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Problem:

Recently we had an interesting thing which happened at work. My colleague was playing some Flash games at work and after some time someone from organization remarked about that and asked to oversee him. The situation is curious, because we are the IT department and while there are more IT specialists in our organization, I was under impression that there is no observation of employees. While it in itself is a trivial matter as we just laughed and dismissed that, I'm still curious how someone can find out activity on computer?

I had tried:

Now, I have administration privileges on my computer. I had removed all sharing and team viewing options in Windows 10 just in case, though most were off either way. I had checked ESET antivirus and could not find anything unusual there either. I had checked the installed programs menu and could not find anything unusual either, all the bare basics and I could say roughly what each software is responsible for. It doesn't seem anything to be installed on my end either. I have only suspicion that my activity could be potentially observed in internal network and through data packets someone could observe that someone is roughly doing.

Question:

How my activity on computer could be observed in my case? Is there anything that could be done in order to protect my privacy?

  • 1
    "... protect my privacy?" - you essentially ask to help you abuse company resources and money by playing instead of working while you get paid. This has not really anything to do with privacy - unless such leisure time on company money is part of your contract. In other words: you ask to bypass security for your own gain - which is off-topic. Apart from that it could be in-door cameras watching you or coworkers complaining about this (maybe disgruntled since they do actual work while others play instead). – Steffen Ullrich Jul 2 at 19:49
  • It could even be that every time some non-IT staff walks by, he/she sees that person playing. No network sniffing, just a real-world observation. That and the fact that, while playing, his work does not get done. – Ljm Dullaart Jul 2 at 20:12
  • Well, that is not the case since we have our own office where our monitors are facing walls. It is very unlikely that anyone would had observed us. Furthermore, you should not make such highly judgmental comments. He is IT technician with additional responsibilities in work security. His work is completely dependent on others. That is, something must break somewhere or someone else have to need him first while sometimes he is on his feet whole day. His work load is inconsistent. Summer for us is a low point in activity and thus we are overstaffed for that usually is needed in other seasons. – Ernestas Jul 3 at 15:15
  • Yes, it can be observed because there are monitoring programs that do not show in task manager but actually run and record anything from keyboard to taking periodical screenshots. – Overmind Jul 4 at 7:18
  • Well, if I learned anything from this question outside of SWM's helpful post is that people are just judgmental who hide their ignorance behind pretensions, this especially applies to Steffen Ullrich. As for topic at hand, I do not think that there is any way for that to happen as such program would be picked by antivirus protection system if it actively tries to hide itself from all registries, processes and activities. Now I know where to look for potential information leakage, though it was more of the curiosity than anything else. – Ernestas Jul 4 at 14:35
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To me there are 3 possibilities:

  1. Endpoint surveillance program, one that is hidden from the user. Even with admin privilege, you might have missed it. For all I know it could be custom made, or even part of the OS.
  2. Real world observation, people talk.
  3. Firewall/traffic monitor. Someone maybe just saw flashgames.com coming from a certain IP address and made the mental connection. It's not hard to imagine.
  • Real world observation is the most probable. Someone walks by the door, sees a flash game, notes that the employee is playing games at work, casually mentions it at the coffee machine, etc. – MechMK1 Jul 3 at 7:47
  • If there is anything on my system, won't it be either in system processes or somewhere else? Otherwise, it would be considered as a harmful software and it should be in antivirus whitelist? Honestly, I do believe that he was not careful and said that somewhere else. Someone overheard or he said that to someone he shouldn't and this is why we got report back. Though, I personally are listening to youtube though mostly he will see just music and traffic to unrelated sites for a random information in which I was interested. Yet, nobody was concerned about such activity on my console. – Ernestas Jul 3 at 15:21

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