Facebook : Am I going completely mental or….?
March 10, 2017 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Hi guys I have a question about something that’s mildly (a lot) freaking me out. But it may be nothing. Or it is something. So I’m hoping your techy expertise may help!

3 years ago I broke with my ex.

I went full scorched earth no contact as much as possible, because I felt like he was very manipulative and actually a very odd man. He had previously had slightly stalky tendencies (we broke up and made up frequently and during those times he’d sometimes just turn up outside my house, or admit later he had been poring over my facebook). But nothing too unsettling.

Apart from one time when we got back together after a break up and he said (fairly casually) that he had considered going into my facebook to see what I was up to, but hadn’t. OKthen…like so many things at the time I filed it under “look how much he loves me” I tried not to be squicked out by it.

When we finally broke up 3 years ago, I changed my fb password (because of what he’d said) and went on my merry way.

Well today I’ve been looking at my facebook “where you’ve been logged in from” and saw lots of active sessions which all made sense, but also saw one from a few months ago, from a small market town 20 miles away from where I live. I know this is where my ex now lives.

Now all the other active sessions are exactly where I’d expect them to be. And on that day, at that time, I was about 30 miles north in another town with my phone on wifi.

Just seeing this particular location really jolted me because he is the only person I know who lives there. But how could he have logged in? well, when I changed my password I just changed it to another common password of mine, thinking about it, he probably knows it.

However I’m also aware that IP addresses and these locations are approximate and don’t want to be paranoid.

I also recently noticed on linked in that he had checked my profile (I’m not sure if he realises I can see that). I don’t have him blocked on linkedin as I do on fb because there’s nothing really on there of interest.

So obviously I can change my password but my question is more this – technically speaking, what’s more likely? That this is an weird coincidental IP address snafu or that my ex logged on to my account? I’m hoping for weird coincidence.
posted by mrmulliner to Technology (12 answers total)
If the device listed matched yours, IP location weirdness. If not, possible password guessing.

I'll take the opportunity to recommend the use of a password manager with 2 factor authentication, as it can basically eliminate the risk of this scenario.
posted by PMdixon at 1:38 PM on March 10, 2017 [7 favorites]

If it wasn't your device, I would say it's extremely likely that he's logging into your Facebook and checking it out. I'm basing this on the fact that he literally said out loud that he'd thought about it and that you think he might know your new password and that he's still keeping tabs on you on the web. This is in line with his other stalker-ish behavior.

I wouldn't accuse him to his face with any certainty, but I would absolutely change the password to something completely new (or use a password manager).
posted by stoneandstar at 1:41 PM on March 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Just change your password. Use a tool like 1Password to generate a new random one.

Once that's taken care of, you can honestly ask yourself if it really matters whether it was him or not. And if it doesn't matter, you've eliminated something to trouble yourself with.
posted by billjings at 1:50 PM on March 10, 2017 [10 favorites]

And you might want to change your other accounts that have the same passwords, too, particularly if one of them is your primary email.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:58 PM on March 10, 2017 [8 favorites]

Time to change everything that uses either one of those old passwords and to use a different computer to make those changes. This means a library, work or friend's computer. It is a good idea to make all of your passwords random and to use a password manager like LastPass, as others have said. If you don't want to do that, at least think up a new generic password that has nothing to do with your real life. Give it a capital letter, a number and a special character.
posted by soelo at 1:59 PM on March 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

It might just be a conincedence; geo ip tagging can be quite poor, but it can be good to listen to your safety instincts. Is it possibly to revisit the wifi point that was not your usualy haunt, but also not your ex's city? If you can, login to your normal accounts and check your history to see where they think you are.

If he had your facebook password while dating, did he have access to your laptop, and your laptop/desktop password? Or an account with admin rights? If so, your machine might be RAT'ed, or might have "just" a keylogger installed.

Scary stalker person with access to your machine and poor boundaries can be really bad. If you have a good technical friend who would feel comfortable looking to see if your machines are compromised that would be good. Rather than going to a nerds r us sort of supprt, I'd recoomend fewer headaches by going scorched earth; backup any data you need, then fully wipe the drives of any machines, and then re-install from scratch. If going this route, don't forget to include your phone as a vector of compromise.

If you want to try and "be sure" first, force all logouts, changes your facebook PW and google or apple PW's to something unguessable. Then from a machine you don't own (a library, or possibly a work machine) consistently check your security settings and login history. Check that your history isn't getting cleared.
posted by nobeagle at 2:02 PM on March 10, 2017 [7 favorites]

nobeagle's advice is definitely that which minimizes the chance of future breaches.
posted by PMdixon at 2:08 PM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think, but am not certain, that failed login attempts may also show up in that log.
posted by mercredi at 2:38 PM on March 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is it possibly to revisit the wifi point that was not your usualy haunt, but also not your ex's city? If you can, login to your normal accounts and check your history to see where they think you are.

This definitely seems worth trying in order to eliminate the worry, but given that it's possible that the WiFi you were using was through a network with a dynamic IP address (particularly if it was domestic, but possibly for some businesses), which would probably have changed by now, you might not be able to eliminate the possibility that he's been snooping. But given that you're worrying anyway, and are not being irrational in that worry, doing as much security hardening as you can seems like the way to go, just for peace of mind.
posted by howfar at 3:30 PM on March 10, 2017

I don't want to add to your worry, but an ex of mine *did* install a keylogger on my computer. Luckily I caught it immediately. A keylogger would allow him to know your new password. Do you know how to suss out whether that had happened? A more technical friend did it for me using an anti-malware program.
posted by mai at 4:11 PM on March 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

Absolutely change all of your passwords and use a series of upper and lower case letters, also use random numbers. He's def creepy
posted by Avosunspin at 1:21 AM on March 12, 2017

Thanks so much for all of your solid advice. I would love to think I'm being paranoid and there's a good chance I am, but if nothing else this has taught me to be more mindful of my personal security.

My mind also did go to the idea of a datalogger and think "phew thank god I haven't got the same machine as when I was with him". Which probably speaks volumes about what I thought he could be capable of.

thanks again mefites
posted by mrmulliner at 1:01 PM on March 12, 2017

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