Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Watching an XP desktop

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Watching an XP desktop

    Remote desktop - I understand.

    But is there a good way to WATCH what someone else is doing on an XP Pro workstation instead of taking over that workstation?

    I have a client who wants to see what her employees are doing when they think she isn't looking. When the cat's away, the mice DO play. But the only programs I have seen so far are logging programs, and the Symantec Virus Scan keeps detecting it on the workstationas Spyware, which it is since she is spying on them.

    I have looked to see if you can do this with Remote Desktop (which is why I am posting under Terminal Services). But so far have found nothing.

    Is there a way to use Remote Desktop to watch the user? If not, is there a good solution for this?

  • #2
    Re: Watching an XP desktop

    most of the time, if the user isn't aware it can be illegal to spy on those computers. It is normal that users have to give permission to view their screen.
    Maybe vnc or dameware can help you out.

    edit; topic should belong op Windows 2000/XP
    Marcel
    Technical Consultant
    Netherlands
    http://www.phetios.com
    http://blog.nessus.nl

    MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
    "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

    "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
    "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Watching an XP desktop

      You could install VNC on all desktops and protect this with a password and then connec to the required desktops when you need to:

      http://www.realvnc.com/

      I do belive that there is an icon in the system tray that changes colour when a connection is active but I cant remember if this can be changed or not.

      No hard in taking

      Michael
      Michael Armstrong
      www.m80arm.co.uk
      MCITP: EA, MCTS, MCSE 2003, MCSA 2003: Messaging, CCA, VCP 3.5, 4, 5, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, ITIL, MCP, PGP Certified Technician

      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points sigpic where appropriate **

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Watching an XP desktop

        Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll give it a try.

        As to the legality of monitoring an employee, it has been determined that an employee has no right to an expectation of privacy in an employers workplace or on an employers computer. If they want to watch you, copy your email, or see where you browse on the Internet - they can.

        I was once assigned to collect such info by the IT department of a major corporation so they would have proof that the VP of Sales was wasting time and money going to PORNSITEURLHERE.com (it's for real) and other similar sites. Not only was he wasting company time, money and bandwidth (the clue that got IT interested was the enormous amount of bandwidth he was using), he was also exposing the company to a major lawsuit if any female was to spot what he was doing.

        So he got fired.

        In the US of A, you can monitor all you like.
        Last edited by danielp; 18th September 2006, 07:39.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Watching an XP desktop

          Michael,

          Just to report back - VNC works very well for this purpose. There is that nagging system tray item, and I wouldn't want the users to be able to go in by way of the system tray and modify the options (as some of them ight do) but there is a very good chance that a slight registry hack will turn off that item in the tray. I will check with them at RealVNC.

          I will also get my client to PAY these good folks to register a copy. I am testing with the free version.

          It's not my money, and the people who wrote VNC deserve the support.

          Comment


          • #6
            More feedback

            I am following up to my follow-up.

            There is indeed a way to prevent a user from closing the VNC software (see the FAQs if interested) or changing the options, but according to them - no way to hide the icon in the tray. They say it would require a recompile of the software to change that characteristic.

            I have suggested they consider making that an option.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Watching an XP desktop

              Of course the watchee is likely to have other things on his mind than "yet another tray icon"
              Tom Jones
              MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
              PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
              IT Trainer / Consultant
              Ossian Ltd
              Scotland

              ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Watching an XP desktop

                As you will soon find out there are many flavors of VNC out there. Personally I use TightVNC and if you look here (scroll to the bottom) you can hide the system tray icon. Also because the flavors are so similar the tightVNC reg hack may work for your version. Try it on a test machine first!
                "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yet another follow up

                  I tried the TightVNC as suggested and find that it works much better.

                  Though the computer gets a bit sluggish using both VNC and TightVNC on an old PC, the tight VNC seems to have less of a slowdown than VNC and there is no occasional flicker either. Best of all, you can kill the system tray icon with the registry hack provided in the FAQs as pointed out by Lior_S.

                  I expect a better PC will have less sluggishness and I will test that and report back.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Watching an XP desktop

                    To hide the RealVNC tray icon (or any systray icons):

                    Right click the Taskbar and select Properties.

                    Under Notification Area, select Customize. Look down the list till you come to VNC (server and or Viewer) Click across where it says Hide when Inactive and select Always Hide, then click OK.

                    The icon is now hidden, unless someone clicks the show hidden icons button on the taskbar, but no-one really does.

                    Also, Dumber is correct. Its 100% illegal to spy on another user. One way around this is to use the Group Policy editor to add a startup message to the network or the users PC stating that you monitor computers in your workplace.

                    The user is informed, and is a deterrent in its self.
                    Michael
                    Forensic IT Consultant

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Watching an XP desktop

                      Before this thread spirals down into a legal debate, bear in mind that this forum taps into the international community. Dumber is from the Netherlands. Micron, you and I happen to be in the US, where according to this site, employee/employer monitoring is perfectly legal and does not require any type of disclosure.

                      Also your tip, would only work for XP.
                      "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Watching an XP desktop

                        Lior_S,

                        Without starting a discussion about this, how about the privacy of an employee in the USA?
                        In Holland there are laws about it. For example: You may not use the ISA loggings to prove that an employee has visited pornsites. However, if the company has a good computer policy there are some ways to use it against the employee, but mostly they get an official warning, because it can give a lot of troubles when visiting the judge..

                        You may use the logs to find out what happens, but you may not use the loggings to sue someone. So i'm just curious how this works in the usa.


                        On topic:
                        RealVNC tray icon cannot be removed because any possible privacy laws.
                        Marcel
                        Technical Consultant
                        Netherlands
                        http://www.phetios.com
                        http://blog.nessus.nl

                        MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                        "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                        "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                        "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Watching an XP desktop

                          Indeed very different here in the US.

                          But first, the previous question was: Is it legal to monitor (without disclosure) an employee? that answer is unequivocally yes.

                          What you do with that information, however, depends on if the employee is hourly or salary. If the employee is hourly then, bang they are fired. Reason being there are hired to perform a certain task for a certain number or hours. If there a caught violating that agreement then their employment is terminated.

                          For a salary employee, the employee is only required to archive a certain goal/job, regardless of the time it takes (no overtime pay). So unless the company actually issued a policy against personal web browsing (porn), then the company cannot do anything against that employee.

                          In my experience, when an employee is found to be wasting time (salary or hourly) the company issues a new policy. Then waits for the employee to violate it, and then they are fired.
                          "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Watching an XP desktop

                            Without starting a discussion about this, how about the privacy of an employee in the USA?
                            There is no such thing as privacy of an employee, if it is private then it by definition violates what you are hired to do. And FYI there is also no freedom of speech either at the workplace

                            These don't sound pretty but at work, you work.

                            oh and IANAL and we just started a discussion
                            Last edited by Lior_S; 17th September 2006, 18:40.
                            "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Watching an XP desktop

                              If you guys think there might be some interest in the privacy laws of different countries/states/organisations, it would be worth creating a thread dedicated to that discussion alone. I for one would be curious to compare them to the Dark Ages that the Australian Govt has inflicted upon the lowly worker.
                              1 1 was a racehorse.
                              2 2 was 1 2.
                              1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                              2 2 1 1 2

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X