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Old 04-04-2011, 06:54   #1
Gombu
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Employer Snooping on employee PC Question

Hello All,

Just curious I use an employee issue laptop to work from home, hot-spots, hotels, etc

I do not work from an employer office so there is not a employee network that I dial into. I am a contractor working for a small (<100) person company.

I use MS Outlook for email and firefox for web browsing. The firefox history is deleted when I close FF each day.

They are using a program called Iron Mountain to back up data, I can see the files saved, nothing looks web related.

Can my employer track where I have visited? Is there something I can check to see if that is the case?

I always wondered how this works.

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:10   #2
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We use monitoring software that tracks where people are browsing from our network and we can track it back to individual users. This functions at our proxy server layer and you can't get around it. We also have agents deployed to our laptops that track usage when people are off our network and reports that usage back to our central server. The primary purpose of this software however, is to block malicious sites and those sites that HR has determined are inappropriate such as pornography.

Clearing your history will have no affect whatsoever on that sort of monitoring. You should have been informed of what expectation of privacy you may or may not have on the corporate network and when using corporate assets.

Also, we regularly monitor employee email to ensure that no privacy information, credit card information, or other confidential/sensitive information is leaving our borders.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:14   #3
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Great questions. I just always like to think of it as not snooping since it's their computer anyhow. Sounds a little less nefarious that way.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:18   #4
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Employer's computer, employer's network. You have no expectation of privacy. Check it in the employee's handbook.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:52   #5
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Since this is tech talk

My question relates to "how does this work"? Easy to understand when you are at a physical office in an office or cubical.

I work from home or on the road, so am I actually on their network? I could see how this would be the case for email using the company server.

BUT how about on the web? Do I ever touch a company server for the web? If so how?
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:56   #6
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They could have a keylogger, or custom monitoring application that records your traffic. If it's primarily used off of the employer's network, I seriously doubt they monitor/track usage.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:57   #7
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chivvalry

Thanks, for your response. Does this work the same way when a laptop is out of the office? Is it actually on a company server for web browsing?

jferrante

I agree snooping may not have been the best wording.

StarfoxHowl

I agree, but your response was not an answer to my question. I am not questioning privacy.

Last edited by Gombu; 04-04-2011 at 10:59..
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:02   #8
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As I said... there may be an agent on your PC that is monitoring your web surfing and/or blocking certain sites. This agent could be communicating to a central server for reporting.

We do this... our employees are aware we do this as even off the corporate network if they go to a site that is in the "naughty list" they will receive a block message. If you go to a porno site and receive no blocking message it is unlikely, though still possible, that your activity is monitored and/or filtered.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:22   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gombu View Post
chivvalry

Thanks, for your response. Does this work the same way when a laptop is out of the office? Is it actually on a company server for web browsing?
If you're using a random WIFI spot then no, you shouldn't even touch their proxy unless it's in the Firefox settings to actually use the proxy. Which can be changed with a mouse click (as long as you have permissions).

Otherwise, they would have to install special software to do it. Not sure they would go through all that hassle, but it is 100% legal for them to do it so if you get busted there's no getting around it.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:45   #10
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My advise would be to buy your own computer. They're cheap. Use the work computer for work stuff, and use your computer for recreational stuff.
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Old 04-04-2011, 13:46   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gombu View Post
Can my employer track where I have visited? Is there something I can check to see if that is the case?
Yes

I could tell you to check 100 things and they could be doing it through other means.

As others have suggested, use the work computer for work. Use the private computer for private stuff.

It you want to get special, get an external hard drive and install another operating system on it. Then boot setup the computer to boot from the external hard drive going through your own internet connection.
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Old 04-04-2011, 14:07   #12
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Originally Posted by RWBlue View Post
Yes

I could tell you to check 100 things and they could be doing it through other means.

As others have suggested, use the work computer for work. Use the private computer for private stuff.

It you want to get special, get an external hard drive and install another operating system on it. Then boot setup the computer to boot from the external hard drive going through your own internet connection.

Could boot a linux instance off of a USB stick...
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Old 04-04-2011, 16:27   #13
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Originally Posted by chivvalry View Post
Could boot a linux instance off of a USB stick...
Exactly!
By booting to your own OS and going thru your own connection to the internet you have side stepped the corporate world.

This is the cheapest/lightest way to get another personal computer.
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Old 04-12-2011, 17:49   #14
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Originally Posted by StarfoxHowl View Post
Employer's computer, employer's network. You have no expectation of privacy. Check it in the employee's handbook.

