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I was having trouble getting Outlook to work with my schools email account and called the help desk. They gave me a link to install a program called Bomgar. I installed it and clicked "allow viewing and control" and some random guy had complete control over my computer. My question is how safe is this stuff and how can you prevent the controller from messing with stuff you don't want touched? Short of unplugging my computer I wouldn't know how to stop his control.

Can you see everything he does when connected or can he be doing things to the computer even though the mouse and nothing else appears to be moving?

EDIT: it still wasn't working so I called the help desk again and their solution is to disable the antivirus e-mail shield.

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If you setup a similar environment within a VM its very unlikely that the remote controller could break out of the VM into your main machine.

If you are running as an unprivileged user, the remote user may only have those privileges. I suggest at the very least only running the program as a limited user with the ability to change outlook settings. Otherwise, he has complete control of your machine. Depending on how the software is written, the controller may or may not be able to hide actions from you. This is horrible security wise for you and I would rather take it to help desk in person and watch them work, or only let the person do his work in a VM, then mirror the settings on your own on your machine.

You are giving this person complete control over your computer.

Honestly doing all of your work within a VM has its benefits, such as being easier to backup, and being able to recover from just about anything through snapshotting.

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Sounds like I should look into VMs more. My only concern with them is aren't they slightly slower? –  Celeritas Sep 12 '12 at 1:14
    
VMs allow you to segregate potentially dangerous programs/activity. I use a handful in a variety of OS's daily for this purpose. Yes, they are a little slower, so run your video games on your host, and your internet browser in a secured VM :) –  schroeder Sep 12 '12 at 15:22
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All commercial remote desktop programs give the user high visibility into what the other user is doing to the computer, along with some kind of a "kill-switch".

That said, there are infected versions of the software that open covert channels back to the remote user, so you have to be sure that you are getting the software from a trusted source.

To answer your direct question, yes, commercial remote desktop/remote assistance programs are safe as long as you are watching what the remote user is doing.

Bomgar itself is well-known and I have used it to support remote users.

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Everything the guy in control do is mirrored to your desktop, for example if the user open-up a cmd it'll definitely shows in your desktop.
if you feel suspicious you can always block the port the application uses using any decent antivirus software or through windows firewall.

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