo
    05-Jun-2010

  10. I have extensive experience from both ends of this issue. I’m a consultant that provides full computer services to the SMB (Small/Medium Business) market and remote access is essential to what I do for a living. It allows me to solve client issues rapidly, efficiently, and cheaply. It’s an income multiplier for me as I can be logged onto several different clients and working on all of them simultaneously. Being as I provide full services to these clients and have full access to everything on servers and workstations trust isn’t really an issue. If they didn’t trust me they wouldn’t hire me. My clients love the service, it’s so nice to call and say “blah blah isn’t working, fix it please”. Even when a physical button needs to be pushed I can call them and tell any non-technical employee to do what needs to be done.

    I also do this for relatives, it really saves me a lot of time and when you have a family like mine you’re expected to contribute like every one else.

    Having said that, the other end of the stick is that I often need to let vendors have access to client systems. I’ve been working on computer systems for almost 30 years but no one knows everything and it’s often best to let the vendor deal with their own software problems. I NEVER let them have full access and I ALWAYS stay logged on and watch what they do while they do it. I’ve seen vendor technicians do things like try to create a Domain Administrator for themselves, try to leave the remote access software installed and running by default, uninstall programs and features that have nothing to do with their issue or software, etc. Very often during this process it’s my observation/suggestion that actually solves the issue. At the end of the day I’m responsible for these computer systems and no one else is going to be held accountable for them so due diligence is required.

    My advice to the general user is not to allow this type of connection unless you know enough about how your computer works to be SURE that you are in control. I wouldn’t take a technician’s word for anything, you don’t know them at all. I especially wouldn’t take an offshore technicians word for anything. If they want you to download and install something, make sure you know how to uninstall it when that support session is finished.

    Even the reputability of a company is no guarantee. Especially with offshore support (as in from India), that tech may be under influences you have no inkling of. I especially don’t trust the various Anti-Virus vendor’s techs. Besides any other agenda they may have their first move is usually to uninstall any and all software from any competitor. I had one insist that a disk imaging program from another vendor had to be uninstalled to repair their AV software, which was total bullhockey. If they’re hacking your computer and selling access to the _____ (fill in your own bad-guy, Identity Thieves, Spammers, etc.) the worst they’ll suffer in their country is to get fired, and probably not even that.

    Under no circumstances should you ever allow them to work on your computer when you’re not directly in voice contact on the telephone and you are directly observing what they’re doing on the screen. Ask a LOT of questions and make sure a few of them have to do with how to kill that remote software and uninstall it when they log off.

    Remember, these guys usually aren’t actual employees of the vendor, ISP, etc. They’re in a boiler room in a foreign country and getting paid by “calls resolved”. That means the faster they can fob you off so they can mark your call resolved and get on to the next call the more money they make. Their incentive isn’t to solve your problem, it’s to mark your call as resolved as fast as possible. So DON’T let them hurry you, haste makes waste and that goes double in computers. You called for support, get supported and don’t be afraid to slow them down to something you’re comfortable with.

    This is a main reason why they want remote access also, so they can fly through the call as fast as possible. If they try that, disconnect the remote session immediately and tell the tech on the phone that if he can’t take the time to explain each step to you while he’s doing it that you’ll have to proceed without remote access. That will put him on notice that you’re not going to be run over rough-shod.

    Most of them aren’t really technicians either, they’re looking at a flow-chart and a script on a computer screen in front of them and if your problem isn’t covered by their flow-chart they have no clue how to help you. BUT they don’t want to bump you up to a higher tier of support because then they lose the revenue from your call. That’s also why they always ask you if your problem is (whatever) in different words than you used when the call initiated, their English is mediocre and they are reading from the beginning of the flow chart to be sure they’re on the right page.

    Another tip for offshore support, if you have trouble understanding their English just tell them you can’t understand their accent. Stick to that story and usually they’ll bump you up to a supervisor with better language skills. Don’t be afraid to ask to talk to a supervisor if you’re not comfortable for any other reason also.

    All of this information is to be kept in mind when you’re allowing some total stranger access to your system. There are ways to upload things to your computer and run them that you can’t see on the screen so think long and hard about trusting a technician with remote access. Just because it’s on the computer and it’s a major vendor support you’re talking to doesn’t really negate the fact that you are trusting everything to a total stranger.

