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I think my employer uses Citrix product to supply VPN. I have files in My Documents folder on my home PC that I would not want my employer to be able to access when I am connected over their VPN. I am aware an obvious solution is for me to keep the personal files off my PC and store on a memory stick that I can disconnect before connecting to the work VPN. However, this is a little impractical and I am wondering do I need to bother.

If it is possible for them to do this, how easy is it? Could they have something set up to say.. start syncing all my c drive contents each time I connect (as much as I'm sure it is illegal for them to do this, let's just assume they were willing to risk breaking the law.)

Or is it only possible for them to see my files if someone is physically sitting there on their end, waiting for me to log on, and then as soon as I do they can start browsing my hard drive?

Also, can they see that I have, for example, been on this website asking this question if I connect to VPN after I have closed this browser tab?

I have read this post: Can my company access my computer via the VPN?

but the answers aren't as black and white as I think they could be, and they reference technologies/methods that mean nothing to me. I need a laymans answer and solution if possible, e.g. install X software to protect your files or go to control panel, change X setting to protect your files, etc.

I am using Microsoft XP SP3.

marked as duplicate by Iszi, Xander, Rory Alsop Jan 13 '14 at 23:09

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • The post you claim to have read clearly addresses this issue several times over. In general, with trustworthy VPN software and a personal system that is already well-secured and updated, the company should not have access to the personal data that is resident on your system unless you use the VPN to transmit it elsewhere. However, a backdoor or vulnerability in your system's OS, configuration, or the VPN software could subvert this. Whether the company is allowed access by law or convention is a separate issue to be addressed by lawyers. – Iszi Jan 13 '14 at 22:18
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    Tangential to the question: Get off XP ASAP. – Iszi Jan 13 '14 at 22:19
  • Well you've gone and been vague just like the "possible duplicate" i.e. "if you're well-secured.."; I am after a solution to get secured, without having to become an expert in network security. Could you elaborate on the vulnerability of XP? And the likelihood that my employer would easily be able to exploit current XP vulnerabilities in any of the manners I have suggested? – Godfrey Jones Jan 13 '14 at 22:23
  • I don't know who your employer is, so I don't know their capabilities with regards to exploiting current XP vulnerabilities. Come April this year, Microsoft will stop providing security updates for XP and the number of exploitable vulnerabilities for those systems will continue to grow unchecked. The "possible duplicate" verbiage is just a canned response the system gives when I flag your post as a duplicate. Defining "well-secured", against an undefined attacker, down to a layman's level would take up much more space than this Q&A format is designed for. – Iszi Jan 13 '14 at 22:27
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    Also, see Law #1 "If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it's not solely your computer anymore". If you replace "a bad guy" with "your employer" in this case, you've already lost. – Iszi Jan 13 '14 at 22:39

Anything you do on a work computer is subject to scrutiny by your employer. Anytime you connect to the work VPN you give them a chance to access the system, usually by the default c$ share. Anything on that drive can be viewed, modified, and removed by them.

The long and short: assume anything you do, files or network can be viewed by your employer.

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    I do not believe the asker here is talking about a work PC - they are asking about a personal computer with corporate VPN software installed. In such a case, short of some vulnerability in the OS or weakness in its configuration, the company should not have access to the C$ share even when he is connected to the VPN. – Iszi Jan 13 '14 at 22:16
  • Why would I connect to VPN using a work PC? I said in my first sentence I was using a home PC (to connect to my employers network via VPN when I am at home) – Godfrey Jones Jan 13 '14 at 22:25
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    @GodfreyJones You would connect to VPN with a work PC if said PC is not at a site controlled by your employer. Otherwise, you should not be capable of accessing the internal network resources of your employer from outside their network. – Iszi Jan 13 '14 at 22:31

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