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Suppose I connect time to my company's WiFi with my Android phone, or through a VPN with my laptop.

Is it possible for someone install spyware (keylogger, etc.) on my device to spy my browsing history? I am not talking about monitoring traffic network when I am connected, but rather some tool to get information about what I'm doing at home.

Thanks a lot

  • Do you install software from inside the company? Who provides the VPN software? All of these could already contain a spyware component. – Steffen Ullrich Feb 1 '17 at 9:06
  • Hi, i didn't installed software provided by the company, maybe I did run some opensource trusted software installation, like Eclipse, or notepad++, but i don't think is waht you mean right?, about vpn I use open source software as well, dowloaded directly from internet – John11 Feb 1 '17 at 9:55
  • generally, no. there are some attacks with a "captive portal" and browser plugin flaws that could (sometimes) pwn you, but you should be asked before installing any software, no matter how it arrives. – dandavis Feb 1 '17 at 20:09
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Unless the network stack of your operating system has a serious security bug, just being connected to a malicious network should not allow the administrator of that network to install malware.

However, when you download software over the untrusted network and install it, and that download is not using https, the network administrator could perform a man-in-the-middle attack to infect the software with malware while it is being downloaded. When you then run the infected installer, it would install that malware.

  • To clarify, your OS doesn't have to have a "serious security bug." An attacker only needs to find a tiny flaw in order to gain total access to your system. The majority of devices today can be compromised without too much effort using tools such as metasploit. So it comes down to how much you trust the network and those that are on it, as well as keeping your devices updated. – Kernel Stearns May 2 '17 at 15:24
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Yes, but that is nothing to do with which network you are on, unless you suspect the operators of a specific network to be trying to install such software.

Anything you connect to, and via, can potentially inject something in order to (amongst many other things) install that kind of spy software.

For example:

  • a website could be compromised and pushing malware (this includes any ads on the site)
  • any network operator between you and your intended destination could try and manipulate your connection to do this (for example, placing Burp somewhere on the path, and if necessary, trying to downgrade your connection to plaintext)

That's why it is important to keep everything updated to the latest possible version and to try and exercise caution when online.

On some networks, there may be things protecting you, too, like scanning proxies/gateways, IDSes, and so on.

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No, it is not likely the company could install malware on your phone just using the VPN connection. However, it is possible for your browser to leak some of this information while connected to the VPN. Once you are connected to their VPN, all of the traffic will be routed through their servers, and they can monitor it. If they are able to read something in their traffic (such as a cross domain cookie), they may be able to determine a few of the sites that you have visited, even if you aren't visiting them while connected to the VPN. Also, I know old browsers were susceptible to javascript attacks which would look for the 'visited' style on a hyperlink. I'm not sure how applicable this is to modern browsers.

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