    On top of all of that, some remote access programs are flawed or exploitable so even if the company is reputable and the tech is honest that doesn’t stop a bad-guy from scanning your ports looking for a vulnerability opened by a remote access program or it’s aftermath.

  11. I’ve had cases where a tech has changed settings which screwed up my internet access, and then didn’t know how to fix them.

    I now routinely insist that they tell ME what to do, and if they want me to change anything, I have an opportunity to record prior settings.

    They don’t seem offended.

  12. Frostbyte “would not take a tech’s word for anything” and says “Even the reputability of a company is no guarantee.”
    But he wants people to trust him? He says he can watch while the remote guys do the job but some of theier work can be hidden.
    I know a guy who calls to people to fix computers and he told me how he can get behind any password and laughed at how people password protect files.
    When a laptop hard drive died on me i went to shop and watched while the guy put in a new one and took away the old one.
    someone said remove hard drive before giving it to shop. how will they be able to find out what is wrong with it then since the OS is on the hard drive?

  13. In the comments area – they mention that they are sure to BLOCK any access once the remote access is over… HOW exactly does one go about that?

    Depends on what technology they’re using for remote access.

    Leo
    27-Jun-2010

  14. What about the guy that comes to your house? He can do the same damage. You folks are paranoid. You are supposed to be hiring someone who does the job; who you trust no matter how the repair is done – remote or on- scene.
    I use a remote utility that asks for a code at each end. When the connection is cut, (and can be by the client at any time) new codes must be generated. There is no way for me to go back in later. It won’t work. And believe me, I’ve got better things to do than prowl around someone’s system. Again, the same damage could be done with their PC in my lab. I don’t look where I don’t belong – period.
    As far as changing settings- the same could be done back at the lab. You either trust them or you don’t.
    Those who hire me, trust me. I have a reputation to uphold and would like to stay in business.
    You call someone because you want an issue resolved – watch them. Learn. But trust them. Or don’t call!

  15. Hi, I recently allowed a linksys phone technician have access to my 2008 IMAC (runs MAC OS X). I have not noticed anything wrong with or strange with the computer since then, but I have been concerned that my computer may still be in some kind of danger. At this point, would you recommend running some kind of anti-virus or spyware program to make sure that nothing malicious has been installed? Or am I in the clear if everything has been okay since the remote session?

    thank you for the post!

  16. I thnk it is ok for say Toshiba.HP,Microsoft my
    ISP to be able to share my computer.I have done
    so in order to fix a problem.Now if i had something on my hard that may be illegal, i would not share.

  17. I asked for Dell’s Tech services guy on the ‘phone in India (one can’t get around the Indian call center system….it seems that everybody does it…cheaper labor….) to take over my new Dell under warranty to fix a problem, and I most definitely didn’t want to be “talked through” a two hour session of agonizingly detailed steps on my keyboard with those staccato accents…in this case the English was good, clear, and the connection was perfect.

    So, their procedure is that once both of you are connected, he brings up a page on your screen containing a blank space in which you type the five digit number he dictates to you over the phone from India. That enables him to “enter” your machine.

    After that, you can watch your cursor being moved about on your screen by the Indian tech guy….it’s a surreal experience….but there you have it.

    I had no qualms, because my email account as well as banking, etc are all password protected….each separately from the other….there is no “master password” for anyone to hack.

    For me, the key thing was that I was watching my cursor move on my screen at all times.

    Then…..the mutual connection can be severed by you at any time if you don’t like the way things look. Hence…the ‘control’ is still with you….the asking customer.

    In my case, I was completely satisfied during and after the successful session.

    Cheers, and good luck.

  18. …here’s an afterthought….the sound-character-quality of the voice on the other end of the phone is important. Presumably these phone-tech guys are chosen for English proficiency….but that’s a matter of degree.
    They generally speak in harsh-sounding staccato automaton-scripted accents in which the English is textbook correct, which unfortunately ends up sounding like a string of rapid syllables.

    So…it’s still your call (no pun) ….if you don’t like the sound-quality-confidence-factor in his voice, break off the connection.

    I had one female on the other end of the phone who was completely unreadable….their high pitched sound simply does not transmit well over a digital phone line across ten or twelve time zones…and, bounced from a satellite. Low-pitched male voices are without question the best.

