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Q: Email/chat group/IM tracing ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: Email/chat group/IM tracing
Category: Relationships and Society > Romance
Asked by: heartbrokeninjose-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 09 Jun 2004 23:06 PDT
Expires: 09 Jul 2004 23:06 PDT
Question ID: 359012
About 6 months ago I found out my husband was participating in yahoo
chat groups. He has been doing this for about 4 years, becoming quite
involved with some of the people he has met online. I know it is
possible to trace his chats somehow and also his instant messaging but
I do not know how to do this. How can I retrieve his archived chat
sessions and can I trace his interaction with soecific induviduals if
I knew their email addresses?
Subject: Re: Email/chat group/IM tracing
Answered By: larre-ga on 10 Jun 2004 01:10 PDT

There are items of Internet communication that can be traced, and
others that cannot. Instant Messaging and Chats are stored only in
temporary memory, unless a user chooses to save them independently.
Once deleted, it often takes a skilled professional to retrieve that
sort of data from a hard drive. If the user is computer savvy, it
could well be impossible to locate erased information, since there are
a number of utilities that both erase data and reformat the disk space
it occupied.

That said, there are, however, several commercial utilities and
applications that make it possible for amateurs to search specific
program files for Pixie Dust... traces of what has gone before.

Searching for stored packets on the Internet or on others computers or
storage spaces might be technically possible, however, most searching
of that type is illegal. Google Answers cannot provide you with
information about unlawful activities. Knowing an email address
doesn't necessarily mean you can trace the individual. There are a
number of ways to hide ones identity using web-based services. Once
you have an email address, your best tracing option would be to work
with a licensed private detective with computer forensic skills.

The best option at this point is to secure your computer with a
combination of hardware and software, in order to know everything that
goes in and out from now on.

Keystroke Loggers

From Wikipedia: "Keystroke logging is a diagnostic used in software
development that captures the user's keystrokes. It can be useful to
determine sources of error in computer systems. Such systems are also
highly useful for law enforcement and espionage -- for instance,
providing a means to obtain passwords or encryption keys and thus
bypassing other security measures."

Wikipedia - Keystroke Logging

Software keyloggers can be detected by Spyware Removal Tools. If
you're serious about finding out what is happening on your computer,
with minimal risk of counterdetection, you'd probably want to use a
hardware keylogger, rather than software, though I've listed two of
the better applications.

KeyKatcher is a relatively inexpensive hardware keylogger, but it has
some limitations. It works only on PC PS/2 keyboard plugs, not USB

Keylogger provides three keylogging products: a keylogging replacement
keyboard, a plug-in, stand-alone keylogger, and stealth keylogging

Keylogger Hardware and Software

KeyGhost offers several different models of hardware keyloggers. They
are easy to install and use, and offer a high level of security
against detection.


Pal Keylogger Pro is a commercial grade software keylogger with an
extensive list of features. It can capture Instant Messages, emails,
chats, even java chats.

Keylogger Pro

Pal Solutions Security Products

Forensic Tools

These tools may help you investigate data that is already on your computer system. 

DriveLook is a powerful forensic disk investigation tool.

-- Index a hard drive for all text that ever was written to it
-- Browse a list of all words stored on the drive
-- Search for words or combinations of words
-- View the location of words in a disk editor
-- Switch between several views, such as hex and text view
-- Use physical drives or logical drives as an input
-- Use image files as an input  
"DriveLook scans a drive or a partition of a drive for text strings
and stores these in a table. After completion of the scan you can
browse this table and view the locations where the words had been
found. The search function allows you to do fast fast inquiries for
combinations of words."

DriveLook Forensic Disk Investigation Tool

Omniquad Detective is another computer system forensic tool. Omniquad can:

-- Monitor computer usage. 
-- Reconstruct activities retrospectively. 
-- Protect your organization's information. 
-- Identify users attempting to cover their tracks. 
-- Conduct batch scans across your network. 
-- Carry out rigorous content analysis. 
-- Define user search patterns. 

Omniquad Detective - Features/Download

Website Resources

A new website offers a combination of software products and advice to
those who believe that online infidelity may be an issue in their

Spies Online - Cheating Partner provides a number of useful resources,
from forensic software to articles, to detection kits and relationship

Cheating Partner

Search Strategy

Internet Security Experience, Bookmarks, Google Search Terms:

keystroke loggers hardware
cheating spouse

I hope you find this information useful. Should you have any questions
about the materials or links I've provided, please, feel free to ask
for Clarification.

Best regards,

Subject: Re: Email/chat group/IM tracing
From: steph53-ga on 10 Jun 2004 05:25 PDT
In MSN messenger, if you log in as your husband, just right click on
an individual buddy on the list to view the chat history.

In Yahoo IM, click on contacts tab and go to archived messages.
Subject: Re: Email/chat group/IM tracing
From: hsapien138-ga on 10 Jun 2004 17:51 PDT

The above noted information is fine and accurate.

However, I am of the opinion that social engineering remains the most
effective tool for research.

If you know his profile name this will help. 
Most passwordsd are fairly elementary. By this i mean XXX123456,
initals and b-day. xxxxxxzz-childs name and year of birth. it takes
patience and committment to find what  you need.

Back engineering html info helps as well. If a site is
try etc.

The best was is a trap. If you think you know him go opposite. Develop
a profile and well you fill in the blank.

