I have a school laptop, every student gets one and also gets to take it home for their work. Can they see the websites you get on when you are using your WiFi at home?

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    Yes they can. There are multiple ways they could track this information. Likewise there are numerous ways you can prevent them from tracking this information. Google( linux live CD ) Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 14:06

5 Answers 5


I will say this from personal experience, because i actually have proven to my classmates that big brother is watching you. my school has a software installed on all of our chromebooks that many kids think is spyware. I decided to test this by generating a hotspot on my ethernet desktop, and connecting the school chromebook to the network. i found every time that i clicked a key it sent packets to the school server. never used the thing again, i just bring my personal laptop to school.

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    That is an absurdly inefficient keylogger
    – flerb
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 0:17

There is not enough information provided to give a clear answer, but I can tell you this.

Schools usually have pre-installed software to track laptops and to keep them in sync with the school's network. With that software, they could potentially log your browsing history remotely (even if you are on a different network), but that is not likely. The most likely way that they could easily track your browsing history from that computer is if you were on the school's network. The school's network most likely has an advanced system so it can operate a firewall that can block certain websites the school does not find appropriate. That being said, they most likely the school network would have log internet traffic of students computers on that network. Besides off that network, the only way they would be able to check your history is if:

  • They have software that DOES remotely send the students browsing history (as mentioned earlier, unlikely)
  • They have physical access to your computer. (Keep in mind they will not need credentials if your computer is not encrypted).

Bottom line is, that I would not condone searching anything on a school laptop that you would not want your school to see. However, most likely they will not go poking around as long as they do not have a reason (like using to much bandwidth on the school network).

Update: Also having seen you asked whether your school "can see your Facebook", the answer to that is no if I am interpreting your question right. Your school cannot (by using their network) read Facebook chat messages or really anything you do on Facebook because it is encrypted using SSL (Secure Socket Layer).

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    Unless they preinstalled a certificate to allow SSL interception, which wouldn't be particularly unusual for a device provided for use on a specific network, which is presumably managed by the provider to some extent.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 10:22
  • I am unfamiliar with this, and I am interested. Would this be like SSL stripping? Would this be performed like a mitm attack? Because as I understand, then the school would only be able to get a partial on the data that is pretty much useless without having the other piece.
    – user121738
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 20:48
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    It's essentially mitm, by design. By installing a trusted certificate which relates to a proxy software (either on the laptop or remotely), you can intercept SSL traffic.
    – Matthew
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 21:17

This is a VERY tough question to answer depending on so many factors. But here's are some general guidelines.

I would say, unless you give them a reason to look at your traffic, they won't come looking for you.

You have to assume there are security agents/processes/services/applications on the system itself. Beyond that, there are security appliances that look for specific things (e.g. malware, blocked sites, blocked protocols, blocked apps, etc.).

I am not condoning any illegal actions and don't condone prohibited actions outlined by your school in using school asset. If you have a real legitimate need for anonymity, VPNs or any encryption-enabled tool would be able to mask contents of the activity. However, this method is not bulletproof as they still be able to what it is being connected to and and from where/who, just not what is being done.


Disclaimer: I Am Not A Lawyer.

As the school admins provided you the laptop, and configured it, they can log (locally on the laptop) almost all the activity if they want. Whether they do or not is another question, but as they own the laptop, they could be liable for illegal actions made through it, so I would assume that they behave the same that corporate admins behave with corporate laptops: everything that can be logged is (at least HTTP requests and sites for HTTPS requests), the logs are statistically analyzed, and they are really examined only if something look abnormal or in case or legal action.

Following is only my opinion. If you use it for acceptable actions (exchange with friends of yours, browse ordinary sites, etc.) all is fine, and nobody will ever look what you really did. If you use it to send offensive messages trying to hide your identity, or browse illegal sites, chances are that this activity will be discovered.


The answer is usually yes, though they may not do anything with the information.

A school has good reasons to not let students do whatever they want on school equipment, such as CIPA in the US. In trying to prevent students from viewing harmful content online, many of the solutions also allow the school (and sometimes even a third party) to see what students are doing online.

In one setup I saw, students weren’t really even on their home WiFi when at home. Instead, the devices were configured to pass all traffic through a VPN to the school network so that traffic could be filtered by the school firewall. Even an iPad can be set up to do this.

In other setups, specialized software is used to block content... and sometimes more. A good example of this is Securly’s filter. Not only does it know which sites students are going to, it keeps track of exact searches, and even the content of social media posts. It can be configured so that suspicious activity is brought to the attention of school administrators via email. And what’s more: it has a feature where the student’s parent/guardian can look at all of their online activity and control it.

(Yet another way that the school can know what a student was doing at home is if the device is brought into class and intrusive popups, for example, start showing up. You do not want IT to be forced to virtually clean your laptop like that, and neither does IT.)

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