If you believe that your online activities are being monitored while they shouldn’t be, there are some tricks which can be used to determine if this is actually occurring or not. First, when a computer is being monitored it means that everything that is happening on that computer can be watched in real time. Filtering on the other hand is when sites such as porn sites are blocked, attachments are removed and spam is blocked before it enters the inbox. Thus there is a difference between the two.
When working in a corporate environment, if you feel you are being monitored you should be aware that everything you do on your computer is being watched. You should also assume that it will be unlikely that you find the software being used for monitoring. Corporate environments ensure that their computers are reconfigured and customized which don’t make the process of detection easy unless you are a hacker. However when you feel a family member or friend is spying on you, the following are some tips you could use.
A remote desktop is one of the easiest ways to log onto someone else’s computer. While windows doesn’t allow multiple connections to be made at once, users of windows are generally safe. If someone were to try and connect, the screen will lock itself and let you know who tried to connect to your computer. Thus in order to connect they have to make use of a third party software which is unlikely because it requires the person wanting to connect to log on to your computer and install the software and then restart the computer. Thus, if you feel this may have happened, all you have to do is check when your computer was last restarted and if you did so or not. You can also check on your icons tray to see whether or not another software is running.
While this was an easy detection method, there are some more complicated ways of checking whether or not you are being monitored. Firstly, check whether there are any open ports or not as third party apps tend to use these to connect to another computer. You can check through Windows Firewall which programs and features are allowed to run and which ones are open to give you a better idea of what is running and to be more aware of it. If you find any third party app, simply block it.
At times, an outbound connection may be used instead of an incoming connection. Windows does allow such connections and for spy software to record data and send it to a server, such a connection would be ideal and unfortunately the connection would also not show up on your firewall list. In order to find the problem, outbound connections would have to be looked for from the computer to the server to which data is being sent.
This can be done by downloading a software called TCPView which will enable you to see whether someone is monitoring your computer or not and if it is being monitored, the software will tell you where the data is being sent. Process Explorer is another program which can be used which can give you detailed information about single process running along with any child process which may be running within a parent process. Rootkit is also a program to be used when the first two programs are unable to solve your problem. This program may be old but it does its job well. All three of these programs can also be used simultaneously and whatever unnecessary things are found can be deleted.
To check whether emails are being monitored, the first thing to keep in mind is that for an email to be sent, it would have to connect to an email server. This may occur through a proxy server or a direct connection. If the former is used, a request would be sent to another server. Proxy servers also allow anything you view to be saved for viewing later. By accessing LAN settings, you can be aware of which of the two connections is being used.
Even when you are at work and are viewing and writing emails or checking out websites, you need to be careful. Breaking through security is likely to get you into trouble particularly if the company finds out what you have been up to. At work, no IT expert is going to like it however through a VPN; you can access the web and check your emails through a secured connection. To use this however you would have to install software on your computer which might be difficult. If you do manage, chances are high that no one will be aware of this as long as the spying software installed by your company isn’t installed separately on the computers.