BINGO. They can do what they please with their equipment. Plus, while using this computer, your on their dime, so they have the right to monitor your use of said laptop.

My hospital system issued me a laptop as their travelling RN so that I could connect via 4G wifi with the hospital intranet and they have a program that is web based that's integrated into the OS and all online usage is monitored offsite, so their is no way to alter records.
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Old 04-17-2011, 16:32   #15
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I spent two years as an atty/investigator at a defense contractor going after persons who misused their company resources for everything from frisky pix to running side businesses on our networks.

Fun job until we had to have a job terminating discussion.

One of the few people paid to look at interesting photos

Keep you biz computer business and use your personal one as you wish.

Question: If I run Linux on my own netbook, how do I use my own Internet connection? Buy my own wifi USB device for $50/month? But can I use the corp wifi router to get to the Net to see my GlockTalk basically?
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Old 04-17-2011, 17:33   #16
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I spent two years as an atty/investigator at a defense contractor going after persons who misused their company resources for everything from frisky pix to running side businesses on our networks.

Fun job until we had to have a job terminating discussion.

One of the few people paid to look at interesting photos

Keep you biz computer business and use your personal one as you wish.

Question: If I run Linux on my own netbook, how do I use my own Internet connection? Buy my own wifi USB device for $50/month? But can I use the corp wifi router to get to the Net to see my GlockTalk basically?
Basically, you buy a hard drive/memory stick and everything else that you would normally need (except the computer).

As far as getting a wifi device, I use a smart phone for one location. For other areas, I find wifi for free.

But the underlying concept is you are on your own. You have to pay for being on your own.

BTW, I have been paid to look at people's computers also. There are things that can not be unseen.
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Last edited by RWBlue; 04-17-2011 at 18:07..
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Old 04-17-2011, 19:23   #17
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If you already have a smartphone then just tether it. 3G is sufficient for most surfing needs.
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Old 04-17-2011, 21:08   #18
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Employer's computer, employer's network. You have no expectation of privacy. Check it in the employee's handbook.
This



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Old 04-18-2011, 13:43   #19
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I once discovered a employee surfing gay (men on men) websites! When I approached the HR director the first thing she said was "no names!".

We had a meeting with the CEO (who also didn't want to know the name) and it was decide that I would send out a company wide e-mail warning that Internet use is for company business only and that using company resources to access, view, or reach any pornographic, immoral, unethical or non-business-related sites was strictly prohibited.

A couple of weeks went by before he started accessing the site again, both the CEO and HR wanted the name and he was terminated ... it was the HR director's assistant.


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Old 04-18-2011, 13:45   #20
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Your title says "Employer Snooping on employee PC Question"
If it is your PC you may do with it what you want. If it is a company PC they may do with it what they want and impose any sanctions/restrictions/tracking software etc....
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Old 04-18-2011, 13:52   #21
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When I was in the military running a base network control center we put in the first firewall for the base... One of my contractors came to my office the third day the FW was in and said, "Uhhh... hey LT, if I see something funny do you want to know about it?" My response was obvious... He was watching the logs scroll and saw the word "lolita" go by.

Long story short the mustang 1LT that was downloading child pornography on a government computer and prostituting his wife who he was also abusing in other ways went to Leavenworth for a nice long stay.

Felt real good to help send that dirtbag away.
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Old 04-20-2011, 22:31   #22
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To put it as simply as possible,... if you don't want your employer to know what you're doing on his computer,... get your own,... even a cheap netbook.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:58   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncan View Post
I spent two years as an atty/investigator at a defense contractor going after persons who misused their company resources for everything from frisky pix to running side businesses on our networks.

Fun job until we had to have a job terminating discussion.

One of the few people paid to look at interesting photos

Keep you biz computer business and use your personal one as you wish.

Question: If I run Linux on my own netbook, how do I use my own Internet connection? Buy my own wifi USB device for $50/month? But can I use the corp wifi router to get to the Net to see my GlockTalk basically?
Hi Duncan. I'm former LEO in computer crimes and now work for a major, multinational energy company as head of computer forensics. I can certainly relate to your experiences.

Gombu, I suspect your web browsing is not being monitored, although it could be, but let me echo what others have said and just use your own personal device for personal stuff. I use an iPad when I travel for browsing, e-mail, and entertainment.

Chivvalry, love your signature. +1!
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Old 04-22-2011, 16:47   #24
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As a senior network engineer I know first hand the junk that companies install to monitor their systems. And I agree it's company property.

However, I use to dual boot my company Thinkpad and use Linux for MY uses.
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