Breach Messages

Whenever a program does something that might invade your privacy, SnoopFree Privacy Shield displays a popup message that describes what the program has done and allows you to decide how to proceed.  These popup messages are called Breach Messages.  Each breach message contains the following parts:

Warning Text

In the top area of the breach message window, you will see the reason for the message's appearance.  We recommend that you pay close attention to the information in this area of the window.  You can review all of the available warning text by clicking here.

Allow Access Button

Click on this button only if you're sure that it's okay for the selected program file to have access to your sensitive information.  Before you click on this button, we strongly recommend that you click on the "More Information" button and review all information about the selected program.  If you mistakenly allow access for a program, simply visit the Main Interface, find the program file in the Access Control View and tell Privacy Shield to "Forget File".

When you allow access for a program, SnoopFree Privacy Shield remembers your personal choice.  Other users of your computer will have their own choices saved.  If the program file changes for any reason, SnoopFree Privacy Shield will re-ask you for access if the program file generates another breach.  This is for your security from viruses or Trojan horse programs that may install themselves in another program file.

Deny Access Button

Click on this button if you don't want the selected program file to have access to your sensitive information.  If you mistakenly deny access for a program, simply visit the Main Interface, find the program file in the Access Control View and tell Privacy Shield to "Forget File".

When you deny access for a program, SnoopFree Privacy Shield remembers your personal choice.  Other users of your computer will have their own choices saved.

More Information Button

This is arguable the most important button on the breach message window.  Click on this button to review detailed information about the type of breach and the selected program file.  We recommend that you review all of the available information before you decide to allow or deny the offending program.  When you click on this button, a new window will be displayed:

Program Details

At the top of the More Information window is an area labeled "Program Details".  This area contains vital information about the offending program.  Click on the items under the "Item Name" heading to select the category of information to review.  The value of the selected item will be displayed in the area underneath the "Value" heading.  We recommend that you review each piece of information to make sure you recognize the offending program before allowing access.

Breach Details

At the bottom of this window is detailed information about the breach that has just occurred.  You should read all of this text for specific information to help you decide how to proceed.  You can also view copies of this information here.

Done Button

When you're done reviewing all of the available information, click on this button to return to the breach window.

Keyboard Filter Drivers

There is a special kind of breach that is not covered by the previous documentation.  That is the keyboard filter driver breach.  A keyboard filter driver is a special piece of software that has access to every key you press.  Such drivers are special because they are loaded very early in your computer's startup process.  They cannot be unloaded without rebooting your computer and they are always active -- even when you're not logged in.  SnoopFree Privacy Shield can detect and disable keyboard filter drivers.  If a keyboard filter driver is installed on your computer, you will receive the following message:

Of course, the driver's name will display the name of the driver that was detected.  You can choose to allow the filter driver to access your computer or not.

Keyboard Filter Driver Tips

Our general advice to you is to disallow all keyboard filter drivers unless you're sure you need them.  Such drivers are very dangerous to your digital privacy.

  1. A standard Windows XP installation does not have keyboard filter drivers installed.
  2. Keyboard filter drivers are very rare and are either part of a spy program or some kind of keyboard-altering software.
  3. When in doubt, deny access...

Warning Text Examples

The following is a copy of all available breach window warning and detail text.  Please review this information so that you are familiar with it before you encounter a dangerous breach:

Unauthorized Keyboard Hook

Unauthorized Keyboard Hook Warning Text:

Unauthorized Keyboard Hook
EXTREME PRIVACY RISK --
Use Extreme Caution

Program Name: "Some Program"
Program Path  : "C:\Program Files\Some Program.exe"

The program named above is trying to hook your keyboard.  If you allow this, the program will be able to watch every key you press.  If you want to allow this program to watch every key you press, you should click the 'Allow Access' button below.

If you're not sure that you want to allow this program to watch your keyboard, you can get more information by clicking the 'More Information' button below.

Unauthorized Keyboard Hook Breach Details:

EXTREME PRIVACY RISK
If you have any doubts about the program that is trying to install this keyboard hook then DO NOT give it permission to do so.  Be absolutely sure that you recognize this program and that you expect it to watch your keyboard.
 

Should I allow this program to install a "Keyboard Hook"?

If you want to be sure that your privacy is always protected, you should never allow keyboard hook access to any program.

Only allow this program to install a keyboard hook if all of the following are true: 

  1. You have reviewed all of the "Program Details" at the top of this window. 

  2. You are sure that the program file name is true and correct for the named program. 

  3. You recognize the program as needing to have special need to be informed of every key you press. 

What is a "Keyboard Hook"?

A keyboard hook is a way for a program to be notified every time you press a key.  If you allow a program to install a keyboard hook then each and every key that you press will be sent to it. 

How do "Keyboard Hooks" work?

Keyboard hooks work by forcing all programs that run on your machine to load special instructions into them that are provided by the hook-installing program.  Some of these instructions are executed whenever you press a key on your keyboard.  However, the special instructions do not have to be limited to just responding to your keyboard.  This makes keyboard hooks extremely dangerous to your privacy because there is no limitation to what these special instructions can be made to do. 