I know that there is a author posting tool on the old i
cannot find it. I think that organinc google email customers have
access. This workd for PUBLIC domains/chats/groups (i think). Good
luck, I might took me 4 months to confirm what I felt. I
should have just went on my intestinal fortitude and removed myself.
But alas, I needed to find the answer...ciao
Subject: Re: Email/chat group/IM tracing
From: anonymussedhair-ga on 10 Jun 2004 20:33 PDT
Read "In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online
Sexual Behavior" to understand.  Most likely, your husband has an
addiction. Chances are, he will not change. There are deep seeded
problems going way back to his childhood. Like alcoholism, this
"disease" actually progresses. If he's not a casual user... if he
covers his tracks... if he lies to you and makes excuses... if he
loses track of time... he's already there.

No. I'm not a prude. I believe in free speech, and free will.  I have
no moral objection to adult activity online.  However, unfortunately,
my s.o. has been dealing with this issue for many many years, and
cannot stop. Spying and quarreling will most likely not help the
issue. It is bigger than the both of you. When I confirmed my
suspicions by spying, (which I did many times over the past 20 years
via various means) all it did was make me feel worse and more angry.
He always came back with some story about how I was exagerating the

Spying won't solve the problem. It will most likely make you sick. 
Talking to him will not solve it either, unless he's ready to change
his behavior. And, if this is the first time you've caught him, he's
not ready yet--trust me. He may tell you it's none of your business,
or that it has nothing to do with you. He may tell you that he will
stop, but even if he tries, statistics are against him.

It does not mean he does not love you, but his capacity for intimacy
is severely hindered. If you do not already have children, there's
still time to get out of the relationship. Unfortunately, we now have
a family and the decision to leave impacts then multiple people
instead of just the two of us.

If I knew 15 years ago what I know now... I wouldn't be in this
situation. I would've left him while I still could, in spite of being
Catholic. The pain this has caused me (primarily the lack of intimacy
and a true, honest relationship) has made me a lesser person, and I am
only now recovering from many years of reduced self esteem and self
hate surrounding feelings of inadequacy because I was not (and am
still not, and never will be) enough. I love a person who cannot stop.
 All the people we are aware of in counseling for sex addiction,
online sex addiction and co-dependency have recurring issues. Not one
of them has successfully overcome this after many years. (This may not
be representative of the entire addictive population, but is the case
in our particular group.)

There's a big white elephant in your living room. Seek marriage and
individual counseling, and you have a chance to make it work. You: for
co-dependence. Him for addictive sexual behavior. If he refuses to go,
you should go anyway, and make sure to work with someone who
understands co-dependency and addictive behavior.

My heart goes out to you. I know what you are going through, my dear.
I live it every single day... and it haunts me worse than the most
gruesome of nightmares. I've got over 20 years until the children are
grown and out of the house. By then, I will be in my 60's and will
have lived my entire adult life in this situation. What keeps me
going? Knowing that there is a good chance that if I take my girls
away from their father, they will have their OWN issues with
abandonment and seeking male approval, and the cycle would continue
for another generation. They could seek early sexual experiences or
choose the right man in looking for male relationships.

I am doing all that I can to ensure that they have a happy, wonderful
childhood, as he is a good father. I hope that the girls can break the
chain of addiction that has cursed his family for many, many years.
(And that I can break the chain of co-dependency, work-aholic, control
freak behavior that I've employed because I didn't have the courage to
leave him when I first found out he had a serios problem. We didn't
know as much then, and the Internet has exacerbated the problem

So, my daughters see us as a normal family. We do not argue in front
of them (not to say we don't have disagreements) and we do many things
as a family to give them a strong foundation.

If I do leave him in the future, my goal is that it will be after they
have formed solid relationships with their own partners, and the news
will have a less detrimental effect on their psyche.

But, like I said, if I knew then what I know now... my life would be much different.
Subject: Re: Email/chat group/IM tracing
From: cute21-ga on 19 Jun 2004 09:32 PDT
I do agree with the one commented before. No need to follow him. The
relationship on the internet is not such serious, just for sharing
idea and relaxing. Some people like me using it to network with old
friends and work.

No need to trace him!! Don't be worry.
Subject: Re: Email/chat group/IM tracing
From: disndat-ga on 29 Jun 2004 03:57 PDT
It seems that every answer so far is destined to ruin the
relationship, or lead to long term resentment and hostility.  Spying,
snooping, ignoring or accepting the burden for the sake of your
children all seem like ways to end up unhappy and alone in spirit. 
Another angle would be to let your husband know that you are curious
about him and his computer time, and try to let him know that whatever
is happening, you'd like "in" on it, and would accept anything with an
open mind, and go from there.  You may find that it is much more
trivial than you thought, or it may break your heart with
confirmation, but it does leave the door open to actually grow a
stronger relationship, and to feel better about yourself.   Theres a
good chance that he feels that what he is doing is wrong, or
embarrasing, or unacceptable by you, any of which could give rise to
his need for secrecy. He may want to, or be willing to, share his
activity if he felt more secure about the outcome with you.  That may
be completely off-base, but I think I would rather start with a
solution that holds an option for building and growing, and not one
that could only ruin the foundation of your marriage.
Subject: Re: Email/chat group/IM tracing
From: goodalwaysrules-ga on 22 Dec 2004 08:50 PST
When you want to trace an IM or email, you want results fast and not
alot of confusing recommendations.  Go to to trace any
email, IM, etc., address.  It will cost you some minor bucks, but the
results are quick, real, and oh so satisfying.  Cheaper than hiring a
private detective.

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