  19. I have had a few problems with my VISTA and as I was not willing to pay a tech a lot of money, I chatted with a tech of microsoft (always the same). He took over my laptop and within short time the problems (small for him to resolve, impossible for me to do it myself) were gone. I’m trusting ms techs and will use them again.The good thing is that after a chat you receive a follow-up mail with the tech’s name. You can save it and therefore use it each time you need help.

  20. I am new to computers and ended up getting into problems that i let a tech from a company remotely fix for me.I have windows 8 and i don’t know if this is supposed to happen but a small metro tile from the parent company was left behind on my computer,although no matter how often i tried i couldn,t open the tile. I sent an email to the parent company telling them i was nervous of this. The tile and the message i sent have completely disappeared off my computer which scares me even more because now I wonder if they still have access to my laptop to do this. Is it possible or am i being unduly concerned? Can they still remotely access my laptop even though i pushed the button that supposedly cut the link?

  21. I got a call recently from someone claiming to be a Dell tech rep. who said my laptop was reporting multiple errors. Realizing immediately that this was a scam I voiced my concern over this grievous problem and let him continue explaining while I started a Windows 7 Virtual Machine session. Because I had some free time I let him talk me through all the steps of how to view the “critical” errors in the event viewer, making sure to misunderstand him due to his accent. This required that he repeat himself frequently and phonetically spell out anything he wanted me to type. By the time he was ready to remote into my laptop I had the VM session up and running where I was able to waste still more of his time. Unfortunately by the time he was ready to “fix” things I had run out of time and patience. All I had time to do at that point was to point out exactly what I thought of him and his choice of vocation.

    I hope that the next time they call I have the time to let them loose on a clean VM session to see what they do with it.

  22. I had laptop from daughter MCAfee couldnot be downloaded to it could on desktop saw name of Tech Guru told them problem they had remote access to computer
    asked for £ 80 to fix problem did not agree to pay thought it was a McAfee concern already paid for it.
    When I restarted computer could not get in network was gone completely.
    Got in touch with HP Smart friend I have contract with they checked it reported a Driver was missing. So that firm removed the driver who else could?

  23. This is an excellent subject. My experience may be unique; however, of the handful of times I’ve allowed remote access to my computer, the problem has never been fixed. To the contrary, most often, things have been broken or the connection lost without a fix.

    I find some technicians annoyingly insistent about being granted remote access, to the point of spending far more time arguing about getting it than it would take to have solved the problem without remote access.

    And last but certainly not least, I’ve never been able to follow what they do once they get into my computer – how is this a learning experience for me? Much more preferable is that they advise me what steps to take and I perform the action so that next time there is no need to call tech support.

    Fortunately between the numbers of books I’ve purchased and the amount of research I’ve done, questions I’ve asked, and notes I’ve taken, plus the fact that I’m sticking with XP and a Chromebook, it has been years since I’ve required any technical support.

    Have encountered one issue with the Chromebook which is merely an annoyance; it turns out to be a common one. A little research put me in touch with the Chromium developers who are a complete pleasure to do business with … and do not request remote access 😉

    • I sometimes use Skype instead of remote access to help people. I look at their computer and tell them which keys to press. They even learn from that.Problem with that is a tech might lose a service call if the customer learns how to do it themselves :-). But seriously, it builds trust.

    • I said it before but I will repeat. There are many so called technicians out there who have no qualifications whatsoever they have fixed some problems on their own PC and decide that they are a technician. To be a mechanic, electrician. plumber or baker you have to study be an apprentice and get certified. BUT anyone can call themselves a computer technician. My advice before letting anyone touch your PC be it remotely or in person is ask them for they qualifications were they trained etc. if they say self-taught be very wary. also if you’re a business ask them if they are insured. I have seen more than enough business’s struggle after an incompetent PC tech has been on the premises.

  24. I absolutely need remote assistance with my HP Laptop or I am going to lose an awesome at home job. My Kodak printer has 100 % wireless connected, but my computer thinks that it is turned off. I need to print. Any suggestions on who I could call?

    • An inexpensive wired printer might fill in the gap, and would cost about the same or less than remote assistance. I got a very good older model new laser printer for 1/2 of what the latest model of the same printer. (@ $50)

  25. I think the best bit of advice that Leo gave in this post in case you missed it is “One hard-and-fast rule for remote access = NEVER ALLOW REMOTE ACCESS TO SOMEONE WHO CALLED YOU.”

