Is MateWatcher Watching You?

Proponents of parental monitoring software contend that these keylogging programs provide them with the means to protect their children from the various threats they face when online. When the same types of programs are used to monitor the behavior of adults without their knowledge or consent, it can compromise the safety of data and infringe on privacy.  MateWatcher urges, “Simply install it and in seconds your [sic] Secretly Monitoring!”  What if you are the one who is being watched?

What is MateWatcher?

This program is a keylogger, a software application that tracks each keystroke and logs it.  As the name implies, it is targeted towards suspicious spouses who want to keep an eye on extracurricular browsing.  According to the developer, MateWatcher records and saves text messages from AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, AIM, ICQ, and other services, as well as emails, passwords, programs used, websites visited, and other activity.  It stamps them with the time and date and allows the monitor to print any of the data recovered. The monitor can also create email alerts every time specified keywords or phrases are used (“meet tonight,” or “I love you” for example).

This type of program is often invaluable to parents who are trying to prevent their children from being victimized online, but it can just as easily be used for surveillance and spying on adults, including spouses, partners, girl/boyfriends, friends, family members, or employees.  Because it is possible for these programs to capture passwords, account numbers, usernames, and other sensitive data, they pose a threat to unsuspecting computer users.

Is MateWatcher Installed On Your Machine?

One of the strongest selling points of keylogger and monitoring software is its ability to run undetected.  Unfortunately, this feature also makes it incredibly difficult to tell if a keylogger has been installed on your computer. You may not notice anything amiss with your system; some users report that their computers are operating a little more slowly than usual, but this is not a definitive sign that a keylogger has been installed.

If you are familiar with your system registry and suspect your machine may be being monitored, you may be able to do some detective work and find MateWatcher.  When the program is installed, it creates specific entries for its own use.  These are very difficult for non-techs to identify as they appear very similar to other entries.

What Risks Does MateWatcher Pose?

When parents install monitoring software, they weigh the safety benefits against the loss of online privacy for their children.  When such a program is installed on an adult’s computer without their consent, there is no question that it violates their privacy.  A larger threat is that data is compromised.  When you use your computer for online banking, shopping, research, work, and communication, it is essential that you are sure it is secure.  A keylogger can be used to collect passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other personal and financial data.

MateWatcher can compromise your security in another way: when this program is installed, it can open network connections, disable security settings, modify system files, install malware, and/or self-mutate and update.

MateWatcher’s Mode of Entry

In most keylogger and monitoring programs, the installer has to have direct access to the computer which he wants to monitor.  Physical access is necessary on one occasion, and then monitoring could be done from a remote location. MateWatcher, however, can be deployed remotely. 

With this program, the monitor can create a file and email it to the person that he/she wants to monitor.  If the recipient opens the email, the file can install itself.  Once the computer has restarted, monitoring can begin.  While MateWatcher tells potential buyers, “you can only use this product to monitor computers you personally own or have been given explicit permission to monitor,” it is easy for someone without permission to install.

Removing MateWatcher

Removing MateWatcher poses a challenge for computer users because it is designed to evade detection and removal efforts.  Because these programs are legitimate when used correctly, they are most often not detected by standard antivirus and security programs.  Most of the files or registry entries that the program creates are buried deep in the system registry; the ones that you can detect can be deleted manually. 

The problem with this is that a majority of its files are hidden, and if you delete only a few entries, the keylogger can recreate itself.  This makes it very difficult to remove the program manually.  Only those with extensive technical experience should attempt manual removal (directions follow).

A far better solution is to use a software solution, such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Malwarebytes has free malware removal) , which safely and reliably removes MateWatcher, as well as other malware that has been installed with it. 

There are situations in which it is appropriate to monitor the activity on a computer, particularly when children are involved.  When a program like MateWatcher is installed without your knowledge, however, it becomes a threat to your privacy and to your data that needs to be eliminated.


Delete File:

[%PROGRAMS%]\Double-click to start Control Panel Software.lnk

Delete Registry Keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Userfriendlyproducts, Inc.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Control Panel Software

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