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I was wondering if a website I am visiting can detect whether or not the computer that is being used is being operated remotely.

For example...

I have two desktops. I use Desktop 1 to remotely operate Desktop 2 through windows' Remote Desktop Connection. Through this connection, I visit a website on Desktop 2. Would it be possible for the website to detect the fact that Desktop 2 is being remotely operated? (Not detect Desktop 1, but just detect remote operation in general).

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  • No, they cannot.
    – ThoriumBR
    Dec 4, 2019 at 21:47
  • Theoretically if they have access to your home isp then they could see the inbound/outbound connections to that computer. Dec 6, 2019 at 1:31

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There is no API or simple test a website can perform to know if there is a remote desktop involved. So they easy answer is no.

But I would guess that your mouse movement and maybe also your typing is slightly different when using a remote desktop, due to lag. In the same way that Google reCAPTCHA uses mouse movement and typing data to differentiate humans from bots, it is concievable that you could spot a remote desktop user. But it would require training some sort of AI, and a lot of work, for no clear benefit.

So is it possible? In theory, maybe. Does it happend in practice? No.

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TL;DR: Should be possible.

It was possible to detect Windows Remote Session in the past by using media queries to look for the bit depth of the display (which is switched to an odd value by rdp by default, therefore was easy to detect)

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3417883/how-to-detect-from-browser-if-user-is-running-in-remote-desktop-session

If the method mentioned in that post no longer works (I do not have time to verify), there certainly have to be other workarounds.

The browsers get more and more integrated with the devices/OS therefore you will get more side channels.

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    It's worth noting that this method isn't going to be 100%, and is likely to produce a lot of false positives. Dec 12, 2019 at 0:30
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Altought it has been already answered, the right answer is YES, you can!

Bellow is a similar question. Therefore you can use JS to create a tiny div with id='rdp-test' and append it to body. Then you insert a style in document.head which contains #rdp-test { height: 0 }, and immediatedly after this CSS line this one: @media screen and (prefers-reduced-motion: reduce) { #rdp-test{ height: 10px; } }

After these step, in JS, you read the height of the DIV. If it is 10, then the user has RD on, else it has no RD.

After you find out what you need you discard the div and css style.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3417883/how-to-detect-from-browser-if-user-is-running-in-remote-desktop-session

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  • Could you host a live example? I could not replicate your results Sep 14, 2020 at 19:51
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    (Assuming it can be reproduced,) this "prefers-reduced-motion" flag can be set for any number of reasons. Telegram now offers reducing animations for battery saving reasons. It has long been an accessibility and performance setting to disable animations as well. I can also imagine that light-sensitive epileptics would have such a thing enabled if they know of the setting. You'd be classifying anyone that wants better performance, longer battery life, or no epileptic attacks, as being a remotely controlled computer... Your suggestion may be one weak indication, but it's not an accurate method
    – Luc
    Nov 5, 2023 at 19:08
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I just found out that a website owner knew that Anydesk was being used.

I don't know how this is possible. The website was from a bank. Just a website in a browser with no add ons and no additional software installed. A transfer to a saving account was blocked and the customer service told that was because they saw that someone assisted through Anydesk and wanted to be sure that it was not a criminal trying to transfer money. I don't know if they only saw that Anydesk was present, or active, or just remotely watching or they knew by the clicking or typing through Anydesk. I was surprised that they knew that Anydesk was involved. (I was the one teaching/assisting using Anydesk and even sitting at the same table as the account holder). And if they detected Anydesk I assume they can also detect Teamviewer and other Remote control software.

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