    • And I’d add to that, don’t call a support number you find on the web, as most of those are scams, unless your are ABSOLUTELY sure it’s legit.

      • Mark, this is so true! I googled yahoo mail for a # to speak to a person when I couldn’t access my yahoo mail after trying everything.
        That # was to a scammer whom I let access my computer before I realized what they actually were!
        They insisted they were on the up and up and even connected me to a Microsoft agent who would supposedly fix the problem.
        He started telling me I would need to get $150 in an I TUNE card while he was working on my computer! Whoa! I told him I was going to report them to feds, then unplugged my computer. Now I’m scared and will purchase a new computer because I’m afraid I’m still at risk.
        {removed}@yahoo. com (using my alternate for contact at this time)

  26. Since I did not read this about these scammers and let one in, how do you disconnect any possible backdoors or possibilities they can reach in and mess up the system?

  27. I called HP support but somehow got transferred to a company called Arrow Systems Tech support. They fixed my computer but when I went to email them a question today the email bounced back as unknown. I then called the number they called me from yesterday and was told it was a wrong number and got hung up on. I am suppose to FedEx them $400 for the repair and security software. I plan on holding off until I talk to someone.

    My question is if this is a scam can they now re-enter into my computer at will and steal my info? Is there a way to lock them out and get rid of any virus they may have planted?

  28. Each and every warning you have posted is totally valid. An analogy is to never give the key to your house to a repair person unless you have known them for years and even then check them with BBB before even considering it.
    As to Remote Access, I have been using {removed} now known as {removed}for many, many years. It was at your recommendation that inspired me to initially trust them to have access to my PC’s. They are an international firm and have proved to be trustworthy, professionally competent, reliable and readily available. On the rarest of occasions a technician will do something that proves to be incompatible and causes disturbing reactions. However a call and request for a senior technician to undo the incompatibility repair and to then correctly cure the problem is always conveniently available.
    {removed} charge is a fixed annual fee regardless of how often or how intricate is your need.

  29. I fell prey to a scam today and allowed someone who I thought was a legitimate tech, remote access. After realizing this was a scam, my husband did a complete back up of our system. My concern is having access to the ip addresses and other devices that we connect wireless. Is there anything we should do with our tablets and phones?

    • If it were me, I would completely reformat the compromised computer and reinstall a fresh new operating system. Once you get that computer secure then you don’t need to worry about the others.

  30. Hi,
    I recently had the need to use such remote access in a work situation. It was a security issue.The techy though third party was in some way “trusted” by the company.

    However immediately he set the Teamviewer to “Unattended Access” then also “Black Screen Working”. I shut it down as this seemed very risky.

    Now we are having a philosophical argument. They say its “normal”, you “have to trust us”, and there is “nothing sinister”.

    I say maybe, but…… Is black screen really necessary, it’s like someoen coming to work on your bank vault and them asking you to go away while they fix it. Also and maybe more importantly it’s normalising or encouraging such behaviour, so that the next time (when it may be someone with bad intent) you allow access without a second thought.

    So i say encouraging a client (no matter how trusted you think the relationship is) to allow unrestricted (unattended access) AND hidden (black screen) access is very poor practice and should not happen, as it ENCOURAGES poor security practice.

    • It’s probably safe, in that case, if your company trusts them, it’s their responsibility anyway, but you are right. I don’t see it as good practice, blocking you from seeing what they are doing and especially allowing unattended access. In fact, when I work on a machine, I prefer to have the person looking on so they can’t later accuse me of doing something behind their back. I do have unattended access to a couple of close friends, but even that’s not always recommended as it can sometimes destroy friendships.

  31. Can remote tech access my computer when I am not online? And how do I disable remote access when I’m not using them. Is it normal to have them leave their remote icon connection on my computer when I am not using them? They left their icon on my taskbar in the action center box. I asked them to remove it from there and they said they couldn’t. Am I being paranoid or what?

    • If you leave their software running, then sure they can continue to access your machine while it’s online. (If you’re disconnected from the internet then no one can connect to anything.) How to turn it off depends on the specific service they’re using.

  32. Once I’ve allowed tech support to remotely access my computer, how can I make sure they are not continuing to use it?

    • In absolute terms, you cannot. In practical terms, uninstall whatever tool it was they had you install that allowed remote access.

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