Nowadays, it’s hard to find a company that doesn’t monitor its employees’ Internet traffic, read their emails, and regularly take screenshots. This process’s legality has been repeatedly challenged in courts by employees who have been fired because their personal correspondence was found to contain something prohibited by the employer. However, the courts have taken the employer’s position each time. As long as it is a work computer, it is legal to read even personal correspondence, whether it is personal mail or on social media.
Many people now switched to working remotely from home. A person working on a company-provided laptop with preinstalled software, and there are no problems with control. And someone who’s working from their personal PC / laptop. This question may have possibly crossed your mind at some point. How can you know if your employer is spying on you, and how can they do so?
Why do they need to monitor employees?
Studies indicate that approximately 89 percent of the world’s companies have experienced insider information leaks, with 61 percent incurring serious losses as a result.
Suppose your SMM manager decides to pass time communicating with their friends on Facebook instead of implementing a social media marketing plan, or a developer prefers to play call of duty instead of coding. In that case, such an employee costs the company thousands of dollars per month on average.
WorkTime experts report that the Covid-19 pandemic changed the perspective of employee monitoring software and emphasized its importance. The majority of office workers transitioned to remote work, and keeping track of remote employees’ working hours became a major issue, prompting businesses to turn to employee monitoring programs as a solution.
Some businesses want to handle this in-house rather than using third-party apps. They gather regular reports in “task-time” format and make control calls to employees during the day. They can also involve system administrators, who track employees’ work through a shadow RDP connection to their desktops. However, the alternatives are flawed. The reports do not provide a complete picture of the day, and sysadmins can’t control several employees from a single PC simultaneously.
More resources are made available by programs that monitor and control working time. They record login and logout times and periods of employees’ actual activity on websites and applications. It also helps identify those idlers who turn on their PCs for a show and do their own stuff instead of working. This data is often not enough to assess the real productivity of employees. After all, even those who are constantly sitting in front of computers can either work on their tasks or spend half a day on YouTube or social networks.
DLP systems can perform an in-depth analysis of employee efficiency and provide remote work security.
Employers may also request that workers install special employee tracking software on their personal computers only with their permission. These tools record the idle time, the login\logout time, analyze the programs they use, and their Internet activity. Cheating these applications is extremely difficult.
How to check your computer?
Always keep your laptop protected. You should be the only person who can access your personal user account and password. Since Microsoft and Apple have long been aware of spyware applications, Windows and macOS systems detect and block any hidden tools without the need for any additional help. Spying software can be detected on your computer by various programs such as Bitdefender and others. You can easily find them on Google.
If you want to check your computer manually, open Task Manager on Windows (search for it in the taskbar) or Activity Monitor in macOS (find it in Spotlight through Cmd + Space) to view all active programs on your device. If you see something unfamiliar, any software you definitely haven’t installed, or something suspicious, look up the name of the app online to see what you’re dealing with.
You may also examine applications and processes that are running concurrently with your operating system. This list can be found in the Task Manager’s Launch tab in Windows and System Preferences in macOS. Then, pick Users and Groups, followed by Login Items. Just in case you’re unsure about an application, you can look it up on the Internet. If you’re concerned that someone is violating your personal space, you should perform a full Windows or macOS device reset. It will remove any hidden spying software from your computer. Remember to back up important files first.
How to check your accounts?
Unfortunately, technology allows people to easily intrude into someone’s private life. All they have to do is log into their online accounts and then into their personal computers.
You should begin by safeguarding your usernames and passwords. Be certain that they are known only to you, that they are difficult to guess, that they are not used in different accounts and that they are not written down anywhere. You can make use of a password manager. It generates random solid passwords that are unique to each of your accounts. Wherever possible, you should enable two-factor authentication.
To detect an unauthorized visitor to your Facebook account, open the social network settings page in your browser and press Security and Login to see all the devices on which your account is active (and to log out of the ones you don’t recognize). To check Gmail, open the Details tab in the lower right corner and look at the activity hours.
If someone else has accessed your account via email, they could have configured an automatic redirect to another account, which you should also review. For instance, open Gmail in your browser, click the settings icon, then open the full tab and look for POP/IMAP forwarding. Check the Sent emails folder to see if your messages have been forwarded elsewhere. Next, look at the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab for any unusual settings.
The easiest ways to keep unwanted guests out of your account are tracking behavior and changing your passwords regularly.
If you discover unfamiliar spying software on your home computer, you must immediately notify your boss and clarify the situation. Before installing any monitoring software on your personal computers, your management must always obtain your permission.
Another important thing to note is that software choice should not be so invasive that it captures your sensitive information. Speak to your employer about the monitoring software chosen to monitor work activities, how it works and what it’ll be monitoring.