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When your company say that they will be monitoring internet use

(35 Posts)
petetong Sun 04-Oct-09 00:07:08

How do they do that and by deleting my history does this mean that I am safe.

mumonthenet Sun 04-Oct-09 00:41:29

Not really sure but I think so. (As long as you delete all history, autocomplete, cookies).

On the other hand, if they say they will be monitoring maybe they've got some kind of invisible software? Crikey - I'd better be careful in the office.

I will watch this thread with bated breath!

LovelyDear Sun 04-Oct-09 00:45:21

if you are on a network then they'll be keeping a record of the urls your pc has visited, at what time etc. They'll be able to get stats about unusual activity, so it's unlikely they'll be scouring each person's record.

herjazz Sun 04-Oct-09 01:01:33

Message withdrawn

petetong Sun 04-Oct-09 11:17:31

Thanks for your replies, fraid I am completely tech illiterate. Does that mean then that if I delete my history they won't be able to tell which sites I have visited and how long for. Also mumsnet doesn't appear on my history when I go on it at work, does that mean that they can't log that. I may log on, but I am not on it all the time although I am logged on I am actually doing other things as well iyswim. They have also said that they will be monitoring our emails sad

welshdeb Sun 04-Oct-09 11:33:06

As another poster said if you are on a network it will be recorded separately. Same for your emails. some employers also put software on pcs to track usage.
My employers take a dim view of personal Internet usage in work time, so do others and I would suggest that in the current economic climate all employers would want to know if their staff have the time to surf the net while being paid to work as it suggests they haven't got enough work to do. It's far cheaper to get shot of shirkers by disciplinary than redundancies. The fact that you have now been given this information suggests to me that they will use it.

petetong Sun 04-Oct-09 11:50:14

It is true that I don't have enough work to do, but as I am constantly asking them for more I can't really see how they can penalise me for occassionally looking at the internet. I was given the information specifically and in fact nobody else has the information. I just happened to type the document which was for their monitoring purposes, not for general distribution.

Snorbs Sun 04-Oct-09 12:36:23

Companies monitor internet activity for a variety of reasons - staff discipline, system security, protection against competitors, legal issues etc.

As others have said, the fact that a particular website doesn't show up in your browser's history doesn't mean that there will not be detailed logs of which sites you have visited and when. The only real question is over whether anyone bothers to look through all those logs. At the end of the day it's your employer's PC, your employer's internet connection and your employer is paying for your time. Farting around on the web is an attractive way to fill time but it's very easily spotted and makes for a simple disciplinary case as the evidence is all there. If it's just the occasional lunchtime thing then they'll not have much of a case; if it's all day, every day, that's different.

Instead, I'd recommend downloading some free e-books from Project Gutenburg at home, emailling them to your work address and then opening them in Word so it looks like a work document wink

Or, more professionally, ask everyone - not just your immediate team / manager - for any spare jobs that you could take on. Or use your spare time to think up new projects you could take on that may be outside your current role. That way you can quickly make yourself indispensible...

IWantToLiveOnAFarm Sun 04-Oct-09 12:37:29


They can check/see everything.

LIZS Sun 04-Oct-09 12:43:21

What about remote workers ie those working from home or sub offices with their own internet connection ? They may have work equipemtn but presumably are not as trackable.

Snorbs Sun 04-Oct-09 14:07:16

It depends on a number of things. You can get a home PC to behave as if it's directly connected to the office network (this is a Virtual Private Network, or VPN). If so then when you browse the Internet you'll be doing so via the office network and so they can track what you're doing. Or, the work machine may have tracking software loaded on it which periodically reports back to the company what you're doing.

BadgersPaws Sun 04-Oct-09 14:34:59

It depends on how the VPN is configured, it's not necessarily true that all internet traffic will flow through the VPN and via your company network to get onto the internet.

However some machines are locked down so that you can't change that option, or are locked so as to require a proxy server which is on the company network.

There are ways around that too though.

giddykipper Sun 04-Oct-09 14:40:13

I've worked in a couple of places where the IT department can actually log into your PC remotely and look at what you have on the screen (and you don't necessarily know they are doing it)

flowerybeanbag Sun 04-Oct-09 14:42:21

Always best to assume that your IT department can see everything on your computer, internet sites, deleted items, everything, and work on that basis.

petetong Sun 04-Oct-09 15:46:12

Thanks for your replies. Definitely food for thought.