When does a Spy Program use a "Keyboard Hook"?

It is very common for spy programs to use keyboard hooks to watch your keyboard.  In fact, a keyboard hook is the only reliable way to be informed each and every time you press a key.  Spy programs can also use keyboard hooks to install screen-capture instructions in every program that runs on your computer.  This is why you should be extremely careful when deciding what programs should be allowed to install keyboard hooks. 

When does a harmless program use a "Keyboard Hook"?

Some programs that provide hot-key support will install a keyboard hook to detect when you press a special combination of keys.  A hot-key is a special combination of key presses that cause a program to do something.  If you know that the program described above provides hot-key support then it may be safe to allow it to watch your keyboard.  However, only give it access to your keyboard if you actually use the hot-keys. 

We’ve also found that some firewall and anti-Trojan software also installs keyboard hooks to track all programs running on your computer.  While this is true, you always want to be sure that you can trust a program that you give keyboard hook access to. 

EXTREME PRIVACY RISK
If you have any doubts about the program that is trying to install this keyboard hook then DO NOT give it permission to do so.  Be absolutely sure that you recognize this program and that you expect it to watch your keyboard.

Unauthorized Screen Access

Unauthorized Screen Access Warning Text:

Unauthorized Screen Access
MODERATE PRIVACY RISK
 

Program Name: "Some Program"
Program Path  : "C:\Program Files\Some Program.exe"

The program named above is trying to read your screen.  This may be a spy program trying to take a snapshot of your screen.  If you want to allow this program to read your screen, you should click the 'Allow Access' button below.   

If you're not sure that you want to allow this program to read your screen, you can get more information by clicking the 'More Information' button below.

Unauthorized Screen Access Breach Details:

MODERATE PRIVACY RISK
If you have any doubts about the program that is trying to read your screen then DO NOT give it permission to do so.  Be sure that you recognize this program and that it needs to read your screen.

Should I allow this program to read my screen?

If you want to be sure that your privacy is always protected, you should never allow screen access to any program.

If you view information that you don't want others to see (i.e. pictures, e-mails, private chats and documents) then you should not allow this program to read your screen.

Our advice is to allow this program to read your screen only if all of the following are true:

  1. You have reviewed all of the "Program Details" at the top of this window. 

  2. You are sure that the program file name is true and correct for the named program. 

  3. You know that the program needs to read your screen.

When does a Spy Program read the screen?

It is very common for spy programs to take pictures of the screen.  This allows a spy program operator to see what you see.  Usually, a spy program will allow the user to play back all of a watched machine's activity.  Basically, these programs will make a movie of your screen activity which is very dangerous to your privacy. 

When does a harmless program read the screen?

Some programs will read your screen from time to time.  This is most likely to happen while playing a computer game.  However, some Windows programs will read your screen to draw fancy fading effects on menus and other controls.  The worst thing that can happen to a harmless program if you deny access is that it may not display some special effects properly. 

MODERATE PRIVACY RISK
If you have any doubts about the program that is trying to read your screen then DO NOT give it permission to do so.  Be sure that you recognize this program and that it needs to read your screen.

Un-owned Window Read

Un-owned Window Read Warning Text:

Unowned  Window Read
EXTREME PRIVACY RISK --
Use Extreme Caution

Program Name: "Some Program"
Program Path  : "C:\Program Files\Some Program.exe"

The program named above is trying to read text from a window it does not own.  If you allow this, the program will be able to read sensitive text from any window at any time.  If you want to allow this program to read text from your windows, you should click the 'Allow Access' button below.

If you're not sure that you want to allow this program to read text from your windows, you can get more information by clicking the 'More Information' button below.

Un-owned Window Read Breach Details:

EXTREME PRIVACY RISK
If you have any doubts about the program trying to read from an unowned window then DO NOT give it permission to do so.  Be absolutely sure that you recognize this program and that you expect it to read text from unowned windows.

Should I allow this program to read from an unowned window?

If you want to be sure that your privacy is always protected, you should never allow unowned window read access to any program. 

Only allow this program to read from unowned windows if all of the following are true:

  1. You have reviewed all of the "Program Details" at the top of this window.

  2. You are sure that the program file name is true and correct for the named program.

  3. You know that the program needs to read text from unowned windows.

 What is an "Unowned Window Read"?

Each window on your desktop belongs to the program that created it.  Normally, programs only read text from windows that they created.  An unowned window read occurs when a program tries to read text from a window that it does not own.  If you allow a program to read from unowned windows then all text that you view may be read by the program at any time. 

When does a Spy Program use an "Unowned Window Read"?

It is very common for spy programs to read text from unowned windows.  This allows the spy program to capture chat conversations, e-mail messages and other sensitive text without having to take a picture of your entire screen. 

When does a harmless program use an "Unowned Window Read"?

Very few programs have an honest need to read text from unowned windows.  Be very careful when deciding to give access to a program. 

EXTREME PRIVACY RISK
If you have any doubts about the program trying to read from an unowned window then DO NOT give it permission to do so.  Be absolutely sure that you recognize this program and that you expect it to read text from unowned windows.