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Can company monitor your web browsing activities?

Last response: in Networking
a b C Monitor
July 25, 2001 2:52:20 PM

Hi everyone,

I am just wondering if company can monitor employees web browsing activities?
If so,
- How do they do it?
- Does it need a lot of man power (full time job personel) and resource to do this?
- Can anybody without networking experience do this?
- What software / hardware do they use?
- Is there any counter measure (for instance, utilities that install on the workstation ends to fake your web browsing activities) on the user ends? I hate the idea that someone is watching behind my back.

My company is a small company of approx. 30 employees. It doesn't have IT personal. It has T1 line and hardware firewall protection. I believe, it uses Novell netware for intranet and NT for our mail server.

Thanks in advance for any kind of explanation and help.
July 25, 2001 2:58:55 PM

Yes they can!!

I work for a company quite a bit larger than the one you mention, they also use novell and the employees are on nt4 workstations. they can & do monitor net use (ours is now limited thanks to some fools going to porn sites!!), Im not sure how they do but I know 100% that they can, one person that got sacked for browsing porn sites was presented with a list of time/dates of when he had visited certain sites.

Next time you wave - use all your fingers
July 25, 2001 4:50:02 PM

This is simple to accomplish.
1. Look at the history on your computer. You just have to delete it, so it's unreliable and time-consuming (to monitor).
2. There is a ton of software that will display what computer is going where. Most companies (including mine), don't have someone sitting there reading the text scrolling by. However, they can have it sound an alarm for certain sites, probably generate statistics on if someone goes to a site all day every day (like me, here :) , etc.

Most companies agree on two things:
Porn is unacceptable, most other things aren't a big deal (except for time spent, of course), and
It's not cost effective to make a detailed tracking of everybody, just to watch out for breaking of company policy (like going to porn sites).

So, unless you're looking for nudie pictures, you should be ok :) 

Whoever thinks up a good sig for me gets a prize :wink:
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a b C Monitor
July 25, 2001 4:51:24 PM

Lots of different ways of doing it, but it's very possible and quite easy to do.

They can inspect router logs (yes... they can do it after hours, long after you've shut off your pc). That'll tell them what IP addresses you're logging into and that basically tells them what sites you're visiting.

Or they can set up a software/hardware package that inspects information at the router/firewall. They can set it up to inspect every packet of information being sent and can even warn them via e-mail when they catch 'bad words' or restricted sites (yes, they can even check your e-mails as they come and go through the system).

There's no way to 'fake' traffic but you can use a proxy if you'd like to be somewhat anonymous to your sys admins... but that's not always so simple (depending on how the firewall is set up, etc...). A proxy is a site on the internet you connect to and go through them for all of your browsing. Your connection is to the proxy and that's all your network 'sees' but you could be surfing Of course, lets say they use the packet inspection, they can sometimes tell what you're viewing (and then it doesn't really matter what/where you connect to, but the actual contents that are being transfered are being inspected). A secure/encrypted proxy is the way to go, but you're not going to find anything like that on the net for free/easy...
a b C Monitor
July 26, 2001 3:50:30 PM

Thanks for everyone input.

To be perfectly honest, I am not visiting any porn site either at work or at home. I think it is a waste of my time. I love technology and I usually visiting computer related to read news, post message etc and free email web site to check my e-mail whenever I get a chance.
I've heard that many company use websense to monitor employes web-browsing activities. Can websense still monitor web browsing activities if users log on to a proxy web-site such as
Do you know any secure/encrypted proxy on the internet with a minimal fee? If so, I would be grateful if you can give me some links. Thanks in advance for your time and help.
July 27, 2001 8:34:29 AM

Theres one called IGEAR I think it belongs to symantec, I believe this can automatically email if a certain site is visited or as mentioned above, certain words are on the name of the site.

Next time you wave - use all your fingers
August 3, 2001 3:50:14 AM

There are many software packages that can do auotmated reporting on URL requests. WebSense is one that has a 'proprietary' database of sites that match categorical content.

A secure/encrypted proxy is the way to go, but you're not going to find anything like that on the net for free/easy...

Safeweb is one. Free, secure, and now has TriangleBoy available that allows you to bypass IT safeweb filtering by adding another secondary proxy to random hosts. Very neat, and it works.

"Let's take the warning labels off everything and let natural selection clean the gene pool!"