Friday, September 17, 2010

The Usual Story

Mrs Crusoe has a problem. Sadly, it seems all too common - and not just with men of a 'particular' age...

Mr Crusoe has lost interest in her, sexually.

That part's not really the problem - although I guess it could be bad enough - but no, Mr Crusoe *hasn't* lost interest, sexually, in other women. Just his wife.

See where this is heading?

Obviously, this where I step in. A nervous Mrs Crusoe meets me at a nearby cafe for a discreet rendezvous. Normally I'd suggest my office but the cafe is close and more convenient for her. Also, the coffee is good.

Mrs Crusoe goes over the background of her husband's 'problem'. It seems that his behaviour had been somewhat erratic over the past year or so and she had wondered about his relationship with the daughter of a family friend as she had intercepted a number of emails that he had sent to her that indicated some ongoing contact.

However, given that this female resided abroad, Mr Crusoe's chances of offending were rather slim and perhaps this was more of a fantasy on his part rather than any real affair.

Mrs Crusoe had, at some point, confronted her errant husband and he confessed to having had paid for sex with a prostitute. What was more disturbing was that his confession went from just the one occasion to up to around ten separate instances that he'd had his pants down in inappropriate places.

Given that people tend to minimise their activities in confessions, the only thing we can believe is that he'd paid for sex *at least* ten times. 

Now, and this is just me, but surely at this point you'd be thinking it was time to call it quits...?

Not so for Mrs Crusoe. It seems that the Crusoes are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary and she isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet. This is known as the sunk cost dilemma in Game Theory.

No, Mrs Crusoe wants evidence of his philandering and it seems that there may be another woman he is cultivating a relationship with. Mrs Crusoe believes her husband is spending a lot of time at his computer emailing and messaging her, or at least someone. The reason Mrs Crusoe knows of the other woman is through some clever snooping of her own  but now she wants a professional to take over so as not to jeapordise the investigation.  

Good thinking!

The first thing she wants done is getting access to his computer. Because Mr Crusoe is security-conscious, or perhaps just paranoid at being found out, he has a password set up that only he can gain admin access. The login for Mrs Crusoe gives only partial access to the PC and nothing to anything worth checking.

So, my first task is simple: I install a PS/2 keylogger between keyboard and PC to gain his login so we could then install a software-based spy programme that offered greater functionality than just a keylogger. 

I'd been warned that Mr Crusoe was virtually an obsessive-compulsive and Mrs Crusoe was exceedingly worried that if we left the keylogger in place for too long, he would notice. Apparently, he liked to tinker with the computer and would often be fiddling with it.

Well, he *did* notice that something was amiss - perhaps we moved the PC a millimetre from its usual place. He asked Mrs Crusoe if she'd been doing something to the computer. He did not notice the keylogger, however.

Within a day we had access to his login and installed the spy programme. Configured to email reports to a disposable external email address (I have a number set up, just for this purpose) we are soon receiving copies of his emails sent and received as well as all keystrokes and thumbnailed screen captures.

So far there is nothing indicating anything untoward, but the investigation is only just beginning.

Watch this space...


  1. Love the reference to game theory - and the sunk cost dilemma is a great way to introduce people to aspects of game theory without them being overwhelmed by its entirity.

    Or them realising that behaviour can increasingly be modelled using mathematics so long as you can place reasonable values on the variables.

  2. Yes it's good to know that the massively expensive education (that I've yet to pay a cent towards the student loan thereof) was of some use to me.