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Are there any trustworthy system monitors (i.e. keystroke loggers, page snapshot, email/IM recorders) out there.

Posted on 2006-10-24
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Last Modified: 2013-12-04
Hello all! At the risk of being drug out into the middle of EE Town Square and stoned into retardation (which might honestly only take a pebble or two) are there any trustworthy system monitors (i.e. keystroke loggers, page snapshot, email/IM recorders) out there. Or, are they all just spying on the person who purchased them as well? Recently a member ask a similar question, but he stated he wanted to "hack his wife's password". Well, i'm not married, don't even have someone to scratch my back for me as of right now...... (hold your tears please, hold your tears). But this got me wondering, is there a legitimet/legal market for this kind of software out there? Is this legal? If so, what are the trusted dependable ones? One of the experts suggested this guy check out spectresoft.com. I tried to vist the site, but my PC-cillin blocked it from opening due to known spyware from the site. Made me feel like i was almost a newborn baby unknowingly walking into a room full of razor-toothed wild dogs! This also got me wondering (as well as worrying) do the experts on EE sometimes unknowingly redirect members to possibly harmful sites?

I apologize in advance if through my ignorance i am unknowingly insulting anyone, but say an expert offers a link to another site in his/her suggested answer, are those sites monitored or checked for safety by EE in any way?

Thanks all.
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Question by:MisfitDevil99
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by:mikeleebrla
ID: 17799383
>>But this got me wondering, is there a legitimet/legal market for this kind of software out there?
sure, companies monitor what their employees do all the time (as they should).

>>Is this legal?
in the US it is.  Most companies' computer use policies explicitly state that there is NO expectation of privacy on a company PC and the company can at any time monitor PC useage.



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by:younghv
ID: 17800173
Good questions.
E-E couldn't possibly monitor or check-out all the advice given in the zillions of posts.

If a customer did get steered somewhere 'rude', I would think an email or post in the Community section would be warranted.

At work we use an Internet monitoring appliance and application that tracks and logs all Internet activity for about 2,000 users. The logs are kept for at least 30 days and reviewed with a 'Perl' script that looks for key words.

We also have a variety of appliances and network applications that evaluate the actual traffic passed over our internal wires.
Any interface with the outside world is also monitored, evaluated, and recorded.

Everything we use is from companies that specialize in computer and network security and they have a long history of proving themselves.

I've never tried any of the freeware stuff because we have access to everything we need.

Maybe some other folks have some ideas, but basically 'you're going to get what you pay for'.

Good Luck and watch out for them razor-toothed Dawgs.


Vic
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by:Rich Rumble
ID: 17800709
Spector-Pro is one of the best actually, and spy-ware is so abundant now you can get it from plenty of legit or reputable sites.
http://www.spectorsoft.com/
I use FireFox, and I don't run as an admin, I don't get spyware, or viri, nor do the other 3000+ employees we have. They even use IE, but no admin, no spyware :)
http://richrumble.blogspot.com/2006/08/anti-admin-vs-anti-virus.html http://xinn.org/win_bestpractices.html
http://clintonforbes.blogspot.com/2006/10/10-pros-cons-of-switching-from-windows.html 9second to last paragraph of his blog)

there are many apps out there that are good, BackOriface is a great tool, and gets a bad rap because a hacker bundled it in a virus once. Klogger is also simple and effective, and virus free (although any AV worth $0.02 should tell you of it's malicious ability), mcafee stops the DL of that exe mid way, norton allows you to DL it fully but catches it when it's run, which is why I still prefer mcafee. http://ntsecurity.nu/toolbox/
-rich
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by:SunBow
ID: 17814393
> I apologize in advance if through my ignorance

I do not accept that, as I will not apologize for being a voice of opposition. The way you phrased the question, the answer is that yes, they are breaking the law. In addition, they are spreading other malwares where they don't just simply malfunction and damage content of machine.

From the business end:
For access to http://www.spectorsoft.com/ - "Access to Spyware/Malware Denied. You are attempting to access a site that includes software known as Spyware or Malware. It can be loaded onto your computer to capture information about you that could then be used inappropriately. It can happen without your intending it and without your knowing it. To protect your computer and your information, access to this site has been blocked."
 
> are there any trustworthy system monitors

No.

mikeleebrla > there is NO expectation of privacy on a company PC and the company can at any time monitor PC useage.

