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just want to ask whether company IT can monitor the websites that I open using the company-issued laptop but on my personal wifi network? Offhand, I can see Symantec endpoint protection and Websense as installed 3rd party security softwares.

A couple of details, I usually use private browsing windows and go to https sites. From time to time, I connect the laptop to our office LAN network.

Just want to have a sense of the extent of privacy available to me. Thanks!

  • Depends on the company and the software they already have installed. I've heard of cases where companies had enterprise keyloggers installed, so make sure you do your research before doing what you should not. (Or better yet, don't browse websites you should not be browsing at work) – EvilBeer Sep 5 '14 at 9:46
  • In this day and age of Internet-connected phones and tablets, what you should really be asking yourself is why use a corporate asset at all anymore for your personal business. There is no way at all to assume you have any privacy on the corporate laptop, since the on-board security software that IT installed can capture your every interaction with a site even if you connected via TLS. If you have privacy concerns, then use your own asset that you probably already own and carry with you. – cybermike Mar 30 '15 at 8:34
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just want to ask whether company IT can monitor the websites that I open using the company-issued laptop but on my personal wifi network?

The answer to that question is yes.

What we can't answer definitively is if they are monitoring.

However, you piqued my interest when you mentioned the Websense client. The websense client has the ability to force all traffic through a cloud based proxy when you are off network. (aka: not plugged into your employer's network)

You can determine if this happening by reviewing the proxy settings in your browser when you are off network. If a proxy is defined (will most likely be something with black spider in the name) then you are being routed to a cloud proxy at websense and your employer can enforce URL filtering and monitoring the same as if you were on the corporate network.

  • It's also worth noting that if you are using https sites then the proxy will be able to see the URLs of the sites you are visiting (for example www.mybank.com, or www.smut.xxx/some_pic.jpg) but not the data you are sending / receiving. So things you type, and exactly what you are doing on those site will be private. – Mike Ounsworth Apr 29 '15 at 21:01
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It is possible that they can monitor your activities. No matter if you are at home or at a coffee shop, all that depends if they really do it and how. However you can check for additionally installed softwares, you can monitor your traffic with WireShark to check if anything is sending somewhere, you can monitor your processes.

If you want privacy while you are at home, you can use a some OS on a LiveCD or USB( Must be made bootable.).

Just to note that there are hardware backdoors but those are different story.

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Can they? Yes. Are they? Not clear. Of the two, I'd be looking at the Websense agent; it's most likely to be doing proxying/logging/DLP.

As a general rule of thumb, if a device is managed by someone other than you, you should assume that they can see everything that happens on it, and adapt your usage accordingly. Don't assume you have privacy on that device.

Does it have a warning at logon, or have you signed a user agreement? If so, one of them probably spells out that use of corporate devices is monitored.

  • In the United States is (probably) isn't even necessary to have a warning or agreement because it is their equipment. [This is not legal advice, just common sense.] – Bob Brown Nov 18 '14 at 15:01

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