WebDude Sun 04-Oct-09 19:52:14

I'd go with the comments from flowerybeanbag
and assume anything you do can and will be logged. It's easier to assume that, and is not unreasonable - anyone using an 'office' mail address who thinks it is 'their right' is sadly misguided... better to use computer access at the library, or on an iPhone (in lunch break) or anywhere but the office, if you want to avoid any chance of claims of "misuse of equipment" that might go towards disciplinary procedures.

In networking terms, all packets to/from an individual PC can be logged and timestamped, so a profile of activity can be created (and even though content might be encrypted, the times of activity would show how many minutes per hour were spent connecting to outside site{s}).

In theory, one could view a site and just minimise the browser, but it could reload the page every 5 minutes (try for an example) and accidentally give the impression that the user is checking the web regularly... It is not always clear that a site regularly refreshes the page, and it's possible for a background page (similar way as pop-under adverts) to be created that refresh every few minutes, unknown to user.

Similarly, there'd be regular activity if you have something like the little 'Gmail Notifier' program (that connects to the Google Mail service and pops up when new mail has arrived).

For LIZS - better to have a second machine of your own connecting to the router so your second machine isn't in any way connected to the company traffic.

However, there are some services offered which are intended to only connect you to your company network, whatever the PCs, but it would surely be clear that that was what it was provided for (and presumably it would be on a separate and funded phone line - offers VPN service for companies/ small business, for example - there would be absolutely no way "around it" in that situation).

WebDude Wed 07-Oct-09 10:11:54

LIZS - has a little graphic from a firm called Danasoft which reports what it knows about your IP address and browser.

The bit saying "Big Brother is watching you" was text I put in. It was just a joke but was set up years ago and I cannot remember how to login to alter it.

But it's true to say that any time you visit a web site it could ask your browser for information. It's easy to find out how big the browser window (your screen) is, and possibly alter the content to fit better, for example. Something like
Resolution : 1280 x 800
Color Depth : 32 bits

MrsGokVantsyourblood Wed 07-Oct-09 10:23:08

My DH had this recently. He was sent an email to his own email address, not work one. He opened it on the work computer at home and was called into the office to explain why he was looking at something with that sort of content on a work computer.

So he now has his own laptop that he uses at home for leisure.

wukter Wed 07-Oct-09 10:33:55

So, suppose I found a nice long juicy MN thread, saved the page as a file on desktop and logged off - 5 mins on tinternet. If I were to open the saved file would it show up as connected to web?
<clueless but cunning emoticon>

WebDude Wed 07-Oct-09 10:35:34

"something with that sort of content on a work computer"

Crikey, can one ask what sort of content ? blush

Or was it simply a spam about Viagra ?

It's interesting to know that (presumably) they had 'seen' what the e-mail actually said/showed.

It does sound as if the work computer, despite being at home, is connecting to the web via the office and therefore anything that he viewed on the web was going to come via their network...

It would be easy enough to accidentally visit some website after an evening meal, without first disconnecting from the office network, and fall into that trap.

Glad he got his own laptop to avoid any similar problem in future. It's definitely something that needs to be done to avoid falling foul of any 'strict' work rules, and to be recommended for all who could be tempted to visit Facebook, or check e-mail...

Snorbs Wed 07-Oct-09 12:42:05

wukter, doing that wouldn't be substantially different from just reading it directly. When you click on a web page link, your web browser will download everything on that page anyway. That's what gets logged.

wukter Wed 07-Oct-09 12:49:28

ah, feck!

StealthPolarBear Wed 07-Oct-09 12:54:05

wukter, save as "web archive (mht)". That saves it disconnected. Of course Once you've done that it won't be refreshed.
But if you're reading a long MN thread they won't know how long you are reading it anyway - only internet traffic (page downloads) will be recorded. So
Open MN
Click on Active conversations
Click on thread
Refresh thread
will all be recorded as incidents, but reading the thread woin;t be iyswim.

MrsGokVantsyourblood Wed 07-Oct-09 13:33:50

Web Dude it was a swinging website that his friend had found and there was an article he had found funny and wanted DH to read.

DH is a teacher, so everything has to be above board etc.

petetong Thu 08-Oct-09 22:04:48

ok, so just to clarify, deleting my history is not going to hide anything.

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