True. Where the equipment belongs to another, what is done to and with it is theirs and theirs alone. This is mostly networking, ability to monitor every bit of every network packet. Ability, not something done all the time, no one has the time to read everybody's email, for example.

younghv > applications that evaluate the actual traffic passed over our internal wires. Any interface with the outside world is also monitored, evaluated, and recorded.

yes. Think of it as something like thrying to ensure you do not try to spend all the time at some unsavory website, which is in effect in your best interests, keeping the malwares at bay.

richrumble > BackOriface is a great tool, and gets a bad rap

It is good, my disagreement is that it is a different tool, and is mislabelled as a trojan because it is a product competing with a tool of a vendor wanting more spent on theirs. It'll get disabled without intelligent warning.

>  spying on the person who purchased them as well?

:-))

> , I don't get spyware, or viri, nor do the other 3000+

I wish I knew better how to get some, sometimes. The only spyware I got was the preloaded stuff from an OEM load of COTS HW.

>  Recently a member ask a similar question, but he stated he wanted to "hack his wife's password".

Messing with other people, with their stuff, seizing use without permission, there are all kinds of laws against these acts beginning with privacy and right to ownership

Back to company useage, even there a person as employee can expect the right and is guaranteed right to privacy, freedom from harassment and discrimination of any kind, including the typical male|female banter.

Wives also ask EE either how to detect if they are being spied on, or knowing that they are, how to stop it.

Helping people to breakup their marriages is not the reason some of us come to this website - which is, after all, quite public, each family member easily able to review comments of other family members

> Well, i'm not married, don't even have someone to

You don't even have someone to review your keyclicks here. where scrolling down and reading your comments is much simpler than trying to install, run, and keep up with any logger indiscretely.

> do the experts on EE sometimes unknowingly redirect members to possibly harmful sites?

Yes. Sometimes it is like what I call a pinball game effect, people just trying to rack points as quick as they can even if being off-topic.

But look at it this way as well, there are so many members here from all over the world, it is like a city at times. No two alike, you'll get an assortment, and not having invested an iota in their welfare. Try getting that kind of service from your car machanics, doctors & lawyers.

> But this got me wondering, is there a legitimet/legal market for this kind of software out there?

No.
Essentially, it is not legal until legalized, such as by court order, or possibly by major 3rd party within same company. But sometimes it is just easier to get a camera placed behind you to look over your shoulder. Hook it up to the web and go review.

Questions in return:

Your wife (pretend) takes her purse out to her car and locks it inside. You do not have a key. You feel a need to look into purse but are afraid of what you might find. Do you think you can get away with breaking into her car to get it? To ask for help to break in? Do you get to break all of the windows in this attempt?

Or at work, assume your wife is asking about her lost car key. They own all the facilities and can monitor everything, right? So web based cameras are placed under the desks of all the ladies, in their bathrooms, etc., looking to see if there is something unusual, in their upskirt shots. THEY have a right to record everything, right?

Some kids on the block volunteer to help you to review the contents of your girlfriends' purse. Are you OK with that?

How about shoe on other foot, the local kids are volunteering to get the boyfriends' wallet out, so that its content may be reviewed periodically to assess personal habits,

you ok with that?

Fess up!

What is in your wallet/purse, and where were you at 10 PM of Feb 30th?
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by:MisfitDevil99
ID: 17814588
JESUS CHRIST SunBow!!!!!! This question hit a softspot with ya huh! I appreciate your candor in regard to stating what i suspected all along about the "monitoring" software out there. I mean, nothing could be more frightening if you ask me! To purchase/get for free ANY software designed specifically for the purpose of spying on anyone! This whole subject brings to mind the old story of the alligator who gave the snake a ride across the river on his back! Its like giving the keys to your house to the worlds most reknown theft, so that he can "check out" your house to let you know if theres anything in it other theives might wish to steal!!! I mean, who's to say the software is only retreiving your wife's passwords etc.. and not yours!
You stated some good points there Sunbow.... but man, you kinda lost me toward the end!

richrumble, what you had to say about using limited permission accounts hit me like a baseball bat to the head!!! I mean.... HELLO!!!! Man..... i can't believe i've tried to be so security aware all this time, and did'nt even think of something so obvious.  So, i just attempted to set up a few limited accounts (one for me, on for my 14 year old son). But jeez.... i'm having to reinstall Itunes on each new account, and can't find my music anywhere? Also, i can't find any of my documents when using the limited account? And when i went to open Mozilla, it was like i had never opened it before. Tried to import my bookmarks from the other Mozilla i've been using with the admin account, but their not available in the Mozilla used with the limited account??? Anyways.... i'm confused? Do i need to totally redo all of this in each new user account created? Is there some shortcuts? And is creating mutible accounts eating away at my memory?

Anyhoot, :-)
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by:mikeleebrla
ID: 17814592
>>Essentially, it is not legal until legalized, such as by court order, or possibly by major 3rd party within same company

what are you talking about?  are you saying that every company that uses WebSense, SurfControl, IPrism, etc etc, is breaking the law?  Of course not.  If you are at work, on a company PC, on a company network, then the company has every right to monitor what you are doing on THIER computer.
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Rich Rumble earned 50 total points
ID: 17814961
New accounts are new, so yes, you'd likely have to import favorites/bookmarks etc... Limited users however don't have access to admin folders, users that are part of the admin's group. You can allow limited users into those folders with NTFS rights, but you have to be an administrator to do so. I'd suggest logging in as the old account (I hope you didn't delete it!) and copying the files where your more limited user account can access them, you'll likely have to change permissions of the file or folder. FireFox will run as a limited user, the Users Group is a good place to start for your limited account.
Here is a great page with links on making the transition: http://nonadmin.editme.com/
http://nonadmin.editme.com/UsefulTools
There are also tools like "dropmyrights" that you can use as an administrator to run an app as a lower priv'd account http://nonadmin.editme.com/DropMyRights
Typically though, you'd want to run as a limited user full-time, and use RunAs (right-click an app, select runas put in higher priv'd account name and pass) or sudoWin or winSuod or the many others out there, I also wrote a VBS script that allows you to do the same thing: http://www.xinn.org/RunasVBS.html
GL!
-rich
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by:Rich Rumble
ID: 17815026
Also, as an FYI, some AV's that are free can be used by companies and large organizations for free, but there are many others that say explicitly "for personal use" meaning buy the commercial product we offer if your a business and deploying lots and lots of our AV.
For Instance: http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/lng/us/tpl/v5
AVG Anti-Virus Free is for private, non-commercial, single home computer use only. Use of AVG Anti-Virus Free within any organization or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited
ClamAV on the other hand... is GPL'd and free for you to use and distribute. And others offer free trials http://www.nod32.com.au/nod32/download/trial.html
You can trial the NOD32 Standard antivirus system for free for 30 days from the date of installation of the software. After this period expires, you can purchase the product, or you must uninstall the program.
You are not limited however (at least in NOD32's case) from installing that trial software company wide, after the eval period you should uninstall or purchase for your org.
-rich
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by:SunBow
ID: 17815211
MisfitDevil99 > Its like giving the keys to your house to the worlds most reknown theft,

:-)
Among the anti-spyware sharewares are those who'd complain that others had wrapped their product with own spyware to hit market at good time. THe main difference being the code that did not work so well.

>  i'm having to reinstall
> Tried to import my bookmarks f

This varies by product, and what they can do at install time by either making it available to one user or groups, and for groups whether it may be based as available for the machine to everyone, or to the collection of users, or a single user.

> Is there some shortcuts?

Oftentimes, some products that are older stick to some old ways, such as maintaining user data in a file associated to the user that for conveniences sake may also be editable.

A trick then is to know how they set it up. For example, a collection of bookmarks can be in a file called bookmarks.htm. If the only think different is the directory it is placed in, then a simple move, or copy|paste should be a viable shortcut. Since you are (I assume) not combining this with some upgrade that may change the access method to the data, then much of the work can just be placement of files. Maybe they are in account of all users, or of admins, and all that is needed is a copy|paste. I'd leave the older ones as-is until everything is accounted for, which in windows' world is often, all too often a reinstall of everything for everybody the way that the registry is abused. Find the editable files and half the work may be done.

Undersold is Windows Explorer which can run some really quick searches based on things like filename extensions, size, dates, etc. Most files should be findable that way, and they'll be grouped.

> Typically though, you'd want to run as a limited user full-time, and use RunAs

disagree (opinion)

> what are you talking about?  

er, try reading?
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by:Rich Rumble
ID: 17865357
Spector Soft is the best of the best, hidden from sight, and does a long list of things.
http://www.spectorsoft.com/products/SpectorPro_Windows/index.html#MySpaceActivity
http://www.spectorsoft.com/products/SpectorPro_Windows/index.html it is 100$ but it's very good.
-rich
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